I talked about snacks in the general nutrition category, but there are two snack TIMES that are very important. The first one is snacking during workout. During? Did I say during? Yes, try to get some kind of actual calories during workout along with your water. Some say Gatorade is good for this, but I recommend trying something like Goo, or GU, or Powergunk, or something with more substance to it. If you have time, mixing up a mini-smoothie (no more than 4 ounces) is perfect. Put it in a cup or small water bottle for during your workout. Try it, You’ll find that it’s easier to swim fast during the whole workout this way.
Even more important is eating within 20 minutes after practice. Don’t eat something too sugary here. The latest research says this snack should contain some proteins and carbs. The cheapest, easiest food for this that I’ve found is FIG Newtons. Not strawberry or apple — FIG. They’re perfect, and pretty cheap. A pb&j sandwich can do the trick, too. Or, if you can afford it, any one of the balance bars or Powerbars are good here, too. And don’t forget the water.
Tired muscles need a mix of nutrients to recover and rebuild. That’s why you need protein and carbs — not just sugar and carbs — after workout. And research has shown that the sooner you can get the right fuel to your muscles, the quicker and more completely they rebuild. That 20-minute snacking window slams shut after a while, and the fuel you take in after it closes may not do you as much good.