Early bird: Muscle building morning meal
Raisin your game: Energy carb-based booster
Raisins – a staple of the Christmas pudding that’s up there with the Brandy in essential ingredients but a little more football friendly. Take tablespoons full of raisin or sultanas and take a similar amount of chopped walnuts if granddad hasn’t scoffed the lot already. Cook some pasta in boiling water – while heating oil in a frying pan and cooking a small onion until soft and golden brown – about 8-10 mins. Add the raisins and 100ml of chicken stock and cook until hot through. Toss with the pasta, Parmesan, walnuts and parsley.
Full-time fig: Recovery filling feast
“It's vital to start refuelling as soon as possible after being on the pitch,” says Cox. “Festive dried fruit like figs, dates and cranberries will give you the carbohydrate you need to start replenishing your body's glycogen stores.” The Christmas nut selection will give you protein to help your muscles recover and repair. “Just go easy on portions though as nuts are energy dense so a handful is just right, and pick unsalted versions.”