How to lunch like a football player
Discover what lies in the lunchboxes of those with the brightest minds and highest-flying careers, then read our nutritionist's take on the health credentials. You might just find your next inspiring midday meal right here, so read on to find out what England Lioness and Manchester City footballer Lucy Bronze carries in her packed lunch.
Who: Lucy Bronze
Bio: You may remember 23-year-old England Lioness and Manchester City footballer Lucy from her stellar appearance in the Women's World Cup - she scored a sensational goal that saw the team take bronze. Her career has a big effect on her lifestyle, and as such her football club gives her lots of advice on how she should be eating.
What's in Lucy's lunchbox...
"The team eats lunch at the academy where we train, so we eat well. I normally eat Thai fishcakes then fill my plate up with salad - lettuce, beetroot, sweet corn, cucumber, tomatoes, red onions, basically anything you can think of that is in the salad bowl. If it’s been a hard session, I'll eat a few roast potatoes. I tend to snack on pineapple, watermelon and grapes.
Our nutritionist's view...
Kerry Torrens says: Lucy’s lunch contributes well towards her five-a-day and she ensures her extra calorie needs are met by including more energy-dense foods on high activity days. We should all be eating fish at least twice a week, with one of those servings being oily fish like salmon, mackerel or sardines. When selecting fishcakes, Lucy needs to make sure the fish content is high to optimise her protein intake. This is because protein will not only fill her up but as an athlete, Lucy needs to ensure adequate protein in her meals for muscle repair and maintenance.
Lucy’s salad of mixed vegetables is a great source of vitamins and minerals. She includes nitrate-rich veg like beetroot, which is especially useful for sportsmen and women because studies suggest it helps improve performance on the pitch thanks to its ability to increase our bodies oxygen uptake. Lucy very wisely gets sweetness from whole fruit, rather than relying on foods with ‘free or added sugars’ – the type found in sweets, juices and fizzy drinks. The fruits Lucy has chosen are also good sources of hydration, which can be helpful after exercise.
Kerry says: On days when Lucy is very active she needs calorie-dense foods like her favourite roast potatoes. Ideally, the fat used for roasting would be one that stays stable at high temperatures like coconut oil rather than more delicate oils like sunflower. If Lucy swapped her regular potatoes for sweet potatoes she’d increase her five-a-day while benefiting from an energising dose of starchy carbs. Adding an oil-based dressing to Lucy’s vegetable salad would improve her absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, including the protective antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin E. Lucy might also consider adding a sprinkle of cinnamon to her fruit snack. Cinnamon helps stabilise blood sugar levels, which will mean Lucy will benefit from the natural sugars in a steady, balancing way.