What to Pack in Your Child's Lunch for Swim Success

One of the most important parts of your child's success as a swimmer is their nutrition and what they are eating on a daily basis. While eating healthy meals as a family is ideal,

the reality is that most of us are at work or school for the majority of the day and we are often eating away from home. To help your child avoid making bad choices at the school cafeteria or vending machine, here are some ideas of what to pack in your child's lunch for swim success.

 

Home Grown

Before you even send your child off to school with a bag full of food, make sure that they know why they're eating what they are eating. Spend some time educating the whole family on how proteins help with muscle recovery, why staying hydrated is important, and the point of ingesting nutrients like vitamin D. If your young swimmer knows why they're eating something, the good stuff that it's doing to their body, and how it affects their swim performance, they will be more likely to eat and enjoy their food.


Meal Ideas

Here are some easily packable lunch ideas that can even be made ahead the night before to save time in the morning:

Meal Idea #1

  • Large turkey sandwich on 2 slices of Whole-wheat bread with a slice of low-fat cheese and lettuce & tomato
  • Fresh vegetables (carrots and celery strips are easy choices)
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Fresh fruit or fruit juice

Meal Idea #2

  • Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce
  • Green Salad with vegetables and low calorie dressing
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Fresh Fruit
  • 2% or skim Milk

Meal Idea #3

  • Brown rice bowl with chicken strips and veggies
  • Fruit salad
  • Chocolate milk

On the Go!

Maybe your child is on a field trip or eating out at a fast food restaurant for lunch. This doesn't have to sabotage their lunchtime nutrition - just encourage them to make healthy choices. Advise them to opt for items that are grilled instead of fried, and choose a side salad instead of french fries. Also, remind them that sauces can have lots of fat and calories that might upset their stomach, so go easy on the condiments! Here are some ideas:

Meal Idea #1:

  • Thick crust cheese and vegetable pizza
  • Side salad
  • Low fat chocolate milk

Meal Idea #2

  • Hamburger (cheese is okay but will add more calories)
  • Side salad
  • Low fat chocolate milkshake

Healthy Habits

Like we mentioned before, your child won't be under your supervision at every meal so encourage them to make healthy choices while they're at school and any after school activities. Staying hydrated with water is one healthy habit to adopt, as well as smart snacking. And remember that there's no need to load up on supplements if your child is getting the right amount of healthy food. Overindulging will only make your young swimmer feel bloated and nauseous, so encourage them to eat the right amount so that they don't feel uncomfortable before or after practice sessions. 

Encouraging healthy eating at lunch, as well as throughout the rest of the day, not only shows your child that you care, but instills in them the value of nutrition as a cornerstone for their swim success. And this is one of the best gifts you can give your child!


Sources:

http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com

http://www.usaswimming.org

http://jillcastle.com/2013/08/trouble-my-teens-school-lunch/

January 13, 2016 by Michael Shead
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