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It’s game day! Today is the big one for the US Men’s National Team in the World Cup. They’ll face off against Germany, a make-or-break match that decides whether or not the US will continue in the tournament. Nerves? The team has got ‘em. How to eat on a day like today? The USMNT’s performance dietician Danielle Lafata gave us a peek!

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“On game days, it’s important to make sure players eat a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fruits and vegetables at each meal to help provide sustainable energy through the match,” says Danielle. “Fueling every couple of hours helps to ‘top off the tank’ of muscle glycogen (carbohydrate) stores. Keeping these full is critical to an athlete’s performance on the pitch as well as for their recovery to be ready for the next match and next day’s training session.”

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You might imagine that a professional athlete eats a ton, since they’re burning off so many calories during a game. But who wants to run around with a full belly? “Quality and quantity are important, but especially so on game day,” says Danielle. “Soccer players, like endurance athletes, have trained themselves to perform on a light meal or light stomach—but this doesn’t give them enough fuel to get through the end of the game without sacrificing performance.”

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The guys are playing at 12pm today, but here’s what a more typical night-time game diet day looks like:

7-10 am: Breakfast

  • Oatmeal bar with chopped nuts, dried fruit, cinnamon, fresh berries
  • Yogurt Bar with the same as above
  • Omelet station with variety of chopped vegetables, thick chopped avocado
  • Whole grain pancakes and French toast as well as regular with real maple syrup
  • Variety of whole fruits: apple, plum, orange, banana
  • Variety of breads
  • Egg dish such as chicken enchiladas
  • Potato dish such as breakfast hash

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1-2:00 pm: Lunch

  • Yogurt bar
  • Sandwich bar with Panini machine
  • Salad bar
  • Variety bread
  • Variety whole & sliced fruit
  • Vegetable soup
  • Stiff grilled polenta
  • Garlic-infused quinoa
  • Oven “fried” chicken fingers
  • Roasted lamb chops
  • Roasted Cauliflower with date syrup
  • Grilled broccoli

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5-6:00 pm: Pre-game meal

  • Yogurt bar
  • Sandwich bar with Panini machine
  • Salad bar
  • Variety bread
  • Variety whole & sliced fruit
  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Selection of artisan whole grain breads and rolls
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Grilled Salmon
  • Poached Eggs
  • Pasta, with marinara, meat, and pesto sauces on the side (no cheese!)
  • Rice
  • Baked Potato Bar (toppings include chives, shredded cheese, lite sour cream)
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Roasted carrots

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7-8:00 pm: Pre-game snack

  • (Natural) Peanut butter & Jelly sandwiches on whole grain bread
  • Nature Valley Oats ‘N Honey Granola bars
  • Kind bars
  • Zing bars
  • Sliced fruit
  • Half-time snack fluid

12:00 am: Post-game meal

  • This changes, but a popular option is fajitas

What do you think of this meal plan? Could you live with it? Anything you’d want to add? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @OKMagazine.

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