More articles for parents and swimmers about Nutrition.

Nutritional Guidlines for Swimmers.

This excellent article is from the Birmingham-Bloomfiled Atlantis Swimming Team

It is important to eat right on the day of a meet, but what you eat on a daily basis is also very important for peak performance. Athletes need to eat three healthy meals each day and include healthy snacks in between. What you eat and when you eat it can make a big difference in your swimming. Each swimmer is an individual, so what works for one swimmer might not work for another. Here are some ideas for keeping nutritionally fit.

  • Follow the guidelines proposed for adequate nutrition: 70% carbohydrates, 15% protein, and 15% fat. Choose a variety of foods from the five food groups. Variety helps you get all the nutrients your body needs.
  • Eat high carbohydrate meals including pasta, breads, grain cereals and rice. Foods rich in carbohydrate are needed to keep glycogen (stored carbohydrate) levels high for maximum performance.
  • The night before a swim meet have a high-carb snack and a couple of glasses of water or sports drink.
  • In the morning before the meet drink plenty of fluids to maintain hydration and eat what your stomach will tolerate. A small meal of about 250 calories high in carbohydrates would be good. Suggestions include: two pieces of toast or a bagel, cereal or pancakes, and a glass of orange juice or a half of a banana. Another suggestion would include a bagel with peanut butter and a cup of low fat yogurt.
  • During the day of the meet focus on eating foods that will maintain your energy throughout the day and eat them on a schedule that will not impair your performance. Here are some suggestions:

    • More than three hours between events : Solid carbohydrate-dense foods with protein added (low-fat yogurt, bagel with cheese or peanut butter, turkey or tuna sandwich with milk or sports drink and water).
    • Two to three hours between events : Solid carbohydrate-dense foods (bagels, English muffins, oatmeal, fruit juice and sports drinks)
    • One hour or less between events : Easily digestible, low fiber and non- spicy foods high in carbohydrates (banana, sport drinks, breakfast bars, sports bars, toast).
    • Foods to avoid prior to competition : spicy, high fiber and gas-producing foods and fried and fat foods.
  • In general it is best to stay away from processed foods and avoid fatty and high sugar snack foods. It is obviously okay to eat these some times, but try to emphasize healthy alternatives when possible.
  • Other healthy snack ideas during non-meet days include: fresh fruit, cereal bars, low fat cookies and crackers, dried fruit, and nuts mixed with dried fruits, popcorn and pretzels, low fat cheeses, raw vegetables with dip or hummus, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, cereal and milk