Diet The England Way
As fans watch Harry Kane taking a penalty or Bukayo Saka jinxing past a defender, they must be struck by the great athleticism the players have.
It’s not just the men’s team either – Georgia Stanway, Lauren Hemp, and England’s Lionesses had the nation on the edge of their seat during this summer and had to be at peak physical fitness as they battled bravely, but ultimately in vain, to lift their first World Cup.
Meanwhile, at home, supporters are usually on the sofa, sipping soft drinks, snacking, and generally enjoying a diet in sharp contrast to those heroes on the television. However, that doesn’t have to be the case! The diets enjoyed by the players from both the men’s and women’s teams are not revolutionary, and they can help set a blueprint for a supporter to improve their fitness.
Here’s how the teams eat and how you can use their example to kickstart your own battle of the bulge.
There will be a fundamental difference between the way you use the England team’s diets and the way they do – you’re going to have to prep the meals yourself. As you might expect, Raheem Sterling doesn’t don a chef’s hat when away on England duty – the teams have a dedicated chef. The England’s men’s chef is Omar Meziane, formerly of League One side Wycombe Wanderers.
Having their own chef does mean a good variety of foods, something you should consider when plotting your weight loss journey. "I just like to show them that food is more than chicken, broccoli, and quinoa and can be exciting and delicious,” he said in a 2022 interview. “We all know what’s good for us. It’s about having a good, balanced diet. That means good quality fish, turkey, and chicken.”
Even though England players are heroes on the field and role models at the peak of physical fitness, they only eat the same sort of foods available to you, but it's all about balance.
What exactly do the players eat? It’s easy to say general food groups, but what in terms of specific dishes do players enjoy?
Surprisingly, the diet of many players is very much as you’d expect in any kitchen, just without some of the less nutritional dishes. For instance, Lauren Hemp usually enjoys a breakfast omelette consisting of ham, cheese, peppers, onions and a bit of spinach. Of course, going easy on the cheese is a good idea if you’re not prepping for a big match, but it underlines the sort of foods that you can enjoy, even if you’re trying to lose weight.
Mary Earps became something of an icon for many young girls this summer, and her pre-match meal is also something almost anyone could rustle up from their fridge. “My pre-match meal is a bagel, baked beans and two poached eggs, with a little bit of pepper on the top,” she said ahead of the World Cup this summer. Who hasn’t had egg on toast before? The twist is not frying the eggs – almost any meal can be made healthier by swapping out ingredients or prepping in a different way.
How You Can Improve Your Fitness Using This Blueprint
How can you use the England player’s experiences and actions to get yourself fit?
As demonstrated, the diet of England players really isn’t all that different from something you can achieve at home. The real difference is mindset – focusing on becoming better and moving towards that goal. Footballers are constantly doing that, and that’s the lesson you need to take from the top players.
They have teammates around them, and that’s something you should consider if you want to shift some pounds. You can find support even if you live alone – searching ‘weight loss groups near me’ will put you in touch with a club of like-minded people, your new teammates in your drive for a healthier, slimmer you. Like Jordan Pickford pulling off a save after a Harry Maguire slip, they’ll be there to pick you up when you fall and help you on your way.
Of course, any change in diet needs to be sustainable, and taking a leaf out of the player’s books should be something you do 24/7. There’s no point in rustling up a nice, healthy Spaghetti Bolognese, Nikita Parris’s favourite meal, if you lather it with cheese, throw in garlic bread and smash a trifle afterwards. Be disciplined in your approach, methodical and structured. Enjoy smaller portions, and try to balance your diet by managing nutritional foods with the occasional morale-boosting treat.
You do need to get out there and exercise. England players are training hard for games, burning calories to stay in shape. That’s fundamental to losing weight; just changing your diet isn’t enough. Try to reach 10,000 steps per day, or maybe get some of your new weight loss teammates to take up a sport (it doesn’t have to be football), and ensure you’re keeping yourself active.
Who knows, by the time the Euros roll around in 2024, perhaps the England players will not only have inspired you to sing Football’s Coming Home, but they might also have helped you become a lighter, happier version of yourself.