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Eating to Compete

Swimming is an intense workout, so whether you're doing a weeknight practice or you're entered in several events at a swim meet, it's important to make sure you get adequate nutrition throughout the day. 

Bringing good energy foods to snack on between your events can keep your performance up. You'll also need to make sure to stay hydrated, because dehydration can slow you down.

Check out the following links for some great tips on nutrition for swimmers:

USA Swimming's Nutrition Page
10 Foods Every Swimmer Should Eat

TeamUSA's Sample Plates and Ideas

Breakfast On The Run
By Carol Bozarth, R.D., L.D., Nutritionist

"I don't have time to eat before I leave for school."
"I'm not hungry in the morning."
"I'm dieting, I'll skip a meal and save those calories."

Do your children (or you) use these excuses to avoid eating breakfast? Do they routinely "grab" a doughnut, danish, or candy bar to carry them through till lunch? Change this behavior NOW!

Breakfast is an important meal! The human body needs fuel to run on. That's what food provides.
Studies continue to support the fact that individuals learn, think and perform better when their body has been nourished in the morning. A morning meal doesn't mean you need to eat as soon as you awake. For parents, it may be more convenient for you to eat once you are at your day's destination, provided you make time for it.

What would a morning meal contain?

Protein: low fat milk, cheese or yogurt, lean ham, turkey, peanut butter (use natural), egg, (the cholesterol and fat is in the yolk - the white is pure protein).

Grains: breakfast cereals (hot or cold - provided it is not sugar coated), bread, rolls, crackers, bagel, english muffins, rice, pasta.

Fruit/Vegetable: fruit or vegetable juice, fresh frozen or dried fruit.

The following are examples of quick-to-prepare, easy-to-eat morning meals:

  •     low fat cheese and tomato sandwich (can be stuffed into a pocket pita)
  •     peanut butter and sliced apple or banana sandwich
  •     sliced egg (or egg white sandwich)
  •     lean ham or turkey sandwich with sliced tomatoes
  •     yogurt with fruit and dry cereal as a topping
  •     reheated pizza

Additional tips:

Use disposable plates, cups, flatware. Plan for breakfast before going to bed.
Wake up 10 minutes earlier...it may create less stress and make the morning meal so much easier to swallow.

The key to eating breakfast is convenience. It must be easy to prepare, you must have the ingredients in stock, and the clean-up must be minimal. Most important, everyone must like what they are going to eat.