WELLNESS


Post-Match Fueling:
Replenish and Recover

Authors

Shawn Hueglin PhD, RD, CSSD

Rachael Mack, BS, RD

Before a match, the focus is on performance. But, after you play, it’s important to focus on refueling your body. Your post-match meal is just as important as what you eat before or during play.

Why is it important to eat after a match?

Post-match fueling is essential for your body to properly recover from the work you just completed. Eating within 30-60 minutes replenishes the fuel used during the match. Eating after a match is even more important if you have another match the same day. If you don’t have another match, your next regularly scheduled meal may be adequate to replace nutrients.

What should I eat?

Choose a meal or snack with a balance of protein and carbohydrate, along with a small-to-moderate amount of fat.

Carbohydrates are necessary to replenish stores used during exercise and prepare the body for the next match or training session.

Protein is needed to repair muscle damage and support muscle building.

Fat is important for nutrient absorption and feeling full, and it possibly plays an anti-inflammatory role.

Consider This

Even if you don’t feel hungry after a match, it’s still important to replenish nutrients lost during play. If food sounds unappetizing, try drinking your nutrients. Drinkable yogurt or a smoothie made with fruit, greens and cow’s milk or nut butter are great options because both contain carbohydrate and protein. If you choose a small recovery snack, remember to eat again in 1-2 hours to fully replenish nutrients.

Post-Match Meal Guidelines


FOOD FOCUS


Carbs
Bread, pasta, rice, starchy veggies and fruit


Protein
Chicken, turkey, tofu, fish, lean beef or pork, eggs and cheese


Fat
Avocado, nut butter and ground flax

WHEN?


To allow time for your body to properly use foods for recovery, aim to eat 30-60 minutes after a match.

If you are unable to eat a full meal within this time frame, have a small snack like string cheese and a piece of fruit.

HOW MUCH?


A balanced meal that leaves you feeling full, but not stuffed.

The amount of carbs you consume should be consistent with the amount you played and the match intensity. If the match was very intense, choose more carbs. If you played fewer points, eat a smaller portion with fewer carbs.

TIPS


Come prepared! Bring a PB&J sandwich and fruit, or other shelf-stable foods in your backpack to make sure you have something to eat after a match.


Don’t wait too long to eat, as this will postpone recovery and may lead to overeating when you have access to food.

Post-Match Mix + Match

Choose a food from the protein column and a food from the carb column. Portions should be based on the intensity of your training session.

Protein

15-20 g


2-3 oz deli meat
2 c milk (cow’s, soy)*
¾ -1 c Greek yogurt*
¾ c cottage cheese
2 pieces of string cheese
1 c firm tofu
2-3 cooked eggs
1 ½ c Kefir*
1 ½ oz jerky
2-3 oz fish
½ c nuts or seeds*
½ - ¾ c edamame
4 Tbsp nut butter*
1 c beans*

Carbohydrate

15-30 g


1 piece or cup fresh fruit
¼ - ½ c dried fruit
1 c fruit juice
1 c chocolate milk
½ c oatmeal
1-2 slices sandwich bread
½ bagel
1 English muffin
1 granola or cereal bar
2 x 6” tortillas or wraps
½ - ¾ c rice or farro
½ -1 c quinoa, beans, lentils*
¾ c cooked pasta
4 Tbsp nut butter*

*Protein source contains at least 15 g of carbohydrate. Carbohydrate source contains at least 10 g of protein.

For Example…


A wrap or sandwich with turkey, avocado, veggies and a piece of fruit

Grilled fish or tofu with a side of sweet potatoes and vegetables

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