6 meal ideas for perfect post-match recovery

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October 14, 2021
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6 meal ideas for perfect post-match recovery

The goal of post-match nutrition is to optimally recover from lengthy and strenuous sporting activity by consuming adequate amounts of specific nutrients. Your ability to recover is largely dictated by replenishing glycogen that has been depleted from exercise, as well as elevating protein synthesis to counteract catabolism and initiate muscular restoration.

In other words, the breakdown and fatigue of muscular tissue that's caused by extended sporting activity needs to be treated by providing sufficient energy and nutrients that aid the recovery process. 

Following intense exercise, glycogen (stored carbohydrates) can be replenished at an accelerated rate of approximately 50%, due to an increase in the activity of glycogen synthase (basically what promotes the storage of glycogen). 

Evidence also suggests that adding protein to a post-match carbohydrate meal can enhance the process of glycogen re-synthesis. A study found that consuming a protein-carbohydrate supplement within 2 hours of a 60-minute cycling bout led to significantly greater glycogen resynthesise when compared to a carbohydrate only based solution.  

The timing of your post-match replenishment is also important for reducing and preventing muscle protein breakdown. Not eating after a match can significantly increasemuscle protein breakdown for about 3 hours, and can still have a degree of impact as long as 24-hours after your match.

In short, eat quickly after a match and eat well. And less of this guy's suggestion...


These post-match nutrition recommendations have far more importance than post-training or post-workout. Your energy levels and muscles are hit hardest during sustained competitive action. 

As a general guidline, aim to take on board these levels of post-match nutrition: 

  • Protein – 0.5-1.0 grams per kilogram bodyweight
  • Carbohydrates – 1.0-1.5 grams per kilogram bodyweight
  • Fat – Insignificant (keep low if possible) 

Here are some quick, easy-to-make meals that are ideal for post-match situations and perfectly meet the recommended nutrient requirements for this period. Portion sizes and ingredients can be altered if individual nutrient requirements are different, usually dependent on the size of the athlete. 

Meal 1 – Protein Oats

Rolled oats (100 grams)

Protein powder (1 scoop ~25 grams) (whey or plant-based)

Fresh blueberries (50 grams)

Calories – 541 Protein – 37 grams Carbohydrates – 78 grams Fat – 9 grams

Mix with water until you reach the right consistency. Add cinnamon or stevia for more flavour.


Meal 2 – Chicken Sandwiches

For 2 sandwiches:

Thick wholemeal bread (4 slices)

Chicken Breast (100 grams raw weight)

Add tomato, lettuce and barbeque sauce

Calories – 582 Protein – 51 grams Carbohydrates – 82 grams Fat – 6 grams


Meal 3 – Mexican Burritos

Extra-large wholewheat tortilla (1)

Chicken Breast (100 grams raw weight)

White rice (50 grams uncooked weight)

Tomato sauce (100 grams - add to rice)

Pinto beans (50 grams cooked)

Fresh salsa with lime juice

Add herbs and spices as desired.

Cook the chicken, beans, and rice separately. Add tomato sauce to the cooked rice after being drained. Mix all the ingredients together in a pan before being added and wrapped in a burrito.

Calories – 682 Protein - 43 grams Carbohydrates – 105 grams Fat – 10 grams


Meal 4 – Greek Yoghurt

Greek Yoghurt 0% fat (500 grams)

Mixed berries (200 grams)

Large banana (1)

Calories – 501 Protein – 54 grams Carbohydrates – 72 grams Fat – 1 gram


Meal 5 – Turkey Noodles

Pack of quick cook wok medium noodles (200 grams raw weight)

Chicken breast (150 grams raw weight)

Crushed garlic clove (1)

Thinly sliced red pepper (1)

Beansprout (50 grams)

Small, sliced spring onion (1)

Oyster sauce (2 tablespoon)

Cook the chicken first, then add the other ingredients to the wok, along with 5 tablespoons of water, to cook for 3-4 minutes.

Calories – 505 Protein – 54 grams Carbohydrates – 61 grams Fat – 5 grams


Meal 6 - Meal replacement shake

Protein powder (1.5 scoops ~40 grams) (whey or plant-based)

Instant oats (50 grams)

Large banana (1)

Peanut butter (15 grams)

Put ingredients into a blender, add water (~400ml), and mix until you reach a smooth consistency.

Calories – 571 Protein – 45 grams Carbohydrates – 64 grams Fat – 15 grams

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