Swimming is one of the best forms of all-round exercise; helping you reach your desired body tone and build muscle. Regular swimmers appreciate that eating a full meal before exercise can cause nausea or severe discomfort, but they also know that swimming for any length of time on an empty stomach can be difficult. Therefore, it’s important to choose energy-giving, light snacks before any swim. If you’re wondering about the best food to eat before swimming, check out the tips in this short foodpanda guide.
What’s the best food to eat before swimming?
Everyone’s body clock is different. However, the GI (glycaemic index) values of foods can help you make the right choices. The GI measures the carbohydrates in foods and the time taken to break them down into glucose. Foods with a high GI value break down quickly, releasing the essential glucose needed to fuel a swim. If you’re in training, you should be planning your meals to centre on low-GI-value meals, as they will help maintain consistent energy levels.
What should I eat before a swim?
The main reason not to eat larger meals just before any swim is because of the horizontal position of swimming – a full belly can lead to gastric reflux. Additionally, heavier meals tend to make you sluggish, cutting your endurance and ability to swim faster. Ideally, wait at least two hours after meals before heading into the pool or ocean. Snack on lighter foods up until 30 minutes before going for a swim. Ultimately, your training and exercise regime dictates the best foods to eat prior to swimming. For example, if you swim before work each morning, an energy-boosting banana or low-fibre cereal bar may be the right pre-swim snack.
Top snacks to fuel swims
In addition to bananas and cereal bars, top snacks to munch on just before swimming include yoghurt, dates, raisins, jellied sweets and sports drinks.
Best low GI meals for regular swimmers
Some of the best breakfasts to fuel regular early morning swims are porridge, muesli, smoothies and unsalted nuts. Add low GI foods such as brown rice, pasta, wholegrain bread, sweet potatoes, peas and beans to your diet to maintain high energy and achieve and sustain peak performance. These low GI foods should be combined with proteins and veggies to ensure a balanced diet. Fatty foods, alcohol and spicy meals should all be avoided by serious and competitive swimmers, as they can reduce performance.
What about foods to eat after swimming?
It’s just as important to eat well after swimming, and opting for lean protein is one way to ensure recovery. Eggs, chicken and oily fish are perfect after-swim foods, particularly when eaten with baked potatoes, sweet potatoes or rice.