By Chris Rosenbloom//Contributor | Monday, November 12, 2018
High school-aged swimmers may not always have the chance to seek nutrition information from sports dietitians, so I asked two pros to share their top tips to help young athletes perform at their best while juggling school and an active social life.
Here are their tips:
From Lisa Money, Registered Dietitian and Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics with Apex Athletic Performance in Columbia, South Carolina:
There are three main hurdles to good nutrition for high school athletes:
30% skip breakfast.
- Solutions for the breakfast skippers? Drink a liquid breakfast, a smoothie or commercial meal replacement to get used to having something in your stomach in the morning. After that becomes routine, graduate to a solid meal; an egg or peanut butter sandwich or a cup of oatmeal. For those who say, “I’m not hungry,” challenge yourself to give breakfast a try for one week and see if your body doesn’t get used to the new routine and start to give you signals in the morning that you are hungry.”
They don’t take in enough fuel before practice.
- Solutions? Review your schedule and plan meals and snacks around workouts. For those who hit the pool before school, take your breakfast in the car and eat on the way to practice. At mid-morning, choose foods from two food groups (cheese and crackers, apples and nuts, or a commercial meal replacement and snack crackers). At lunch, review the school offerings the day before to see if there is something that you like; if nothing appeals to you, pack your lunch. After school before practice, eat or drink something that is easily digested, a sports drink and pretzels or fruit juice and crackers, to provide energy without weighing you down in the pool.
They don’t adopt a drinking plan or hydration protocol.
- Solutions? Drink half your body weight in pounds in ounces every day as a minimum to stay hydrated. For example, a 160-pound athlete should aim for at least 80-ounces or 10 cups of fluids each day.
From Kelsey Hampton, Registered Dietitian and Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics with Nutriworks, Inc. in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area, offers these tips.
- It’s OK to compromise on your food choices; if the only way you’ll eat veggies is with Ranch dressing, then go for it. I encourage small improvements.
- Athletes with early morning practice who skip breakfast complain of having little energy and feeling tired throughout the day. I suggest “go to” foods like hardboiled eggs, PBJ, fruit, and energy bar that contains some protein, or trail mix. Other good options are yogurt parfaits and whole grain bagels with cream cheese and lean ham or Canadian bacon with a side of fruit.
- Many young athletes who under fuel during the day are starving when they get home after practice, so they load up on snack foods, like chips or candy. I encourage a protein-rich snack that is more satisfying like jerky, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or a dairy-based smoothie. And, eat fresh fruit instead of a squeezable pureed fruit pouch down. The fiber in real fruit is more filling than pureed fruit.
To find a sports dietitian in your area, check out the link https://www.scandpg.org/ and use the “Find a SCAN Registered Dietitian” search box.