Prehrana plivača (engleski)

Prehrana plivača (engleski)
Datum: 15.05.2013


BY CHRIS ROSENBLOOM, PHD,RD, CSSD nutrition contributor, Jill Castle, recently published “Fearless Feeding: How to Raise Healthy Eaters from High Chair to High School” (Jossey-Bass publisher, 2013), and I asked her to offer her top tips for feeding teen swimmers. Many of our readers are looking for sound nutrition advice with practical tips for families of active swimmers and this book is the go-to source. 

With parents and teen athletes on different schedules, how can the family eat meals together so that mom and dad aren’t short order cooks? 
“Start by checking everyone’s schedule for the week, and I’ll bet you can find at least two or three meals the whole family can enjoy together,” says Castle.

It might be breakfast or a weekend dinner, but look for opportunities to eat together. Plan the menu and announce the plan to your family. Tell them they are expected to be present, and if plans change, Castle suggests a pre-plated meal for the absent person that can be reheated in the microwave or oven.

How can parents limit fast food consumption? 
Castle suggests several strategies to curb unhealthy fast food choices. First, help your teen learn about healthier fast food items so he can make good choices most of the time. Visit the restaurant’s website or download an app to encourage choosing grilled items, yogurt parfaits, wraps or egg sandwiches. Second, have healthy, quick items within easy reach in your fridge. Yogurt, smoothies, low-fat milk, veggies and dip, and mixed fruit cups should be grab-and-go items for teens,” Castle says. In addition, keep trail mix, nuts, and dried fruit available for quick after practice snacks.

What can a parent do to get a teenage girl to get adequate calcium if she won’t drink milk? 
If your teen doesn’t drink milk, look for other good sources of calcium that she will include in her diet. Castle suggests calcium-fortified orange juice, yogurt smoothies, cheese, pudding or ice cream. Other calcium-rich foods include almonds, soy nuts, tofu and cooked greens. Also consider why your teen won’t drink milk. Is it lactose intolerance or another issue? Soy milk, rice milk and almond milk are all fortified with calcium, and your teen might like these alternatives better than dairy milk.

With heavy practice schedules and schoolwork, how can parents help swimmers get enough calories? 
“Structure a meal and snack plan,” Castle says. The plan should include 3 meals and 3 snacks each day. Experiment with free phone apps that help athletes track food intake, and set the phone to beep for reminders to eat throughout the day. Castle recommends powerhouse foods that contain both carbohydrate and protein for pre- and post-workout snacks to refuel tired muscles. “Peanut butter on whole grain bread, a banana and a cheese stick” contain high quality nutrients for fueling.


It’s not uncommon to see teams of young swimmers filing into the local Italian restaurant to load up on pasta the night before a big meet. Or hear of parents planning to cook up a big meal with pasta, rice or potatoes at home. The common conception is that loading up on a high carbohydrate meal will prepare the muscles with a ready source of glycogen (stored carbohydrate in the muscle) the following day, usually a race day. As a result, the swimmer will avoid early muscle fatigue, low energy, and the big bonus: swim fast. 

So the thinking goes.

The problem with the idea of carbohydrate loading in young athletes is that it is an approach based on what we know about the adult metabolism of carbohydrate. The reality is there is little scientific evidence supporting the benefit of this practice in children.

Kids are not like adults when it comes to breaking down, utilizing, and storing carbohydrate. Young swimmers (and all child athletes) use fat more readily as an energy source, which is not the case for adults. Young swimmers have a limited ability to store large amounts of carbohydrate in their muscles. And females have less overall muscle mass compared to males, and therefore, less capacity for glycogen storage.

Also, swimming on race day generally occurs in short, fast bursts. This limits the need for accessing glycogen and breaking it down, a need associated with prolonged exercise. And the truth is, we don’t have a lot of evidence that high carbohydrate intake during prolonged training is beneficial in young athletes, either.

While this may go against what you have long believed about carbohydrate loading and general carbohydrate consumption for swimmers, rest assured, researchers still advise a daily high carbohydrate diet for young athletes.

They just don’t support the idea that there is a benefit to carbohydrate loading for swimmers who are still growing. We do know that as children age, their ability to metabolize (process) carbohydrate becomes more adult-like.

The healthiest and best approach to getting the carbohydrate needed for optimal swimming performance is to follow a training diet that is loaded with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy products. Just as important is getting the timing of eating regulated. Eat every 3 to 4 hours, so there is a steady supply of carbohydrate and nutrients to the muscles and brain. Nailing these two nutrition strategies will keep the young swimmer ready for competition without a need to “load” with carbohydrate-rich foods the night before a meet, or go above and beyond your normal healthy meal.




What do you pack to eat on race day? What’s your nutrition prescription? 

Everybody has a different approach when it comes to eating on race day. Having a strategy and an execution plan can remove doubt and worry about hunger, energy levels, digestive problems, and keep you focused on the race at hand.

Here are a few guidelines for smart eating and packing up the cooler:

  • Don’t DQ your day. Breakfast at home or on the road is the metabolism boost every swimmer needs. Instant oatmeal made with skim or low fat milk, toast with nut butter, dry cereal, yogurt and fruit are all light options that rev up the body. If you are competing in the morning, be sure to keep it light. Opt for a heavier breakfast if competition is in the afternoon.
  • Pack variety. A few options of fruit, vegetables, grain and high quality protein sources should cover the variable appetite and tummy tolerance you may experience on race day. It’s better to have more food options than a large quantity of only two or three foods. Don’t make the mistake of relying on a single food or energy bars to get you through the day. While they can do the job of fueling your body, they may not rate in appetite satisfaction. Having a variety of food sources increases the odds of proper fueling and healthy eating.
  • Pack enough. You don’t want to run out of food, and you may want to share with other swimmers (well-fueled swimmers help the whole team, right?).
  • Pay attention to temperature. If you are packing perishables, be sure to add an ice pack. It’s no fun to get tummy cramps before a race because something has spoiled.
  • Pack in the protein. Protein will be an ally in keeping your blood sugar stable, thus keeping hunger, energy and mood in check. Nibble on cheese sticks or slices, nuts, peanut or nut butters, deli meat slices, yogurt or yogurt drinks, boxes of low fat milk, hummus, hard-boiled eggs or edamame.
  • Don’t forget the Carbohydrate. Your muscles rely on carbs for fuel. Pack easily digestible sources such as 100% juice, fruit leather, applesauce, fresh or dried fruit, or veggie sticks. Don’t forget the more complex carbohydrate foods too, such as crackers, unsweetened dry cereal, pita or other breads, pretzels and graham crackers. Stay away from refined sugars such as soda, candy and desserts on race day.
  • Nosh or Nibble? Save “meals” or large quantities of food for big breaks between events. Nibble small amounts of food before and after events that are closely scheduled. At a minimum, you should be nibbling to stay energized and keep your muscles fueled on race day.
  • Think your drink. Water, 100% fruit juice and sports drinks are appropriate at a swim meet. Plain and flavored milk are great recovery drink choices after the meet; they provide protein for muscle repair and carbohydrate to re-fuel muscles.
  • Know your eating style on race day. If it is counter-productive to racing, follow these guidelines as a strategy for optimal eating. Don’t tempt yourself by packing foods or making concession purchases that you (really) don’t want to be eating.
  • Fiber Facts. Fiber can be a problem on race day, or not. Fiber is a food component to which each swimmer has an individual tolerance. Don’t experiment with high fiber foods on race day; sort this out during training season and avoid tummy trouble when it matters most. 


·        Roll out of bed and eat breakfast? Yeah, right. Many swimmers cringe at the idea of eating breakfast, especially if they’re heading to the pool for an early morning practice or meet. But breakfast is a critical component of the training and competition diet.

Why breakfast is important 
In a typical day, the swimmer eats several times, in intervals of about 3 to 5 hours. Overnight, the interval is longer because sleep cycles tend to be 6 hours or more (hopefully). The result is a long period of time without nutrition, and this semi-starvation state, if left uncorrected, can have a negative impact on physical and academic performance, as well as behavior.

All-important nutrients 
Breakfast offers a host of nutrients the growing swimmer needs, not only for growth and development, but also for muscle repair (protein) and replenishing energy in muscles (carbohydrate). Other nutrients, like iron and calcium, help the swimmer avoid fatigue and build bones, respectively. When swimmers skip out on breakfast, their intakes of these nutrients are lower, and they may not get enough from meals and snacks later in the day.

Skipping may mean weight gain rather than weight loss 
There is a belief that skipping breakfast will result in weight loss or weight control, especially among teens. But that’s not what the research tells us. Skipping breakfast can result in too much hunger and overeating later in the day. Leaving out breakfast is also associated with poor food choices—high calorie, low nutrient foods that do little to satisfy hunger. Research has found that breakfast skippers are more likely to be overweight or obese compared to breakfast eaters.

Anything is better than nothing 
Eating something in the morning is better than eating nothing at all. However, over time, the finer details do matter. Swimmers who choose donuts, sugary cereals and fatty foods may develop a strong taste preference for these foods and a nutrition habit that may be difficult to change.

Know yourself! 
If solid food causes cramps or other discomfort before swimming, focus on a liquid breakfast: smoothies, an instant breakfast drink, milk or non-dairy substitute, kefir, a packaged yogurt drink, or 100% fruit juice. Liquid breakfasts will be digested faster than a solid breakfast.

If solids are tolerated, but time is short, focus on small meals that are quick to grab: hard-boiled eggs, trail mix, dry cereal, yogurt, a piece of fruit, a handful of nuts and raisins, or a muffin.

If you have the time, and jumping in the pool happens later in the day, eat a well-balanced breakfast: cereal, milk and fruit; eggs, toast and 100% fruit juice; bagel, peanut butter and milk; or yogurt, granola, nuts and berries.

Have you thought about the word breakfast? Break. Fast. Break the fast.



I get questions from parents, coaches and swimmers – from near and far (New Zealand and Phuket, Thailand). Queried topics range from gaining weight and losing weight, to advice about supplements and protein. 

As we close out 2012, and ready ourselves to ring in the New Year, I thought I’d highlight some of the questions I’ve received over the year, and share my answers: 

Will adding more protein to our young son’s diet help with weight gain or muscle development? 
There is a belief circulating that adding extra protein is the way to go when children need to put on weight or add muscle. To gain weight, children need extra calories, and that can be managed with what your swimmer eats, and the timing of meals and snacks. Increasing the fat content of the diet is the easiest way to add more calories. Make sure to add in fats that benefit health, such as plant oils (olive and canola), nuts and nut butters, seeds, olives and fatty fish. Regular meals (three a day) and snacks (two to three a day, depending on age and activity) are the best way to guarantee enough calories are being consumed. A high calorie, nutritious bedtime snack is effective in providing an extra calorie source also.

Adding or building muscle mass relies on the presence of testosterone, a hormone that increases during puberty. Before puberty, adding extra protein translates to an extra calorie source, rather than a building block for muscle development. Pushing protein in younger swimmers may tax the kidneys, promote dehydration and contribute to kidney problems or damage. 

What’s your take on eating "enhanced candies," otherwise known as sports beans? 

Sports beans (from Jelly Belly or other manufacturers) are composed of carbohydrates and electrolytes, manufactured into a jelly bean. The intention of these is to provide a source of energy and electrolytes during physical activity. The potential drawback for young swimmers is their lack of fluid, which requires swimmers to drink fluids, preferably water, alongside. Using jelly beans also reinforces “candy eating,” which doesn’t really train athletes how to fuel (eat) for performance. 

Another product category is the “extreme” sports beans. These contain carbohydrate, electrolytes and caffeine, marketed as providing an extra boost of energy during spots performance. Caffeine isn’t recommended for children or teens, so young swimmers should steer clear of these.

Last, research on sports beans was done with adults, not children, so effects may be different in the younger swimmer. 

Would you please provide some suggested foods that my high school swimmer (and the team) can eat to maintain his energy and provide fuel for his heats? 

Carbohydrate is the most important nutrient to have on hand during a meet. Great sources include: whole grain crackers and dry cereals; salted pretzels; fresh fruit such as banana, oranges, apples; or dried fruit (raisins, cherries, apricots, mango). Tossing in a side of protein (rolled up deli meat, hard-boiled eggs, nuts or nut butters) or foods that house both carbohydrate and protein such as cheese, yogurt sticks, bricks of plain or flavored milk, helps keep hunger at bay and muscles fueled for performance and repair.



Setting up swimmers for success also means making sure they have eaten well the day before the meet. I like to remind swimmers, “What you ate yesterday, shows up in the pool today!” 

My child is severely allergic to several common foods. I struggle to find allergen-free foods that are good for eating before and during a swim meet. Do you have suggestions?

Young swimmers with food allergies can be successfully fueled for any race. First, give consideration to specific allergens, then make quality, energizing food choices. If your swimmer must avoid certain food categories, such as milk, make sure to fill in the gaps with nutritious alternatives, such as the following: 

Carbohydrate sources: traditional wheat-based crackers, bread, cereals; Rice-based crackers and cakes and cereals; products made with alternative flours such as buckwheat, almond, flax meal and cornmeal; oats; instant oatmeal packs; higher calorie veggies like corn, potato, sweet potato; higher calorie fruits such as banana, dried fruits (apricots, raisins, cherries, etc.); canned fruits in heavy syrup, 100% juices. 

Protein sources: plain or flavored dairy milk*; nondairy milk sources* (soymilk and products made with soy; almond milk; nut milks; coconut-based yogurts); deli meats; cheeses*; Sunbutter (nut-free); edamame. *Also contains carbohydrate source. 

Fats: add flax or olive oil to pastas, rice, potatoes; nut butters to smoothies and baked goods; use avocado as a sandwich spread; add nuts to yogurt, cereal and trail mix.