Healthy Eating Tips for DCA Swimmers
Swimmers should remember that it is very important to eat healthy nutritious food and to stay hydrated, not just on competition days, but in the days leading up to competition – and all the time if you want to be a good athlete!
If you are swimming in more than one session, or if a competition is spread over two or more days, bring a healthy packed lunch with food that you know you like and can eat before competing. Competition venues don’t always have facilities, or a cafe where you can buy healthy food, and they may not offer nutritious healthy snacks. Be aware that drinking water may not always be available at some venues, so bring enough for all your competitive sessions.
Some ideas are listed below to help you select what foods should be helpful to replace energy used while competing. These should help keep your energy levels high for further events.
Healthy Eating Tips
Eat plenty of foods rich in carbohydrates, this will keep your energy levels high, particularly during competition times.
Good sources of carbohydrates are:
Breakfast cereals – such as Shredded Wheat, Weetabix, Bran Flakes, Muesli and porridge.
Bread – wholemeal, granary, pita bread, rolls, crumpets and bagels.
Crisp Bread – water biscuits, wholemeal crackers, oatcakes and rice cakes.
Pasta, rice and potatoes – boiled, mashed and jacket (NOT chips!).
Pizza bases – choose low fat toppings.
Beans – baked, red and kidney.
Vegetables – carrots, parsnips, turnip and beetroot.
All types of fruit and low fat yogurts.
Plain biscuits – rich tea and plain digestives.
Sweets – jelly beans and jelly babies.
Sweetened (non fizzy) soft drinks.
Drink plenty of fluids – water, diluted with fruit juice or sweetened diluting juice, isotonic drinks (make your own with water, juice and a pinch of salt).
Eat plenty of fruit.
You should not eat a large meal just before you train or compete. In particular, you should eat a snack which is high in carbohydrates and low in fat, and at least two hours before you compete.
You should eat carbohydrate rich snacks or drinks throughout competition. It is important to always remember your drinks bottle – get one with the DCA logo!! If you become dehydrated while swimming your performance levels will deteriorate.
What to Eat on Competition Days
Here are some suggestions on what to eat before and during competition:
Fruit juice, cereal with milk, chopped banana, dried fruit. Bread or rolls with jam, marmalade or honey.
Pasta, rice, backed potato (with low fat fillings). Fish, chicken, cottage cheese. Salad or vegetables.
Sandwiches with low fat spread and fillings – cottage cheese, tuna or banana. Pasta salad. Low fat yogurts. Fruit. Fruit juice, water or isotonic drink.
After competing or training
As soon as training or your competition has finished, you should have something light to eat, eg. A banana or some digestive biscuits. Always take some extra snacks with you in your kit bag to eat.
Foods to Avoid!
Don’t eat too many chips, chocolate, sweets, sugary cereals or fizzy sugary drinks.