By Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN | Thursday, June 22, 2017
Hundreds of thousands of swimmers head to weekend meets year-round. After many intense hours of training in and out of the pool, diligently packing their swim bag for the weekend and waking up to a very early alarm (or parent), they arrive and hop in the pool for warm-up. Some swimmers begin this long day or weekend on an empty stomach, while others may have had some breakfast on their way, but now have hours before their first event. They need energy and head to the concession stand only to find food options lacking in nutrients with the potential for a big belly ache and/or energy crash.
With all the time and money invested by swimmers, parents, coaches, and officials, it only makes sense for the food selection at meets to support performance rather than hinder it. The #SwimFASTERfood campaign aims to do just that. We want USA Swimming teams to take a look at what they are serving at concessions and make the switch to provide options that won’t just fill a swimmer’s stomach, but will act as high-quality fuel and the building blocks for recovery.
What might this shift in offerings look like and why is it important? Take donuts for example. Found at many concessions stands, they provide necessary calories, but the quality of them is not sufficient to kick off a long day requiring high amounts of energy production from the body. While fat is an important fuel source, the type and amount provided before swimming slows digestion, which can lead to discomfort and sluggishness. Why not replace the donuts with wheat bagels topped with hummus or yogurt mixed with fruit? Then, swimmers receive not only necessary carbohydrate that is digested easily, but also many nutrients allowing their bodies to use the energy they eat effectively and cope with the many stresses of an intense meet weekend.
Need recipe ideas to replace the brownies, hot dogs, and high-fat sandwiches that are currently sold at your team’s concessions? Try the options below and make signs to indicate when they’re best for swimmers to eat!
Post Warm-Up Bagel
Ideal with 2 hours between warm-ups and a swimmers first event.
1 large wheat bagel, cut in half
2 tablespoons peanut butter or sunflower seed butter
1 large ripe banana, sliced into “coins”
2 teaspoons honey
Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or sunflower seed butter over each bagel half
Top each bagel half with half of the banana slices
Drizzle honey over top
Alternatively, snack bags can be packed for sale with half bagel, individual nut butter packet, half of a banana and an individual packet of honey.
Pre-Race Peanut Cocoa Energy Bars
Great an hour before an event.
Makes 12 bars or balls.Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups peanuts (or sunflower seeds)
1 Cup raw pitted dates 3 tablespoons raw cocoa powder
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp sea salt
Add all ingredients to food processor and pulse until a large ball starts to form
Dump ingredients onto wax paper and roll into a rectangular shape with a rolling pin.
Slice into 12 evenly sized bars and wrap in pieces of wax paper so they are packaged for the concession stand.
Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, is a board-certified sports dietitian based in greater Philadelphia. As a speaker and consultant her expertise lies in performance nutrition, fitness club programming, and intuitive eating. She is a former USA swimmer and competed at the Division I level. You can follow Kelly on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or her blog for tips on applying sports nutrition science to your active lifestyle.