Just like what you drink, what you eat can also have an impact on your performance on the pitch. Soccer players’ diet plan is paramount in their career because it is crucial for optimal performance on the pitch. Drafting out a diet plan is always not as easy as it seems.
Good nutrition is very important for soccer players of all age groups which is why they are in constant search of the best nutritional tips from trusted experts. Knowing what to eat is one thing and knowing when to eat them is another.
Soccer players are always advised to abstain from ingesting certain foods that can be toxic to the body or that are without much nutritional value. Since pizza is a very popular fast food, you may begin to wonder if it is among the food health professionals kick against?
Pizza is a dish of Italian descent and comprises a bread dough that is flattened with toppings of sauce, olives, mozzarella, or other preferable cheese and extra ingredients before baking.
Pizza over the years has gained unimaginable popularity and acceptance across the globe. It is easy to make and brings happiness to social gatherings which is why millions of dollars are generated from pizza sales every year.
Pizza can be eaten on different occasions, with friends and family, and even during your leisure hours. People in urban areas eat more pizza than people in other geographical settings.
Pizza is not a harmful food—it does have nutritional values and benefits although it can have side effects on certain people. But our major purpose for writing this article is because a lot of people have been asking, “can a soccer player eat pizza?”
This question and many more questions regarding soccer players and pizza will be answered in this article. A comprehensive clarification on whether a soccer player can eat pizza and its possible effects on health will be discussed.
Can a soccer player eat pizza?
Soccer players can eat pizza but they must be mindful of when to eat it and the safest amount they can eat. Remember, it is not healthy to eat before a match or a training session.
Pizza has spread widely to become a global recipe which is why it is craved and enjoyed by many. It has evolved from just the regular crust, sauce, and toppings to diverse varieties namely Chicago deep dish, Greek pizza, thin crust, cauliflower crust pizza, and many others.
Although the nutrients found in pizza are beneficial to the body, they can have adverse effects when consumed in excess. Americans consume a lot of pizza daily which is not a healthy habit—and that is why the level of obesity in America is among the highest in the world.
Processed pizzas sometimes contain a lot of unhealthy substances, fast-food and frozen pizzas mostly contain colorings, preservatives (to help them last longer), and unhealthy fats. Most pizzas if not all are made from wheat flour which is low in fiber compared to whole-grain flours.
As a soccer player, eating a processed meal like pizza can cause weight gain and added belly fat. Pizza is high in sodium with a high-calorie content from the meat, cheese, and sugar in its crust and sauce.
When you consume pizza regularly, you become prone to heart diseases with higher chances of having obesity. Obesity and heart diseases can terminate your soccer career in the blink of an eye.
Making homemade pizza is healthier and a better option because with homemade pizza, you have the liberty of enhancing it using a lot of vegetables and herbal toppings with grilled chicken, fresh cheese, and tomato sauce which are healthy sources of protein.
If you are a pizza lover and also a soccer player, always go for pizzas that have the right toppings on them and are made from whole grain flour.
You can even try learning how to make pizzas at home to suit your diet plan and reduce risks since purchased pizza can contain unhealthy ingredients.
Below are some professional tips you can follow to bake a healthy pizza.
Use healthy protein source: Grilled chicken is white meat and a healthy protein source that should be used instead of processed meat like bacon and pepperoni.
Use whole-grain flours: Whole-grain flours are better than the traditional refined wheat grain flour because they are high in fiber content so endeavor to opt for them for better results.
Go for a sauce with no sugar: When choosing a tomato sauce, go for the ones with no added sugar to help lower the sugar content in the pizza. Avoid using a sauce that is heavy in butter and cream like Alfredo-based sauce. It is even preferable to make your source by yourself.
The US National Library of Medicine research shows that Lycopene is an antioxidant found in tomatoes that helps reduce high cholesterol levels, lowers high blood pressure, and protects cells from damage.
Add a lot of vegetables: Cooked or fresh vegetable and herbal toppings like spinach, onions, peppers, olives, mushrooms, etc. increase the mineral, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins nutritional value in meals.
Avoid much cheese: It is better to go for a single cheese rather than the double type so you can reduce your level of cheese consumption.
Some dangers associated with constantly eating pizza, high in calories, fat, and sugar include:
- Developing diabetes
- Regular constipation due to the cheese and less fiber
- Weight gain
- Risk of developing heart diseases
Is it bad to eat pizza before a soccer game?
It is wrong for a soccer player to eat pizza before a match commences, the reason being that it will sit in your stomach for a longer period, making you feel heavy and uncomfortable. Soccer players can eat pizza on their off-days but they should be mindful of the amount they consume.
Any soccer player, no matter the kind of soccer he or she is engaged in, is not supposed to feel heavy and uncomfortable while playing the game. It is mandatory to feel light and comfortable before a soccer match so you can swing from side to side, dribble, and carry out all other soccer activities with ease.
While playing soccer, your blood needs to freely circulate through your muscles and your stomach mustn’t be an obstruction to your normal body functions.
Although pizza contains carbohydrates which soccer players need as fuel for energy production, it also contains a higher level of calories and fat which makes its digestion process very slow.
While drafting a diet plan, soccer players are strongly advised to cut down on foods that are high in calories and fats especially before a match or training.
For pre-game meals, soccer players are advised to always eat 2-3 hours before the commencement of a match or training session.
They are to eat food rich in carbohydrates for adequate energy production. The energy is stored in the muscles as glycogen which becomes very useful during games.
Foods that are rich in carbohydrates are cereals, fruits, rice, crackers, muffins, starchy vegetables, and pasta. These food varieties when eaten at suitable periods—digest fast—releasing adequate energy for the body to store and use.
Some minutes before the match, soccer players can take water and sports drinks to keep their system hydrated and sound for peak performance.
Pizza is a very delicious meal loved by millions of people all over the world. It is also healthy for consumption when prepared properly. Learning how to bake pizza as a soccer player will save you a lot of health risks.
A healthy pizza should contain less fat, calories, and sodium which are popular trademarks of junk foods. Remember, what you eat as a soccer player determines how you will perform on the pitch.
If you are the type that orders pizza every day, try cutting down on your pizza intake from daily to probably weekly or even a few times a month. Cook more of the food you eat, doing this will help lessen your chances of getting obese or contracting heart disease.
Hi there, I’m Jay.
Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!