What to Eat

What a swimmer eats before, during and after a competition plays an important part in how you feel and your performance.

The day before:

When competition time comes round eat meals and snacks that are high in carbohydrates.

  • Drink fluids little and often to stay properly hydrated.

  • Eat little and often – every 2 to 4 hours to keep your blood sugar levels steady and fuel your muscles in preparation for your event.

  • Avoidbigmealsorovereatinginthe evening – this will almost certainly make you feel uncomfortable and lethargic the next day.

  • Trytosticktofamiliarfoods.Currys,spicy foods, baked beans and pulses (unless you are used to eating them) can cause gas and bloating. So avoid eating anything that may cause stomach discomfort the next day. It’s best to stick to foods that you are familiar and compatible with!

    The morning of the event:

  • Don’t swim on an empty stomach.  Even if you feel nervous, make breakfast happen. Stick to easily digested food – whole wheat cereal with whole organic milk or a milk substitute such as nut milk, porridge, banana with whole plain yoghurt, some fruit or toast with jam.

  • If you’re really nervous, try something liquid like milkshakes, yoghurt drinks or a smoothie.

  • Why not try out your eating plan during training, see if it works!

Snacks between heats:

• Try to eat as soon as possible after your swim to give yourself as long as possible to recover if you have to swim again. High-fat and simple sugar foods are no good during a competition. Instead eat carbohydrates again.

• If you can’t stomach anything solid try sports drinks, flavoured milk or diluted juice that will help replenish your energy supplies and assist the recovery of aching muscles.

• The list below offers great food options to be snacking on for a competition. Remember to keep eating healthy foods from your regular diet though, such as fresh vegetables, nuts and fruits.

  • –  Water, diluted fruit juice

  • –  Pasta salad

  • –  Plain sandwiches e.g.chicken, tuna, cheese with salad, banana, peanut butter

  • –  Bananas, grapes, apples, plums, pears

  • –  Dried fruit e.g. raisins, apricots, mango

  • –  Smoothies

  • –  Crackers and rice cakes with bananas or honey

  • –  Mini pancakes, fruit buns

  • –  Cereal bars, fruit bars, sesame snaps

  • –  Yoghurt and yoghurt drinks

  • –  Small bag of unsalted nuts e.g. peanuts, cashews, almonds

  • –  Prepared vegetable sticks e.g. carrots, peppers, cucumber and celery