Contributor: Luke Corey, BA(H), BScAHN, Registered Dietitian
The butterfly, backstroke, and good nutrition – what do they have in common? All three are crucial for success in the pool; yet, most young swimmers have difficulty executing them properly and on a consistent basis. While these swimming techniques take years of effort and practice to accomplish, good nutrition can actually be achieved relatively quickly and easily.
Here are some basic nutrition tips for the young swimmer that can be incorporated into their daily routines!
#1 – Eat breakfast every day! If this is an issue, start with something simple, like a glass of juice or half a banana. Work your way up to a well-balanced meal, which includes at least 3 of the 4 food groups. A good and quick example would be a whole-grain cereal, with low-fat milk and some fresh berries on top.
#2 – Snack, Snack, Snack! After starting the day off right with a well-balanced meal, your aim is to have something to eat every 2 to 3 hours. Include healthy snacks between breakfast and lunch, lunch and supper, and after supper. Healthy snacks include fruits and vegetables, whole-grain crackers and low-fat cheese, low-fat yogurt, trail mix, a chicken wrap, and even granola bars (find a low sugar option).
#3 – Hydrate all day! Water is your best option. Most kids need about 1.5-2 litres, or 6 to 8 cups, per day (including swimmers). Juice, pop, sports or energy drinks are not good options due to their high sugar content. If taste is an issue, try adding a lemon or lime slice. A good habit to adopt is to carry a water bottle around with you wherever you go, even at the pool.
Read more from Luke Corey’s health article “Nutrition Tips for Young Swimmers.”
Luke Corey is a Registered Dietitian and new and welcome contributor to CFC’s Health Portal. He is the founder and Chief Operator of Complete Health and Nutrition, a private practice in Halifax, Nova Scotia that is dedicated to providing residents with the most credible, reliable and effective nutrition information, resources and services available. He works with individual clients, provides group presentations, writes articles for magazines and newspapers, develops workplace wellness programs for companies, and appears in the media on a regular basis to discuss the latest nutrition topics.