Table 2

Nutritional strategies to be used on match-day (from the arrival to the stadium until the end of the match)

Before kick-off (KO)At half-time (HT)If extra-time (ET) is played
Nutrition
goals
Assure players ingest enough carbohydrates (CHO), according to recommendations (30–60 g in the previous 1–2 hours) and individual tolerance.32 33Assure players ingest some CHO to prevent hypoglycaemia and retard muscle glycogen deployment.43 44
There is no evidence of benefits associated with protein, vitamins or minerals intake before the match.There is no evidence of benefits associated with protein, vitamins or minerals intake during match and ET.
Assure players start the match properly hydrated.40Prevent dehydration during second half.Prevent dehydration during ET.
Previously tested dietary supplements, such as caffeine, nitrate, or beta-alanine, may be ingested ~60 min before KO.3 51 52If caffeine intake before KO was achieved, there is no need for extra doses.
In matches where ET is a possibility, consider the use of caffeine at HT.
Practical
strategies
Display several easy digestible, fast absorbed CHO options (gels, sports drinks, bars or berries/sliced fruit). Individually tailored portions for each player may increase acceptance.
Mouth rinsing with a sweetened beverage during warm-up or match.
Avoid high intakes of protein sources (namely, bars or shakes with >20 g of protein) and limit fat intake (nuts, Greek yoghurt).
Provide easy access to water sources or individual bottles, so players can split fluids intake before KO.Offer hydration options to players when entering the change room (water or isotonic/sports drinks) at HT or before ET, considering their preferences (flavour, serving temperature).
Provide other hydration options, such as isotonic/sports drinks (20–50 Na mOsm/L), 6%–8% CHO, considering players preferences (flavour, serving temperature).
Keep water and sports drinks (6%–8% CHO) available on the bench.
Food in the change room or corridors should be displayed in small individual portions, and hygiene must be assured.
Limit cereal bars, whole grain cookies and other fibre-rich foods (seeds, nuts).
Assure 3–6 mg caffeine/kg BW intake to retard fatigue, 30–60 min before KO, offering a selection of previously tested caffeine sources (pills, gels, coffee, caffeinated drinks).
Players using lower doses (1–2 mg/kg) before KO may repeat intake at HT.
Players using lower doses of caffeine (1–2 mg/kg) before KO may repeat intake at HT. Dispose of caffeine sources for players willing to take.
Caffeinated chewing gum has faster absorption and can be used for substitute players disputing second half.
Caffeinated chewing gum has faster absorption and can be used for substitute players disputing ET or to increase caffeine intake before ET.
Acute nitrate intake (6–8 mmol/day or ~400 mg) ingested 2–3 hours before KO may fastener reaction time. Nitrate supplements (like beet juice concentrate shots or gels) can be used when arriving at the stadium.
Beta-alanine (4–6 g/day) may decrease perceived fatigue if regularly used. 1–2 g of beta-alanine 60 min before KO avoid paraesthesia and contribute to total daily intake.
  • BW, body weight.