What should you eat when you're injured?

Retain muscle mass and avoid putting on weight while you’re recovering from injury with this diet plan used by a Premier League club 

Professional footballers and amateur players have at least one thing in common – they all suffer injuries at some point in their careers.

For those unfortunate enough to face a lengthy spell on the sidelines, the last thing you want to do is put on weight and spend weeks getting rid of your excess fat once you’re fit.

More after the break

Premier League clubs have nutritionists on hand to prepare special diet plans for their players, which ensure they remain at their pre-injury weight and also minimise muscle mass loss.

Check out this diet plan from a top-flight side published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism and you could return from injury faster than ever before.

Immobilisation phase

This meal plan is used during the period where a player is unable to perform any exercise – for example after a broken leg, ACL injury or serious muscle tear.

Breakfast 

Three-egg omelette (ham, cheese and tomato) + 400ml of semi-skimmed milk + one multi-vitamin + 500mg of vitamin c + 1g fish oil + 1.5g HMB supplement

10am

30g of whey/casein protein supplement + 5g creatine monohydrate

1pm

2x chicken fajita wraps (including salsa, pepper, onions and mushrooms) + mixed salad containing lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber. 1g fish oil.

4pm

30g of whey/casein protein supplement + 5g creatine monohydrate

7pm

Salmon fillet + basmati rice + broccoli + 1g fish oil

Approx 30-60 mins before bed

30g of whey/casein protein powder + 1.5 HMB

Total: 1970 kcal, 140g of carbs, 195g of protein, 70g fat

Rehabilitation phase

This meal plan is used once the player begins to rebuild his fitness in the gym and on the pitch.

Breakfast

1x bowl of muesli +250ml of milk + two slices of wholemeal toast + 3 poached eggs + 350ml apple juice + 1 multivitamin + 1g fish oil + 1.5g HMB

10am

25g of whey/casein protein supplement + 5g of creatine monohydrate

1pm

Chicken fillet + sweet potatoes + mixed vegetables (e.g. roasted carrots and vegetables) + 350ml of apple juice + natural yoghurt + mixed berries +1g fish oil

4pm

25g whey protein +50g CHO recovery shake +50g CHO recovery bar

7pm

Filet steak and mixed salad (e.g. tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach) + potato wedges + 350ml apple juice + 1g fish oil

Approx 30-60 mins before bed

Total: 3170kcal, 400g carbs, 190g protein, 90g fat

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