Website Closing and New Email Address

Greetings youth soccer fans!  I just wanted to share that I am closing down the Good Eats for Soccer website this spring. I will continue to occasionally post nutrition articles of interest here. My new contact email address is Thanks for reading my blogs and feel free to email me with any questions or topics you’d like to hear more about.

Nutritionally Yours,

Selina Lai, M.S., R.D.

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Eating Right for that “Other” Football Game…The Super Bowl

Football Player in Helmet

I just read on the Huffington Post that on average 1,200 calories are consumed from snacks while watching the Super Bowl. That certainly gives pause to consider what you might serving at your Super Bowl spread and it also suggests a challenge…Can you find healthful choices that taste great and satisfy that salty, crunchy, creamy craving with less than 1,200 calories?
Start with Salty – Changing up the Chips/Crackers and Salted Nuts
A little salt goes a long way to satisfying our taste buds so maybe this year purchasing reduced-sodium options of chips and crackers can provide flavor and perhaps be healthier for your heart too.  Look for the words “sodium-reduced” meaning that the product contains 25% less sodium than regular products or “lightly salted” meaning that the product contains 50% less salt than the regular item on food labels. When you consume less sodium, you will be less thirsty and might consume fewer high calorie beverages along with your chips or crackers. We are on our way to getting less calories already!
Nuts are a healthy food in small batches. Look for unsalted or “lightly-salted” single serving packs or use small tasting cups (1/4 cup size) on a party platter to encourage portion control.

Crunchy Goodness

Lots of snack foods go “crunch” – tortilla chips, potato chips, celery and carrot sticks, Chex ™ mix, pretzels, multigrain crackers, pita chips. Let’s just separate these into the higher fat and lower fat content and then consider fiber content. Generally, higher fat foods that are not highly processed make us feel full. However, most snack chips are in the highly processed category so we don’t get satiated very quickly from them. That is why having a lower fat, higher fiber, less processed food will help you reduce your snacking habits.

Snack Chart Fiber and Fat

Clever Creamy Options

It is just one of those perfect combinations…crunchy and creamy. For your Super Bowl spread, there are many options to making a dip worthy of inclusion in a healthy diet. For creamy, lower fat substitutes for regular sour cream there are reduced-fat sour cream, low fat Greek-style yogurt, and low fat regular yogurt. Creamy hummus is high in fiber and nutrients and is simple to make at home with just garbanzo beans, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt to taste in your blender. A California favorite is guacamole; filled with heart healthy oils, add salsa to get more nutritious vegetables and to reduce the total fat content of the dip. Another delicious idea is to warm up some refried beans with grilled onions and a little chili pepper as a dip or spread for chips and crackers. A sweet yogurt dip can be served with a sliced apple platter for a low calorie creamy/crunchy combination.

While I’m not suggesting that all the food on your Super Bowl table should be low fat, strategically including healthy snack options will help you and your guests feel good about the tasty choices they are making. Particularly on the day after the Super Bowl, when they only have to add one extra workout next week to burn off their extra Super Bowl calories!

Nutritionally Yours,
Selina Lai, M.S., R.D.

p.s. Send me your nutrition questions so I can write about them in my blog!

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2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Thank You for visiting Good Eats for Soccer!  Send me your nutrition topic requests for 2013!

Click here to see the complete report.

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Fuel for the Win…

boy playing soccergirl playing soccer It is that time of year again when tournament play begins for many competitive youth soccer teams. No longer can our athletes cruise through one soccer game and hope that they will be ready to go for another in just an hour or two without paying close attention to WHAT THEY EAT!


Foods for recovery become very important during tournament play. Start with carbohydrates within 15 minutes after the game, 1.2 to 1.5 grams/kg/hour for up to 4 to 5 hours following a game. High carbohydrate foods that are appropriate after a game include: low fiber sports or granola bars, breakfast cereal, simple cookies (ginger snaps, vanilla wafers), crackers (saltines, stoned wheat thins, rice crackers), fruit (fresh or dried), tortilla with salsa, fruit juice, popsicles or smoothies, toast or English muffin.

Including some protein foods during recovery also helps muscles repair themselves during rest. The recommendation for added protein is about 0.4 grams Protein/kg/hour. Foods that provide both protein and carbohydrates in the correct ratio include:
– Low sugar cereal and low fat milk
– Most granola/sport bars. NOT “protein bars”.
– Fruit yogurt
– Carnation Instant Breakfast® made with low fat milk
– Low fat chocolate milk
– Fruit smoothie with protein boost
– Sushi
– Baked potato with low fat grated cheese
– Peanut butter and jelly sandwich

The final step to fuel recovery after a soccer game is rehydration. Consuming 2 to 3 cups of water or sports drink in the 2 hours before the next game is recommended.

These are just a few ideas for foods that might work for your athlete. Remember to adjust these recommendations based on your child’s intensity and length of play. Recovery choices are most important for players who are on the field for 1 hour or more.

Please email me your nutrition for soccer questions so I can answer them here on my blog!

Nutritionally Yours,
Selina Lai, M.S., R.D.

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To Snack or Not to Snack? That is the Question?

I recently received an email from a concerned soccer parent asking if it was necessary to continue giving half-time snacks to her son’s U13 club soccer team. There was contention among the parents as to whether or not it was needed now that the players were getting older and they didn’t think having a half time snack would improve the team’s performance. So this month I will share with you some of the evidence supporting the consumption of a half-time snack to improve performance and reduce injuries in the second half of a soccer game.

¬Carbohydrates During a Game
Let me start with the basics…a carbohydrate is a sugar. It can be in a long chain (often called complex), like those found in bread, rice or pasta, or as a single or double molecule (often called a simple sugar), like those found in table sugar, fruit, or milk. As you might imagine, a simple sugar is absorbed more quickly than a complex carbohydrate.

Carbohydrates provide fuel for muscles, especially for quick, intense physical activity, like that seen in soccer. Athletes store a very limited amount of carbohydrates in their muscles and liver (called glycogen) which is broken down and used for fuel during exercise. Once an athlete uses up this glycogen, the human body will begin to find other sources of energy, namely fatty acids and protein. Research over the past several decades (starting in the 1970’s,) has found that athletes who consume small amounts of carbohydrate during a long exercise event (60 minutes or more) have more endurance than those athletes that do not. The recommended consumption of carbohydrate is 30-60 grams per hour. How much is that?

  • 30 grams of carbohydrate chart
    – 2 cups of most sports drinks
    – 2 cups of cut up melon
    – 1 cup of other fruits (grapes, pineapple, oranges)
    – 1 cup of chocolate milk

Will Consuming Carbohydrate During a Game Always Reduce Fatigue?

There are times when consuming carbohydrates during a game won’t make a difference. A notable exception is when the exercise is LESS THAN 1 HOUR long. Another exception is when a player’s fatigue is due to dehydration. Drinking adequate fluid in the hours before a match is very important for reducing fatigue and injury during a match of any length. In soccer, there are limited opportunities for fluid consumption once players are on the field so having a half-time snack which provides fluid along with carbohydrate helps prevent dehydration later in the game.

Specific guidelines for fluid consumption can be found at this link from the American College of Sports Medicine.

Half-Time Snacks for Soccer

To read more about the support for carbohydrate and fluid consumption during exercise check out this research review by Edward Coyle from the University of Texas,

Nutritionally Yours,

Selina Lai, M.S., R.D.

For information on my book or to read more nutrition tips visit:

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What They are Eating at the London Olympic Village…

Just in case you haven’t heard, the most impressive venue at the London’s Olympic Village is its Dining Hall! With seating for 5,000 athletes, the dining hall is a hub of activity and cultural exchange. The London Olympic Committee developed a “Food Vision” to implement the use of local-sourced foods, grown and/or harvested in environmentally sustainable ways. For those foods that must be imported, they must be Fair Trade Certified.
Here are some of the food stats for the London games:
– Athletes alone will consume an estimated 1.2 million meals over the course of the event.
– The Olympic Village kitchen will be stocked with
o 232 tons of potatoes
o More than 82 tons of seafood (all sustainably caught)
o More than 100 tons of meat
o 158,000 pints of milk
o 19 tons of eggs (free range)
o 21 tons of cheese
o More than 330 tons of fruits and vegetables
– The foods served in the Olympic Village will mirror the cultural diversity of the athletes and Britain. A sampling of menu choices includes:
o United Kingdom oats and milk with maple syrup
o Leicester cheese with British apple chutney and Farm assured lettuce on Oxfordshire bread.
o Cod and chips
o Lamb Rogan Josh served with Pilaf or Saffron rice
o Farm assured Scotch Beef with Stilton Pie, Irish mashed potato with “Red Tractor” Cream and British butter and onion gravy.
Athletes can expect additional selections from all corners of the globe in their Dining Hall. The “Red Tractor” designation is given to foods that have complied with environmental and safety standards in their processing from farm to manufacturing to table. The hope is that the London Olympic Games attention to making more healthful food choices and environmentally sustainable food procurement will continue beyond the event, sparking a movement to improve the health of Britons and the environment.

Nutritionally Yours,
Selina Lai, M.S., R.D.

“Trivia Games”. Time Magazine. July 30, 2012, page 95.

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Summer Time Breakfast…Make it fresh and fast!

We think that summer time will give us a break in meal planning. We hope that our kids are a little less busy. But is that what really happens? NO! My kids are busier than ever for the first month of summer! With camps and summer school, we are up earlier than ever and find ourselves needing to be well stocked with healthy, fast food that is ready to go.

Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day for kids. It improves their concentration at school and helps maintain a healthy body weight. Also, breakfast often provides some key nutrients including fiber, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin C. Healthy breakfasts don’t have to be big affairs, just balanced by including at least 3 food groups.

  • Cereal and Milk and Fruit – This is a breakfast staple for many household. The devil is in the details.
    Portion Size – How BIG is your cereal bowl? Keeping your portion to 1 cup or less is about right.
    Cereal Choice – Look for choices with at least 3 grams of fiber and less than 10 grams of sugar.
    If you want to add more fiber toss on a spoonful of wheat germ or oatmeal.
    Milk – Add 1% Lowfat milk, skim milk, fortified soymilk, or fortified almond milk.
    Fruit – Fresh or frozen berries are easy, banana slices, dried fruit like cranberries or raisins.
  • Toasted Waffles – Toasted waffles are a fast choice for late days. Here is how to make it well-rounded.
    Choose between butter or syrup – You really don’t need both to make a tasty waffle. Use the cap of the syrup container to drizzle on a teaspoon of syrup. If using butter or soft margarine, 1 teaspoon is the measurement rule as well.
    Toppings to try – yogurt, cottage cheese, “real” cheese, chopped nuts – These are sources of protein which give you stamina for the day.
    Adding Fiber – You can use whole grain waffles or toss on a teaspoon of wheat germ.
    Fruit – crushed canned pineapple, sliced fruit, ½ cup of fruit juice are all good additions to a waffles breakfast.
    A little whipped topping is ok if you are making your waffle healthier than usual!
  • Toast and English Muffins
    Choose a whole wheat or whole grain product at least ½ the time – Why? More iron, more zinc, more fiber, more flavor…
    Try a nut butter – Get back into the healthy choices nuts provide – peanut, almond, walnut butters are delicious on top of toast. Just serve with juice or low fat milk and you are ready to go.
  • Egg sandwiches – Eggs are still a #1 health food when eaten in moderation. Fry up one with a small amount of fat in a non-stick pan, warm a slice of ham, add a slice of “real” cheese, and place in a warm English muffin for a satisfying and delicious breakfast!

Fruit Salad

Make a fresh fruit salad the night before and top with a variety from the following: yogurt, cottage cheese, nuts, granola, wheat germ, sunflower seeds.


Have a variety of frozen, fresh or canned fruit available to you so that you can make quick smoothies in the morning.

Just writing about a good, fresh breakfast makes me want to go eat one!

Nutritionally Yours,
Selina Lai, M.S., R.D.

p.s.  Send me your nutrition questions! And I will use them for my blogJ

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