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Proper nutrition plays a crucial role in supporting the performance and overall well-being of summer league swimmers.
By fuelling their bodies with the right nutrients, swimmers can enhance their energy levels, endurance, and recovery. This guide provides a high-level overview of swim team nutrition for swimmers aged 5-18, helping them make smart food choices to optimize their performance in the pool.
Eat a Balanced Diet:
Encourage swimmers to consume a well-rounded diet consisting of carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products in their meals.
Proper hydration is key to maintaining optimal performance. Swimmers should drink water before, during, and after practice or competitions. Encourage them to avoid sugary drinks and instead opt for water or sports drinks with electrolytes for replenishment.
Before swimming, swimmers should consume a light and easily digestible snack that provides sustained energy. Examples include fruits, yogurt, granola bars, or a small sandwich. Avoid heavy or greasy foods that may cause discomfort during exercise.
After swimming, replenishing the body's energy stores and aiding in muscle recovery is crucial. Encourage swimmers to consume a combination of carbohydrates and proteins within 30 minutes of finishing their workout. This can be achieved through snacks like chocolate milk, a fruit smoothie, or a protein-rich snack.
Promote nutritious snacking options to support swimmers' energy levels throughout the day. Include suggestions such as trail mix, yogurt with fruits, whole-grain crackers with peanut butter, or sliced vegetables with hummus.
Smart Eating on Competition Days:
On competition days, swimmers should focus on consuming foods they are familiar with and that provide sustained energy. Encourage them to eat a balanced meal with carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats a few hours before the event. Avoid trying new foods that could cause digestive issues.
After intense training sessions or competitions, swimmers should prioritize a post-workout meal that includes carbohydrates, proteins, and fluids to aid in muscle recovery. This can include options like grilled chicken with rice and vegetables, pasta with lean meat sauce, or a vegetable stir-fry with tofu.