3 Simple Lunch Recipes for Before Afternoon Practice

Photo Courtesy: Denise Krebs

By Tasija Karosas, Swimming World College Intern

Lunch is one of the more difficult meals because you eat it right before practice and it can be tough to figure out how much to eat. Some of the time you end up eating too much and this can make you feel heavy in the water. At other times, when you do not eat enough, you have to rush to the locker room and scavenge your swim bag for food.

When it comes to lunch, light and simple should be the focus! Anything too heavy and complex will take longer to digest and sit in your stomach. Let’s take a look at some quick and easy lunch recipes that will keep your stomach happy and muscles fueled.

1. Basic PB&J


Photo Courtesy: Flikr

A common misconception is that peanut butter is too fattening. The truth is: peanut butter is fattening but it is also extremely satisfying. While peanut butter may be higher in calories, it will keep you fueled longer. This is important for swimmers (and athletes especially) because you need to stay full and fueled in order for your muscles to respond to training the way you want them to.

  • 2 slices wheat bread
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter (3 if male)
  • 1-2 tbsp. jelly

Toast the bread, spread the PB&J, and you have a quick, nutritious lunch that will keep you fueled throughout practice.

2. Lentil Soup

When athletes hear the word soup they typically think a side dish for a meal. A hearty lentil soup, however, can make a great main meal. Lentils are small but don’t let their size deceive you. One cup of lentils is equivalent to 18 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbohydrates. This is approximately what you should eat before practice. The recipe for lentil soup is easy to make and you can save the rest in the refrigerator and have as lunch during the rest of the week.

  • 2 cups washed lentils
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 whole chopped onion
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional for spice)
  • 2 tbsp. sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

In a slow cooker, add all the ingredients together and cook on medium for 4-5 hours. In a regular pot, add all the ingredients and cook on medium until the carrots and celery have softened. Serve with a side of wheat toast.

3. Simple Rice Salad


Photo Courtesy: Flikr

Rice is a simple and healthy grain. Most people add a curry or complex flavoring when they eat rice, as it doesn’t have much flavor. A simple rice salad can be delicious and is a fantastic way to fuel your muscle while keeping your stomach full but not too full!

  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 cups spinach/kale mix
  • ½ cup mushroom slices
  • 1 cup of red cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese sliced into small pieces
  • ¼ champagne vinaigrette (choice of own dressing)

In a skillet cook spinach, mushrooms and onion together with a splash of olive oil. Once fully cooked, turn stove off and let the vegetables cool. Once the veggies have cooled add them to a cup of cooked rice. Add the tomatoes, cheese, and dressing to the mixture. Mix until the dressing is evenly distributed among the ingredients. Serve as is!

Trying to figure out what your body needs before practice is difficult. Complex foods can make you feel heavy in the water, while not eating enough can make you feel weak. Know your body and find the perfect balance so you are fueled and prepared for an afternoon workout.

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Cindy Cetz Moreno
8 years ago

Sandra (:

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8 years ago

Ginny Limer…not the article, but the pic. ?

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Isa Quimba

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