IFA_Health booklet – This booklet was produced by the Irish FA, which has developed a health programme aimed at our clubs (managers, coaches and players) throughout Northern Ireland to educate them on healthy eating and sports nutrition that can be implemented within the club; from junior levels of our game right the way through to intermediate and senior football.
This booklet contains articles on healthy living and eating and also deals with mental health issues, such as stress, depression and suicide.
AM PRO Nutrition & Hydration This booklet was produced by Pro Am Coaching to educate on the necessity of good nutrition for footballers and to educate on the different kinds of foods that should be consume and those to avoid.

Proportions of food types to be consumed within a balanced diet:
Proportions of food types to be consumed within a balanced diet.

Some Facts about nutrition and a balanced diet:

– A balanced diet contains fats, vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and water, and is hugely important as it affects players’ health, growth and development, as well as their ability to participate in activity, and recover quickly.  A poor diet gives a greater risk to poor bone growth and delayed maturation, and reduced energy, for training and matches, and greater risk of injury.
– If young players over-eat, they may become over-weight. which may have a detrimental effect on performance and may also increase their risk of injury.  Under-eating can also result in the decline of their overall health.
– A healthy diet will improve general health and recovery from illnesses and injury.
– We place foodstuff into four categories, which are Fats, Carbohydrates, Protein and vitamin and minerals.  It is essential to balance these range of foodstuffs for a healthy diet.
– Carbohydrates are important as part of a balanced diet to provide the body with Energy., and should take up 55%-60% of your diet. e.g. Cereals, Rice, Bread, Pasta, potatoes
– When playing a game or training, carbohydrates should be consumed before and after.
– Protein in a young athletes diet helps the body to grow and repair muscles.  Protein should represent 25%-30% of a young athlete’s diet.   E.g. Meat, Eggs, Chicken, Fish, Beans.
– Fats within a balanced diet provides warmth and protection to vital organs.  Fats should be consumed in moderation as they can be detrimental to a players health if taken in large amounts, taking up 10%-15% of a balanced diet. E.g. Crisps, Cheese, Chocolate, fast food, Nuts
– Vitamins and Minerals are found in fruits and help young athletes to maintain healthy teeth and Bones, plus assisting bodily functions. E.g. Oranges, Peaches, Cauliflower, Blueberries, Tomatoes.

Fuelling young players before a game
– Meal timing before a game or training session is important, with a 2-3 hour gap before, being deemed appropriate.  The meal should be based around carbohydrates for energy. For example:
– Sandwich with lean meat, piece for fruit
– Pasta with tomato sauce
– Cereal with milk
– Lean meat, vegetables and potatoes
– 30 minutes before a game, players should also have a snack in the form of an energy/cereal bar or a banana.
– After the game, a high carbohydrate meal is recommended to refuel the body and aid recovery from exercise.

Healthy Food Choices
To help children maintain a balanced diet, we encourage parents to become educated on which foods are suitable, and to become a role model in food selection.
Examples of Healthy snacks:
    – Breakfast bars
    – Fruit
– Vegetables with dips
– Low-fat flavoured milk
– Tortillas

– F-Marc Nutrition for football:  A practical guide to eating and drinking for health performan – Sept 2005
– Level One Coaching – IFA – Oct 2012
– Healthy Habits for Healthy Kids:  A nutrition and Healthy guide for parents – Sharon Madigan accredited sports dietician SINI – Jan 2004