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How to Fuel Up Before Swim Lessons

Posted in Child Development, Parenting Ideas

If you had a dollar for every time someone told you to ‘wait an hour after eating before swimming’ you’d be able to buy that jet boat you’ve always wanted. Of course, it’s not ideal to eat something and jump right in the pool for a few hours, but let’s look at the ‘what’ rather than the ‘when’ of fueling up before swimming. When it comes to your kids' tummies in a pool of water, you want to be sure you're fueling them up for swim lessons the right way, and teaching healthy habits to boot. Don't worry; we've got the lowdown on what you can give your kids to eat before swimming, and what to fuel up on after swim lessons.


  • Don’t eat a big meal just before you get in the car for swim lessons. The old wives' tale that eating before swimming causes cramps may not be based on fact, but eating too much before engaging in any form of moderate exercise is uncomfortable to say the least.

  • Don’t feed your children snacks loaded with complex carbohydrates. These starches are great for long-term energy, but they don't provide much energy in the short term and tend to sit heavily in the stomach.

  • Don’t give them lots of added sugars. Sugary snacks can cause an upset stomach, whether or not your little ones are swimming, and aren't healthy snacks in general.

  • Don’t go heavy on the milk. Dairy products are among the hardest types of foods to digest. That means that cereal is an absolute no-no: the triple whammy of complex carbs, added sugar, and lots of milk is a recipe for an uncomfortable time in the pool and the possibility of getting sick. Excess sugar will also slow down your little ones and could lead to an unpleasant crash (and attitude) after swimming.

  • Don’t stop at the local fast-food restaurant on your way to swim lessons. Fast food generally doesn’t offer healthy foods for kids, and will slow them down rather than fuel them up.


  • Do feed kids a light and healthy snack to make sure they have plenty of energy before their lesson. Some ideas are a few raisins and pretzels, or toast and a small amount of peanut butter.

  • Do stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables. The simple carbs, or natural sugars, found in fresh produce provide energy for those little muscles without upsetting their tummies.

  • Do throw in a handful of almonds or sunflower seeds. Nuts and seeds offer the long-term energy benefits of complex carbs, without overfilling tiny bellies.

  • Do make sure they drink plenty of water, and throw a bottle of water in their backpack for after their lesson. Hydration is critical for those little muscles to just keep swimming; and drinking lots of water is a healthy habit that should always be encouraged.

Pre-Swim Snack Recipes

If half of an apple and a carrot stick isn't your tot's idea of a yummy pre-swim snack, try a few of these recipes to encourage them to eat their fruits and veggies.

Giving your children healthy food before swimming will ensure that they have the energy to stay eager and active throughout their lesson, and teaches healthy habits that they can use for the rest of their lives. For more information on lessons at Hubbard Family Swim School, we would love to have you contact us!