Nutrition – What to eat before and after swimming

Nutrition – What to eat before and after swimming

A quick bite to eat before swimming can be a risky move – everyone knows the advice about not eating 1 hour before a swim. It is not a myth (I can assure you!) that eating too close to an energic swim doesn’t produce the best results.

On the other hand, a hungry, tired child can find it hard to focus, listen and perform to the best of their ability during physical activity – particularly first thing in the morning, or after a busy day at school.

A few things to consider:

  • When was the last meal your child ate? Consider a snack if your child hasn’t eaten for a few hours. Is their lesson soon after breakfast, lunch or dinner? Ensure they finish eating at least an hour before they get into the pool.
  • What does their meal or snack consist of? Make sure their food is easily digestible – Avoid; dairy (yoghurt), fruits with skin, rich sugary treats.
  • Indigestion is no fun for anyone, families are often busy but try to avoid your child having to ‘eat on the run’.

Instead opt for foods with high carbohydrate to provide sufficient fuel. The Glycaemic Index of carbohydrate (GI) measures how quickly food is digested and broken down into glucose. Low GI foods give a slower release of energy, so would make a great meal before exercise. High GI foods are quickly broken down into glucose, so these types of foods would perfect as a snack to have before or even after exercise.

Low GI foods eat 1-3 hours before a swim include:

  • Wholegrain bread
  • Natural Muesli
  • Oats
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Noodles
  • Vegetables; carrots, celery, tomatoes.

High GI foods/snacks to eat 1 hour before a swim include:

  • Most cereals
  • White bread
  • Sweet biscuits
  • Savoury snacks
  • Raisins
  • Rice Cakes
  • Soft Drinks.

Please note that no food is to be eaten poolside. Don’t forget drinking is just as important as eating before exercise, pack a water bottle so your child can rehydrate after their swim!