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Food for Young Swimmers



  • Hello: My 11 year old daughter just begun competitive swimming last year and she is also do lifesaving as a sport. I am seeking some help with healthy and filling food choices for her. She comes home from practices and eats everything in sight including junk food like desserts and chips. She is starting to enter puberty and is still growing and I want to offer her food choices that fill her up and are healthy. If anyone has any food choices or great recipes for a young swimmer relatively new to the sport, I would love to hear them. Thank you.



  • A study through Indiana University has shown that chocolate milk is a great recovery drink soon after practice. I know my son burns a lot of calories so I don't hesitate to buy the whole milk version for him. Peanut butter on whole wheat bread or with pretzels is a good snack as well as greek yogurt with fruit or granola, turkey breast on a bagel, etc.



  • I agree with the chocolate milk suggestion! We like Fairlife chocolate milk at our house because of the less sugar/added protein. From what I have read, a good source of protein needs to be consumed within 30 minutes of a workout in order to "resupply" one's muscles. I will pack a small lunchbox or cooler with a couple of small milks that my girls can drink on the way home. By the time we arrive at home, they usually grab a little fruit or cheese and can settle into homework, bed or whatever a little quicker.



  • Hi Kimberly! I'm 2-time Olympian Chloe Sutton! Hopefully I can help!

    You definitely don't want her grabbing for junk food and deserts. Muscles need nutrients and protein for fuel and to recover. I try to stick to a formula of pairing a protein with a carbohydrate and getting nutrients. That way it's long lasting energy and helps fuel my muscles.

    An example of before workout would be a cheese stick with a piece of fruit, a handful of trail mix, or a PB&J.

    During workout, make sure she has more than water. Any kind of sports drink with simple sugars will give her energy. I also always had an applesauce squeeze packet on the side of the pool to keep my glycogen levels consistent. I would get low blood sugar if I didn't have anything during my swim and applesauce is easy to gulp during short rest sets.

    An example of post workout would be chocolate milk, some yogurt and granola, or an apple with peanut butter.

    Meals should be full of protein, complex carbs, and something green. I loved rice bowls with broccoli and chicken, a chicken breast with a baked potato and a side salad, a piece of fish with quinoa and asparagus, etc. My mom made me very healthy, filling, and tasty meals.

    I always struggled with my weight, even with working out 6+ hours a day. Your body gets used to it and you have to be careful with what you put into your body. You feel best and swim fastest when you eat healthy, listen to your body, and get enough (but not more).

    Best of luck to you and your daughter!



  • Chocolate milk definitely helps!! Try to stay away from junk food, but still let her be a kid. If she is with friends and wants to get an ice cream, let her have it. Also, after practice be sure to load up on food. Usually my practice is after dinner so I'll try to have salad, chicken for protein, and some form of a carb, but not too much. I may drink orange juice too, it has tons of nutritional value. Greek yogurt with granola makes a great snack for before practice as well.



  • hard boiled eggs are a good packable, healthy snack



  • Julie J said:

    A study through Indiana University has shown that chocolate milk is a great recovery drink soon after practice. I know my son burns a lot of calories so I don't hesitate to buy the whole milk version for him. Peanut butter on whole wheat bread or with pretzels is a good snack as well as greek yogurt with fruit or granola, turkey breast on a bagel, etc.

    Thank you very much.



  • Hi, just read your question. Its really difficult to stop young kids from eating as their eating habits are very different these days.Still i will suggest you to plan a daily diet chart with some healthy food in it so that she will enjoy eating and will also have nutritious food which will help her in swimming.



  • Just avoid junk food and give your child healthy food that contains nutrients and proteins. The diet must equally include vegetables, pulses, cereals and non-vegetables.



  • Try out some green salads and veggies and make some creative recipes so that she would love it.



  • thelma t said:

    Try out some green salads and veggies and make some creative recipes so that she would love it.

    That's a good suggestion. I have heard that chocolate milk also energizes them after a long swim.



  • Avoid junk food, and include some veggies and milk shake in the diet.


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