Nutrition Starting Blocks   

By Annette Snow RD CD-N


     The forthcoming nutrition articles will be geared to a wide range of swimmers.   Some are very conscientious about their nutritional intake including those who would only allow organic, no high-fructose corn syrup morsels to enter their body to the athlete whose diet mainly consists of chicken nuggets, French fries and Red Bull.  Please keep that in mind as you read these nutritional tips and suggestions.   A good way to approach the road to nutritional success is “Don’t let ‘perfect’ get in the way of getting better.”  Some feel that if they don’t follow a diet or regimen “perfectly” then why bother at all? On the contrary, studies show that making changes gradually tend to become life-long healthy habits.  An effort of trying to eat perfectly usually causes “burn-out” after a few days or weeks or the notion of “following a diet” means, if one goes “on” a diet then it is only human nature to go “off” the diet.  Consequently, they are back to their old eating habits and therefore, haven’t really benefited at all.                Also, it is important to make note that some of the recommended foods and practices may be well suited to the athlete during the swim season but may be too caloric during the off-season.  Therefore, caution and moderation of those foods will need to be considered.  It can require a balancing act to be able to eat these foods ten months out of the year without them becoming a habit in which they are eaten all of the time.                                                                                                                                                                       

     Another healthy approach is to focus on foods that you can eat, not what you cannot eat.  A good tip is to make a list of your favorite healthy foods and keep the list handy by posting on refrigerator and keeping readily available for grocery shopping.  Print the attachment of The Top 30 Foods for Swimmers and post on your refrigerator.  Highlight the foods that you like to eat and then write a tally mark next to the food each time it is eaten.  After the day or week, see how many times it was eaten.  Try to build on that amount by trying to increase the number of times eaten next week or next month.  Also, make it a goal to try one new food on the list that was previously disliked or never tried.  Studies show that many times a food becomes a “liked” food after it has been introduced or tried at least 10-12 times.