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Dietary requirements of teenagers are different from those of adults. As they are in a growth spurt, their bodies need more calories than adults. A nutritious meal complete with carbs, fats and proteins is ideal for teens. Teenagers usually lead a very active lifestyle, juggling between classes and sports practices. However, teens who play sport at a competitive level may need even more nutrients. In this article we have listed some tips, that will help you in chalking out a perfect meal plan for your child.

Tips on Diet for Teenage Swimmers

For proper physical and mental development of teenagers, they need to eat a high calorie diet. However, these calories should come from healthy sources and not some junk food. As the metabolism of body is very high during this time, teens are less likely to store these calories in fat. Active sports such as swimming further increase the calorie requirement of the body. Generally, diet for teenage girls should consist of 2200 calories, whereas diet for teenage guys should consist of 2500 - 3000 calories. However, teens who swim at a competitive level may have to consume as many as 4500 - 5000 calories, owing to their intense workout.

Swimming at a competitive level often involves practicing in two sessions, each lasting for about 2-3 hours. Swimmers usually practice during morning and afternoons. The nature of this practice session primarily depends upon the type of competition the swimmer participates in. Swimming competitions may last from as little as 15 seconds to as long as a few hours. Less duration races require high intensity workouts which build stamina, while long distances races demand higher levels of endurance. A diet of a teenage swimmer must support whatever form he practices.

Generally, a very high carbohydrate diet with adequate proteins and fats is recommended for teenage swimmers. Carbohydrates suffice the high energy requirements of the body, whereas proteins build and repair muscles. However, one must consume complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, which slowly and continuously supply energy. Proteins can come from lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy etc. Nuts, seeds can provide the essential fatty acids. One should also eat large amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables to suffice their need of vitamins and minerals.

Breakfast
  • Whole grain wheat bread/toast
  • 1 Bowl cereal
  • Baked beans
  • 1 Cup fresh fruit
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Glass Milk
  • Half a cup serving of cottage cheese
Lunch
  • Tuna/ turkey/ chicken sandwich
  • 1 Large bowl of vegetable salad
  • Stuffed pitas
  • Whole grain pasta
Dinner
  • Grilled fish
  • Lean Steak
  • Chicken soup
  • Brown rice
  • Stir fried veggies
Snacks
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Fresh fruit/ fruit salad
  • Fruit juice
  • Crackers
  • Granola bar
  • Low fat, dark chocolate
Teenage swimmers should have their meal 1 to 2 hours prior to their practice. The meal should be very high on carbs before an intensive workout session. However, make sure you only consume small servings of this food. Overeating may increase the risk of stomach cramps while in water. In between the practice session, sip on energy drinks or sports drinks as they have adequate number of calories and electrolytes to keep you energized throughout the practice session. Also make sure you take enough calories after a practice session to recover the loss of energy. However, make sure you do not eat sugary foods like ice creams, pastries, cakes that are high in calories but unhealthy.

If a teen eats a well-balanced diet, then there will be no need for additional protein shakes or similar supplements. Also make sure you drink lots of water and fluids to keep hydrated.