By Chris Rosenbloom, PhD, RDN | Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Snacking is a way of life for many swimmers, and for good reason. Snacking provides a steady stream of energy (calories) for active athletes that sparks physical and mental performance. But, snacks can also do double-duty… that is provide not only needed energy, but also important nutrients that promote growth, development, and repair of all body systems. Here are some of my favorite double-duty snacks.
Low-fat chocolate milk
Everyone know that milk is a good recovery beverage, providing high quality whey and casein proteins to promote muscle protein growth and repair after exercise. But, did you also know it is a good fluid replacement? You might not think about milk as a sports drink, but research shows that milk is as effective as, and possibly even more effective than, commercially available sports drinks at promoting recovery from both strength and endurance exercise. (insert link https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-5-15).
A handful of walnuts, about a quarter cup, is a satisfying snack. In addition to providing protein, walnuts do double duty by also giving you an essential fat, called alpha-linolenic acid or ALA. Essential means that your body can’t make the nutrient so it must be provided from the foods or beverages you eat or drink. Walnuts provide more ALA than any other nut. And, research shows that walnuts promote a healthy gut microbiome, the friendly bacteria that live in your gut.
Fresh fruit contains carbohydrate in the form of naturally-occurring sugar for quick energy, making orange sections a good pool-side snack. Oranges are also loaded with vitamin C a nutrient associated with immune protection. And, vitamin C is also the precursor for the protein collagen, important in the structure of bones, skin, and blood vessels. After surgery, vitamin C is crucial to help with wound healing.
Try kefir for a tart and tangy fermented drink; a bit like yogurt, but drinkable. Made from milk, kefir is high in protein with about 10 grams in 8-ounces, but it does double-duty by being a great probiotic food. Look for kefir with a “live and active cultures” seal to ensure a viable dose of probiotics. Try the fruit-flavors, like blueberry or strawberry, for tasty snack.
Chris Rosenbloom, PhD, RDN, is a nutrition professor emerita at Georgia State University. She welcomes questions from swimmers, parents, and coaches at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her website at https://chrisrosenbloom.com/