Eating out before the big game

Kick-off: Minestrone knocks spots off the garlic bread or oil-drenched bruschetta as your entree. This vegetable ‘zuppa’ is filling but very light on calories – between 50-100 calories to a bowl and negligible fat content. The fibre in the vegetables will ease digestion and help you keep your fat levels in check.

Main event: Go for pasta over pizza. “The fuel boosting complex carbohydrates need time to weave their way into your system,” says Ruth McKean, exercise nutritionist with the Scottish Institute for Sport.  A pile of penne or spaghetti the night before will give you a drip-feed of endurance come kick-off time. If you are going for meat, opt for a lean one like chicken,” McKean adds. And you should try steering clear of the fatty sauces – even the mince bolognese will take your main over the 600 calorie mark – and instead go for the arrabiata sauce. The chilli content will add a metabolism kick and the calories for a standard dish will weigh in at around 450.

Take On Fluid: Water and wine every time. Reap the rewards of the house red – that includes heart-protecting resveratrol – while the H2O will dampen your appetite a little and stop the sodium in side dishes, such as Parma ham slices, from dehydrating you too much on matchday. Combine the three and you’ll be fuelled like a pro and ready to go for 90 minutes.

Total calories: 600-650. Getting rid of this little taste of Italy will take 60 minutes of high-intensity clogging.

Tim's verdict 10/10: Carbs everywhere, which is great for energy, while one glass of wine won't hurt. This is something I'd prepare for England and West Ham.

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Andrew Murray is a freelance journalist, who regularly contributes to both the FourFourTwo magazine and website. Formerly a senior staff writer at FFT and a fluent Spanish speaker, he has interviewed major names such as Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Sergio Aguero and Xavi. He was also named PPA New Consumer Journalist of the Year 2015.