We were in Scotland recently and got the opportunity to quiz up and coming football star Emma Craig. Having signed for Celtic at a young age, she has worked her way up through their internationally recognized academy, representing Scotland at U16, U17 & U19 age groups. We asked the winger about her nutrition…
Ahead of a game, let's say the night before, what sort of meals/foods are you having? “I usually try to eat a lot of carbs and protein to fuel myself properly for the game. Pasta and chicken are my go to before games, but i often mix it up with potatoes for example”.
Do you eat much in the morning of a game? “Yeah I try to eat a good amount before games a couple of hours before kick off. I also try to drink a litre or two of water as well to hydrate properly. I usually have a carbs based meal depending on what time kick off is”.
Are you eating much after playing? Can you eat pretty much anything you like? “I try and eat soon after training or games (between 30 mins and 1 hour after finishing). I try to eat carbs to refuel and sometimes have protein bars”.
Does your diet change much over the year? Are you taking on-board more calories during the summer or winter? “I don’t notice a change in diet throughout the year. I have 3 main meals a day, 7 days a week as well as something light before bed such as toast. I also always try to eat my 5 a day, having cereal with fruit in the morning helps me achieve this. My lunch is usually lighter, often soup or a sandwich with a piece of fruit also”.
Do you eat much when you are training; do you have a protein bar or shake within easy reach? “I don’t eat during training, if anything an energy gel. I prefer to just hydrate properly with both water and some form of energy drink such as Powerade or Lucozade”.
How important is hydration to an athlete at your level? “Hydration is key to performing well and to the highest standard. I aim to drink a good few litres of water per day to prevent muscle cramp for example”.
Max Lahiff (Pro rugby player here in the UK) came down to our studio and said sleep and nutrition are king for recovery, do you find the same? “I would agree with this as you need to let your muscles rest and repair them in the best way possible. Sleep allows time for your body to heal, and nutrition provides the essentials needed for muscle repair such as protein”.
What are the most common meals in your house? Do you have to make sure you're eating XX amount of calories per day/week? “I eat quite a varied range of meals in my house and I don’t have a calorie aim each day. Stir Fry is a common meal in my house and one of my favourites. Having plenty of vegetables with either chicken or beef, as well as with noodles provides me with a lot of carbs, vitamins and proteins”.
What is your 'cheat' recipe? “I don’t have any cheat recipes however I do enjoy chocolate from time to time. I try to avoid this but it’s nice to treat yourself. I also enjoy crisps but limit how often I eat them”.
Is there anything you actively avoid? “I try to avoid foods high in fat and salt, such as fast food like McDonald’s, although I do eat them from time to time. I also try and avoid chips where possible, and substitute them with different forms of potatoes, such as boiled potatoes which are a more healthy alternative”.
Do you have a favourite place to play? “I really enjoyed playing in Spain with Scotland, but within Scotland, I love training and playing at Lennoxtown, the facilities are first class”.
Is there a particular game that stands out in your career so far? “I have a few games where i was really happy with my performance but when i scored a hat trick in the League Cup Final, that stands out most”.
Do you have any pre-game rituals i.e. putting your left sock on first, or always wearing the same shinpads? “I always put everything on right and then left, I also always have to wear a black band on my wrist, and i always wear odd socks to games when possible. I also always have to wear Vicks”.