3 Easy Snacks to Bring to a Swim Meet

Photo Courtesy: flickr.com

By Tasija Karosas, Swimming World College Intern

We all know that feeling when you get to the last 50 of a race and your muscles are screaming at you to stop. You know you have put in all the training, so why can’t you finish the race? Could it be race strategy, or could be the way you are fueling your body? After I started to study nutrition, it became evident that paying attention to what you eat can have a profound effect on your training and performance.

How many times have you finished a race or practice and wished that you had eaten more (or less) food right before? Athletes need to eat, not only to satisfy their hunger, but to refuel for their next training session or competition. Paying attention to the food you put in your body can drastically change your training and racing.

Here are three easy snacks that I bring to swim meets to help fuel and recover on race day…

1. No bake energy balls


Photo Courtesy: Isha Zubeidi, flickr

1 cup oats
2 tbs honey
2 tbs chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup coconut shavings (optional)
2 tsp flaxseed (optional)
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Mold the mixed ingredients into small individual balls and place on a tray. Store them in the fridge.
This recipe contains simple sugars, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Oats are carbohydrates and will be broken down and stored as quick energy for your race. Peanut butter is both a fat and a protein and is broken down and stored as long lasting energy. Honey and chocolate chips are simple sugars that provide a quick energy boost, which makes the energy balls a great snack to eat 45 minutes to one hour before you race. They can also be a great snack in between sessions!

2. Fruit


Photo Courtesy: Mike Licht, flickr


Fruits are stocked with many different types of nutrients, but the one thing that they all have in common is that they are all simple sugars. This means they do not need much time to break down in your body. As you eat fruit, it is almost instant energy! I see so many people at swim meets eating bagels and power bars and not a lot of fruit. Power bars are great one to two hours before you race, but in order to get that quick energy that most swimmers (especially sprinters) need, fruit is the easiest way to go.

3. Recovery Smoothies


Photo Courtesy: Sigurdas via Wikimedia Commons

After a long day of racing, the most important thing for your body is to replenish your muscles within 30 minutes of your last race. You can do that with a long warm down and the right nutrition. Chocolate milk is one of the best ways to refuel muscles. If you are lactose intolerant or just don’t like the taste of chocolate milk, smoothies may be the way to go. Smoothies are easy to make at home and bring with you to meets– just freeze them and use them as ice packs in your cooler.

This is my favorite recovery smoothie recipe:

-1 & 1/2 frozen banana
-1 tsp. ground flaxseed (fiber)
-greek yogurt or protein powder
-vanilla extract or honey
-water, coconut water or orange juice

Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until the smoothie has a thick consistency. The carbohydrates from the fruit and kale work together with the proteins from the Greek yogurt to replenish broken down muscles.

It is important to think about what you eat and how you feel after a race in order to be the best athlete you can be and to fuel yourself for optimum performance! You deserve to be at your best.


  1. Connie Erwin Hines

    Melanie Summers Huffhines this sounds like a recipe you would like. The boys may like how they recommend chocolate milk to rebuild muscles!

  2. Sharon Kennard

    Thanks! We have an on going battle with Emma at meets – she wants to just eat lollies all day, I have to try and get the healthy stuff in her too!

    • Naomi Mason Wearne

      Lol who wouldn’t want to eat lollies all day!! Energy right???

    • Sharon Kennard

      Oh swimmers are the worst with lollies – they take them with them to marshalling as a quick energy fix. You would think they would be healthy eaters… Nope!

  3. Barbara Lee

    Another great snack food for quick and lasting energy without the “dreaded low blood sugar crash” is cheese. Whereas I love “sharp” cheese, if I’m participating in a dog show I will usually grab “string cheese” minutes before entering the ring. (Energy for me… ? treat for my dog …? win win) ?

  4. Angela Lo Wan Ling

    Will definitely try to make the peanut butter oat ball.

  5. Angela Lo Wan Ling

    Next swim meet can bring a blender and blend smoothies for swimmers! Banana, peanut butter, almond and milk!!!!

  6. Jessica Aldrich

    Lillian Aldrich plz post this to Facebook page

  7. Kristin Timm

    Hey it’s the energy bites! What do ya know?!

    • Lynn Adkins

      Those were good. I will buy some from you.

  8. Sandra O

    Paola O’Brien bring the smoothie maker next gala

  9. Lily Gilroy

    Breana Gilroy Brooke Gilroy Rebekah McCoy

  10. Megan Dobrott

    Awesome article Tasija Karosas! Think I might make some and send them to my swimmer.