SNACKS, SNACKS and more SNACKS! (Coaches’ Corner May 28, 2018)

admin Coaches' Corner

By Alexandra Kouzas, INT 2 Coach.

With the first meet completed and many more to come, I wanted to take the time in this article to share my favourite, easy to prepare and eat, “on the go” snacks for both practices and swim meets.

Almost all of the Vikings swimmers are coming from long days at school followed by  extra-curricular activities and finally swim practice. I have already had a few swimmers, in my group alone, telling me they haven’t had a chance to eat before coming to practice. Food fuels the body, and healthy nutritious food fuels the body even more, which results in better performance. Our practices are intense and we need food to give us the energy to swim fast and stay focused.

Pre-practice Snacks

A swimmer should aim to eat a healthy meal at least one hour before practice starts. However, if you are crunched for time and running from one extra-curricular activity to the next, here are some of my favourite pre-practice snacks that can be eaten on the go:

  • Greek yoghurt with granola
  • Fruit and yoghurt smoothies
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich
  • String cheese
  • Bagels
  • Oats and honey, topped with banana and blueberries

Competition Snacks & Drinks

When it comes to swim meets, timing is crucial. If there is only a short amount of time before you swim, approximately less than 60 minutes, aim for a light meal that’s easy to digest. If you are like me and get extremely nervous during swim meets, try a sports gel instead of a meal – it is easy to consume and packed with all the necessary ingredients to fuel your body for your next race!

Some competition snacks you would find in my bag include:

  • Fresh fruit such as bananas, grapes, and berries
  • Sports drinks & gels
  • Trail Mix

If you have more time between races, around 1-2 hours, some good foods to eat would be whole wheat pasta with veggies, sandwiches, and baked potatoes to keep those energy levels steady throughout the day.

Post-Practice Snacks

It is important to replenish lost nutrients shortly after the practice is over, to help our body repair and recover from the strenuous dryland and swim practices. Protein rich foods such as eggs, veggies, and meat combined with carbohydrates make the best post-practice snack.  Personally, after a strenuous practice, I find it difficult to consume a solid meal until a few hours after the practice, so I often opt for a liquid meal immediately after practice instead. My favourite post practices snacks include:

  • Chocolate milk (immediately after practice) – sometimes I like to mix it with protein powder too.
  • Chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread packed with all my favourite veggies too! (Usually consumed an hour or so after practice).
  • Protein bar – My favourites include Quest Protein Bars and Clif bars.

Most importantly STAY HYDRATED – keep that water bottle full all day long! With busy days and the Summer heat it is easy to get dehydrated which will affect your performance both in practice and at a swim meet.

Find what snacks and meals work best for you and make sure you have those foods with you at every swim meet. It is easy to fall into the trap of buying unhealthy food at a swim meet because you haven’t taken the time to pack in advance. However, if you already have all your favourite snacks with you, the temptation will be lessened, and you will be more likely to swim fast because you will be full of energy and hydrated.

I look forward to our next swim meet to see what healthy snacks are your favourite to enjoy at a meet too!