Feeding your competitive swimmer

Eating a balanced breakfast can curb some bad snacking habits.

Eating a balanced breakfast can curb some bad snacking habits.

As the swim season ramps up and your child's training becomes more intense, you may have noticed that your swimmer is snacking a lot more. According to registered dietician and swim parent, Jill Castle, this is neither cause for alarm nor a prompt to run out to buy bigger competitive swimsuits. In an article on USA Swimming's website, she described the most common types of snacking personalities and how parents should feed them. We've highlighted a few of her categories below: 

  • Grazer – Many children and teens never really eat full meals and will instead nibble on various things throughout the day. While such a habit will eventually need to be broken, make sure that everything that your child consumes is wholesome. 
  • Never full - If your child is snacking less than an hour after having a full meal, he may be eating the wrong foods. Make sure that all of his meals and snacks are rich in nutrients, with a focus on dairy and fruit.
  • Only eats junk food - Fatty and sugary treats can easily take over a swimmer's diet if you don't keep an eye out for it. You don't have to eliminate all junk food, but set limits and allow your child to only have one or two per day. 
  • Starving after practice – Does your swimmer regularly say he'll die of hunger the second he gets into the car? The problem may be that he's not eating enough earlier in the day. You should encourage your child to eat a hearty breakfast that provides a sufficient amount of protein.