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How to Really Diet Like a Professional Footballer

18/12/2015 15:00 GMT | Updated 17/12/2016 10:12 GMT

One of the most important things in professional football is diet, as poor nutrition can lead to poor performance and strongly impact the way a footballer will play. Footballers need to be prepared for football training drills and endurance training, and having the right diet is the best way to achieve this.

It's important to eat right come match day, as the choices made first thing in the morning, or even in the hours following a gruelling fixture, can have detrimental effects.

For more tips on nutrition in football, websites like MaxiNutrition and Fifa offer pointers like these.

You should always use breakfast to help you keep going and active for the match day ahead.

Porridge is often a popular choice, due to it being a low-GI cereal. However, look to mix it up by having a bowl of quinoa porridge, or those made from grains with a lighter consistency, to avoid having the same taste each and every morning. Whichever one you choose, serve with semi-skimmed or whole milk - the calcium contained in these will help maintain healthy bones.

An alternative to porridge altogether is eggs, which contain plenty of protein. Again, look to vary the type of egg-based meal you have at breakfast. For example, try your eggs in a wholemeal wrap, or served on some rye bread. Whatever you do, avoid eating a heavy breakfast, as it is likely you will feel bloated afterwards. Fibre can also take a while to digest, so you could try to minimise consumption of this at breakfast. Always try to eat something for breakfast, regardless of your appetite.

A banana and Promax shake can provide a convenient boost of carbs and protein to keep you going for what the day brings.

For those playing in a match getting underway at around the traditional 3PM kick-off, aim to only have a light meal come lunch. This meal could include a low-GI carbohydrate, for example, wholewheat pasta. Complete the meal with some carrots, leafy greens and peppers.

Plenty of water should be consumed throughout lunch too, as just a two per cent loss in body weight as a result of sweating will impact on both your mental and physical performance for the worse.

It's pre-match time, you're now in the changing room and can hear the crowd eagerly anticipating the next 90 minutes of action.

Reduce the risk of feeling thirsty once you're on the pitch by drinking a good amount of water at this point - as mentioned in the lunch section, your mental and physical performance can be negatively affected if your body weight is reduced by as little as two per cent due to sweat.

It's half-time and you've been out on the pitch for 45 minutes - in the changing room you'll need to refresh yourself before you go back on the pitch. Here, you could opt for drinking water or a small amount of diluted fruit juice, made up of 50% juice, 50% water and a pinch of salt. Alternatively, carbohydrate gels such as FuelMax as also a good choice.

Once your time on the pitch draws to a close, your immediate concern should be looking after your muscles to ensure you can train at an adequate level in the days ahead.

With this in mind, drinks containing antioxidants, carbohydrates and protein are highly recommended, such as Promax milk drink combined with some fruit.

It's the evening, you're away from the football ground at this point and ready for your final meal of the day. There are loads of great options available, though looking towards sushi or turkey-based chilli-con carne as a source of protein is a good option.

Salmon sushi helps to deliver high quality food rich in protein, omega 3 and vitamin D. Meanwhile the kidney beans and mince - low-fat being a better choice - provides proteins to the body post-exercise.