Background-image
Partners
Swimville+USA
USA+Swimming
U.S.+Masters+Swimming
Miami+University+Recreation
Sponsors
Nutrition Information

ENERGY NEEDS OF THE GROWING SWIMMER

By Jill Castle, Registered Dietitian & Child Nutrition Expert

Calories provide the energy your young swimmer needs for everyday activity, swim performance and growth.

With hints of calorie intakes in excess of 10,000 calories per day, Michael Phelps blew the competition away in 2008 and blew our minds with his over-the-top calorie consumption. And it produced the nagging question in parents’ minds, “How much does my young swimmer need to eat?”

Children aged 9–13 years need about 1,500-2,400 calories each day, depending on age and gender, to support the demands of normal growth and development. Add the energy burn of a regular two-hour swim practice, and the energy needs can skyrocket to the tune of 2,700 – 3,600 calories or more per day.

Impressive.

Martinez and colleagues (Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 2011) recently found that young, amateur swimmers on semiprofessional teams (year-round club teams) had low energy consumption compared to what they needed. They also found these young swimmers were overdoing protein and missing the mark on other important vitamins and minerals.

What happens if kids don’t get the calories they need? Fatigue, impaired focus and concentration, low physical performance and perhaps a delay in physical development (lag in muscle building, slowed height growth and/or delay in adult development) may occur when calorie intake is less than needed over time.

As parents, it‘s our job to make sure that kids get the energy they need, and from the proper food sources. Avoid the mistake of delivering high calorie, nutrient-poor foods from the fast food drive-through. Not only are they excessive in fat, salt and sugar and under-deliver important nutrients like iron, calcium and B vitamins, they set the tone for future food cravings and selections that won’t support good health when swimming is over.

Sound complicated? It’s not.

Here are some ways to assure your growing child gets the right amount and type of calories he needs as an active swimmer: 

  • Stock your kitchen with good quality nutrition: whole foods in their natural state, such as low fat dairy products, lean meats and other protein sources, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats. These are the foods that should be a part of every healthy, growing child’s diet.
  • Make sure your child gets three nutritious meals a day. No skipping! A meal should include at least 3-4 of these foods: a protein source, dairy, fruit, vegetable, healthy fats and/or a whole grain food source.
  • Aim for two snacks each day that include a protein source. Meats, beans and bean dips, nuts and nut butters, cheeses, yogurt, milk or milk substitutes, and protein-rich whole grains such as quinoa are great sources of protein for the swimmer. Unsweetened cereal and milk; yogurt, fresh fruit and nuts; whole-wheat toast and peanut butter are all examples of a healthy protein-rich snack for your school-age athlete.
  • Timing is everything. Kids perform best in all aspects of life when they eat regularly. Try to provide a meal or snack every 3-4 hours, and avoid sending your swimmer to practice on an empty stomach.

With a little bit of planning, it’s easy to assure your young swimmer gets enough nutrition to cover all his needs. The benefits of that are worth it, keeping your swimmer healthy, growing and energized for performing in the pool.

 

 

 

NUTRITION

Reprinted from

"Training Agenda",

a USA Swimming

Sports Medicine and Science Series

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything you do influences your performance, but your food choices have the most effect due to the long term and short term benefits. A proper diet, including proper selection of foods, will help your training and performance while also achieving a healthy lifestyle once you stop competing.

 

To help ensure a balanced diet, remember that there are no magical nutrition remedies. So forget the fads and eat a variety of wholesome foods from the four food groups--milk, meat, fruits & vegetables, and grains. Foods in these groups provide protein, fat carbohydrate, fiber and all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Your ideal diet should include the following percentage of calories:

                         Carbohydrate                                      50-60%

                         Fat                                                     20-30%

                         Protein                                               14-18%

 

This nutrition series is designed to help you better understand good nutrition and to provide guidelines for ideal food choices. Within sports, there are four major periods that nutrition will impact.

 

During Training

 

 

 

1.  Training represents the period in which athletes spend most of their time. Therefore, this category represents the most critical period. During this time, a diet high in carbohydrates is important. This is important since it is not uncommon for athletes training 4-6 hours a day to burn 2500 to 4000 calories a day. The best way to replenish these calories is with a high carbohydrate diet. By being conscious of this and by taking high carbohydrate foods or during in the first 30 minutes following a workout, you can minimize depletion of energy stores.

 

Pre-event Nutrition

 

 

2.  The major purpose of the pre-event diet is to ensure sufficient energy and fluid for the athlete. Two to three days before competition, a high carbohydrate diet with plenty of fluids should be emphasized. The pre-event meal should include light, high carbohydrate meal three to four hours before the event.

 

Nutrition During Competition

 

 

3.  Provided that good nutrition practices were followed during training, middle distance and sprint events will not be limited by nutrition-related factors. During a three to four day competition, make sure you consume plenty of fluids and each meal should include high carbohydrate, lot fat selections.

 

Nutrition After Competition

 

4.  High intensity work will deplete the muscle's energy supplies. Therefore, carbohydrates play an important role after competition to make sure energy stores are maintained.

 

Food Choices

 

 

The best food choices include a well balanced, mixed diet with choices from each of the four food groups. You can get all the nutrients you need by selecting a variety of foods in the recommended serving size from each of the following food groups.

 

Food Group

Selections

Servings

MILK

Milk, Cheese, Yougurt, Cottage Cheese, Ice Cream (Vitamins & Protein)

4 or More

MEAT

Meat, Fish, Poultry, Eggs, Beans, Peas, Nuts (minerals & protein)

2 or More

FRUIT & VEGETABLES

Fresh, Frozen, Canned, Dried and Juiced Fruits and Vegetables (Vitamins and Carbohydrates)

8 or More

GRAIN

Cereals, Breads, Rolls, Pasta, Muffins, Pancakes (Carbohydrates and Minerals)

8 or More

OTHERS

Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Candy, Soft Drinks, Chips (Carbohydrates and Fat)

ONLY if you need additional calories AFTER selections from above

 

Fast Food Nutrition (??)

 

 

Yes! "Fast Food" restaurants play an important role in the diets of athletes on the go. Today, these restaurants can provide a viable source of good nutrition--but the choice is yours and selection is critical. Here are some guidelines to make wise choices:

 

Menu Adjectives

 

 

 

Fat content must be watched when selecting menu items. If you see one of the following words, try to make another selection:

         Fried, Crispy, Breaded, Scampi Style, Creamed, Buttery, Au Gratin, Gravy.

Selection adjectives that are good include:

        Marinara, Steamed, Boiled, Broiled, Tomato Sauce, In Its Own Juice, Poached, Charbroiled.

 

Restaurant Choices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depending on the restaurant you go to, here are some timps when selecting foods:

Mexican - Choose pot beans instead of refried beans and chicken or bean burritos and tostados. Ask for baked, soft corn totillas instead of deep fried shells. Salsa is fine, but watch your chip intake.

Intalian - Pasta with marinara sauce is good but watch alfredo sauces. Pizza, plain or with vegetables, is a good choice. Bread is good (watch the butter). Low-fat italian ices are better than rich dessert choices.

Chinese - Stir fried and steamed dishes, like chicken & vegetables and rice, are good choices. Minimize fried egg roll intake or avoid all together.

Burger Places - Salad bars are great but watch the dressing. Look for grilled burgers, hold the mayonnaise and go light on the cheese. Watch your french fry intake (select a baked potato with a little butter if you can) and go easy on the milk shakes.

Breakfast Cafes - Always ask for butter on the side of pancakes, toast, muffins, etc. Select fresh fruit, juices and whole-grain breads and muffins.

 

Fast Food Choices

Listed below are a partial list of fast foods and their calorie & fat content. When selecting, always go with the low fat choice.

 

 

Calories

Fat (gm)

 

 

 

Calories

Fat (gm)

Breakfast

Juice

80

0

 

 

Sundae

361

10

 

English Muffin/Butter

186

5

 

 

Frosty (12oz)

400

15

 

Ham, Chs.., Mushrm, Omelet

290

20

 

Fish

Fish Sandwich

450

30

 

Egg McMuffin

340

20

 

 

Seafood Platter

471

35

 

French Toast (2 slices)

400

20

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sausage with Biscuit

467

35

 

Pizza (3 slices of 12 inch pizza)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheese

510

8

Burgers

Hamburger

262

15

 

 

Pepperoni

430

17

 

Cheeseburger

318

20

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quarter Pound Burger

427

25

 

Potatoes

Plain, baked

215

0

 

Quarter Pound Cheeseburger

525

35

 

 

Regular Fries

220

15

 

Big Mac

570

40

 

 

Baked, Cheese & Broccoli

541

25

 

Whopper with Cheese

760

50

 

 

Baked with Cheese

590

40

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken

DruRAYSick

117

5

 

Mexican

Taco

179

6

 

Chicken Sandwich

310

10

 

 

Beefy Tostado

291

15

 

Chicken Nuggets, 6300

23

 

 

 

Bean Burriot

343

15

 

Chicken Salad Sandwich

386

20

 

 

Taco Salad

390

20

 

Chicken Team Sandwich

620

35

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miilk and Miilk Shakes

2% Milk

120

5

Desserts

Soft Serve Cone

185

5

 

 

Whole Miilk

150

10

 

Strawberry Sundae

320

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nutrition Do's & Dont's

 

Carbohydrate intake is important during every stage of nutrition. For each meal and snack, follow these Do's and Don'ts for wise food choices during training.

 

 

Do

Don't

Breakfast

 

 

 

 

 

Eat hot cereals like oatmeal or oat bran.

Select whole-grain or high fiber cold cereals.

Eat breads, including muffins, biscuits and bagels.

Try milk, skim or lowfat is best.

Choose fruit, including fresh, canned and fruit juices.

Drink hot beverages such as hot chocolate and hot 

apple cider.

Eat pancakes, waffles and french toast.

Choose eggs up to two or three times weekly.

Choose fat-free toppings like syrups and jams as an 

alternative to butter

Eat sausage, ham or bacon more than once or twice weekly.

Opt for eggs every day.

Choose sugary children's cereals.

Choose fast food breakfast sandwiches and fat-laden croissants every day.

Use too much margarine or butter.

Eat doughnuts or pastries daily.

Skip breakfast.

 

Lunch

 

 

 

 

 

Pack a lunch when possible.

Choose whole-grain breads

Choose lean meats like turkey over salamii or bologna.

Use mustard and ketchup as condiments.

Choose a hamburger over hot dogs.

Choose a baked potato over french fries.

.Eat pasta as much as you like, but choose tomato sauces rather than cream sauces.

Try pizza without fatty meat toppings.Eat hearty soups and stews.

 

East fast-food meals too frequently.

East fried foods like fish 'n' chips too frequently.

Overuse condiments like mayonnaise or salad dressings.

Eat fatty and salty luncheon meats too often.

Skip lunch.

Choose prepared salads containing excessive mayonnaise

or salad dressing.

 

 

Dinner

 

 

 

 

Eat pasta dishes.

Choose pizza with vegetable and lean meat toppings.

Try chinese food with rice and fresh vegetables.

Select fish often. Broiled or poached is best.

Trim visible fat from meats and remove skin from poultry.

Have soups, salads and plenty of vegetables.

Eat as much bread as you like.

Include potatoes, rice or beans when available.

Choose fresh fruit, yogurt or jello for dessert.

Choose deep-fried meals more than twice a week.

Eat high-fat meals like hot dogs or sausages in excess.

Choose meals with heavy cream sauces or gravies.

Ruin a baked potato or bread with too much butter.

Have cakes, ice cream and pies every night.

 

 

 

Snacks and Beverages

 

 

 

Pack nutritious snacks like fruit, raisins and nuts.

Have rolls, muffins and breads when you a break.

Snack on popcorn, pretzels and breadsticks.

Drink eight to ten glasses of fluids every day.

Drink nonfat or lowfat milk.

Drink fruit juices, sparkling waters and plain water.

Drink hot ciders, soups and hot chocolate.

Count on potato chips or tortilla chips as good snacks.

Eat cupcakes or cream-filled pastries to satisfy hunger.

Eat ice cream, cakes or candies in excess.

Drink too many soft drinks.

 

 

 

For more information please visit USA Swimmings Nutrition Site HERE