How Does a Pro Soccer Player Fuel Up

Soccer demands a lot of stamina out of you. Here’s how a professional plans her nutrition during an ordinary day and on a match day.

I’m Lauren Barnes and I’m a professional soccer play with the Seattle Reign FC. I’m also a plant-based athlete, which has been quite the adventure. There have been so many obstacles that have tested me both on and off the field – physically and mentally. My meal planning is still a work in progress because I continue to find things that work better than others as I evolve each and every day.

Being vegan doesn’t always mean being healthy. There are so many unhealthy alternatives and options out there that can be hard to identify. To ensure that I make healthy choices, I try to stay away from any foods that are highly processed and stick to fresh foods that come from the earth.

I’m a huge believer in listening and understanding your body. I don’t count calories or measure any foods, but rather I listen to my body and also take into consideration my training regimen. For instance, leading up to a game, I will need to fuel my body differently than on a day off.

My daily routine never looks the same, but I’m going to walk you through some of my favorite recipes, game-day meals, travel planning and some tips I have learned over the years.

Here is what I typically eat in a day:

  • Breakfast: Apple pie oatmeal – rolled oats, plant-based protein powder, gala apples, chia seeds, almond milk, cinnamon, pure maple syrup, walnuts & hemp seeds
  • Snack: Protein shake
  • Lunch: Sweet potato hash – chopped sweet potato, onion, red bell pepper, broccoli, mushrooms, black beans & field roast “sausages”
  • Snack: Rice cakes with almond butter and bananas
  • Dinner: Beyond meat burger, sweet potato fries, and mixed veggies

I also wanted to add some of my favorite natural sweeteners for everyone out there with a sweet tooth, some nuts and seeds that will benefit athletes with protein, recovery, and energy for practice and games, and lastly great healthy options for plant-based protein.

Sweeteners Medjool Dates, 100% Pure Maple Syrup, Coconut Sugar, Nut Butters, cocoa
Nuts/Seeds Chia Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Cashews, Almonds, Hemp Seeds, Pepita Seeds
Beans/Legumes Chickpeas, Black Beans, Lentils, Tempeh

Game Day Nutrition

A lot of people ask me what I eat to fuel me on game day throughout the day and a 90 + minute game. My game day nutrition looks different than what I eat on a normal day. Here is a breakdown of what I eat for game days:

  • Breakfast: Vanilla Banana Protein Pancakes (made with protein powder) topped with almond butter, fresh fruit, nuts & seeds and a splash of maple syrup
  • Snack: Banana & almond butter
  • Pre-game meal: Dave’s Killer Bagels with hummus and avocado spread, Beyond Meat sweet Italian sausage, hummus & tomato
  • Post-game meal: Chocolate protein, cherry, almond butter & almond milkshake with sweet potato and Beyond meat burger


Avo Toast (Personal Recipe):

  • Two slices of Dave’s Killer Bread
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 tsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Tomato slices optional

Sweet Potato Hash (Personal Recipe):

  • 1 cup chopped sweet potato
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 cup red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 field roast sausage sliced

As you can see, it’s not really that complicated. You learn to adapt your menu to what works for you through trial and error. Once you have a plan, you try and stick to it because it works. It’s that simple.

I have to make adjustments that someone who is not on a plant-based diet would not have to make, but you would have to do the same if you were going keto or paleo. It’s not the diet that’s the problem, a lot of the times, it’s how you choose to use it.

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