Swimmers Need To Be Snackers

By: Calum McLellan, CISSN, CSCS, NASM-PESSports Nutritionist and Sports Performance SpecialistSpectrum Sports Performance

How many meals a day do you eat? Did you know that a snack counts as a meal? One of the most important components of eating for swimming is getting enough calories to actually fuel and recover from your training. An easy way to do that is by adding 2-3 snacks a day to add nutrient rich calories to your diet. To keep you from thinking that a bag of Cheetos counts as a snack, I have created three simple questions you need to ask yourself about the snacks you plan for the day for optimal recovery.

Does it have protein?

  • This is as simple and straightforward as it sounds. Each snack you have throughout the day needs to have some sort of protein. Unless you are a vegen or vegetarian the only proteins that you should count are meat, dairy or eggs. Because animal based proteins are much more available for your body to use they have a higher bang for buck for athletes muscles recovering from grueling workouts.

Does it have carbohydrates?

  • Carbs are swimmers best friends. You need them; they are literally the fuel source your body demands when it’s training in the water. The carbs you should include in your snacks are fruits, veggies, grains, pastas and breads. Shoot for 1 serving of one of these categories in each of your snacks, which is approximately the size of your fist.
  • Does it come from nature? This should be your guiding light when it comes to making a decision on the types of proteins and snacks that you consume throughout the day. If it comes from nature it’s usually a safe bet. If it comes from a wrapper: proceed with caution. Usually foods in wrapper have extra ingredients that don’t belong in a high-octane body. Stick to things that have simple ingredients (single is usually best, Ex. Meat, fruit, veggies)

Here is a list of my favorite high performance snacks:1. Cottage cheese with sliced bananas and peanut butter
2. Rolled deli meats and cheese with sliced peppers
3. English muffin egg pizza (English muffin, tomato slice, egg slices)
4. Last night’s leftovers! (Take a portion of what ever you had last night as long as it fits into the top 3 questions!)

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