For many young swimmers, the competitive season is coming to a close. While they'll still have a few practices, the almost-daily workouts won't be happening again until August or September. Because your athlete won't be practicing as often, his or her diet will need to change.
In an article on USA Swimming's website, former Georgia State University nutrition professor offered the following tips for parents developing an off-season meal plan:
- Maintain a healthy family diet – If your family adopted more health-conscious habits in support of your young swimmer, there's no reason why you should abandon them in the off-season. Try to provide healthy, balanced meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner and eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Put away snacks - If your athlete is not participating in physically demanding daily workouts, he or she probably doesn't need high-calorie recovery snacks like energy bars and trail mix. During off season, you'll want to stick with fruits, vegetables, cheese and yogurt for snacks.
- Reduce portions – The off-season is a great time to teach your child the difference between a portion (how much you actually eat) and a serving size (the recommended amount that should be eaten). Because your child is still engaging in some physical activity, he or she may need a bit more than the recommended serving size. To learn the serving sizes of many commonly eaten foods, you can look at a serving size chart from the National Institutes of Health.
Being an active swim parent involves more than just concerning yourself with traveling to meets or making sure you swimmer has the latest competitive swimwear. Health and well-being in and out of the pool is what's most important.