Eating Before Swimming

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At Little Flippers Swim School, we always strive to provide our customers with the cleanest and safest facility possible. If an unexpected accident occurs or a child gets sick while swimming, we must close our facility in order to properly sanitize our water. In order to prevent unnecessary closures we enforce a strict double layer policy for children age 4 and under. We also want to encourage healthy eating habits prior to swim lessons so that your child is energized, but not at the risk of an upset stomach. The focus of this blog is healthy snacking before swim lessons. Keep reading to learn more.


You probably grew up hearing the phrase  “You should wait 30 minutes after eating to swim”. Some may say this is an old wives tail, but at Little Flippers, we highly encourage allowing your child time to digest before their lesson. As with any form of exercise after eating, there could be some discomfort or even vomiting, caused by unexpected reflux.


One of the four pillars of swimming we teach weekly is breath control. In order to practice this pillar, our students will be submerging many times during their swim lesson. If a student accidentally takes in some water during a submersion drill, that can activate their gag reflex. If that student has recently eaten, they are at a higher risk of vomiting.


We suggest our swimmers eat a full meal 2-3 hours prior to their swim lesson. This meal should include plenty of carbs and a small amount of protein. It’s best to keep this meal low in fat because fat takes longer to digest, which can cause an upset stomach. Foods high in fiber may also cause some upset stomachs, so it’s best to avoid these foods until after your lesson.


In order to have the energy needed to pay attention and swim their best, a small, healthy snack approximately an hour prior to your lesson is encouraged.  You’ll want to be sure this snack includes easy-to-digest, carbohydrate rich foods such as fruit, vegetables or crackers. Below are more specific suggestions for what snacks are beneficial to eat and which you should avoid before your swim lessons.


Foods to eat before swim:

  • Fruit- Fruits digest easily, so it shouldn’t cause any upset stomach and should keep your child from getting hungry during their swim lesson.
  • Vegetables- Raw veggies are easy to eat and  rich in vitamins and minerals that help you feel healthy and energized.
  • Crackers (Goldfish, Triscuits or Ritz crackers with peanut butter)- Crackers are a carbohydrate packed snack that will help give your child energy for activity. The addition of peanut butter is a great way to mix in a little protein as well.
  • Light String Cheese- It is low in calories and high in protein with helps keep energy levels high during activities such as swimming.


Foods to avoid:

  • Sugary snacks- While a quick candy bar or cookie may be the easiest available option on the way to your child’s lesson, sugary treats create a sugar rush and a consequential energy crash.
  • Heavy dairy snacks- Milkshakes, cottage cheese, macaroni and cheese, and other heavy dairy foods. When ingested too close to lesson time, the dairy will sit heavy in your child’s stomach and be hard to digest. Your child might feel extremely full and could become nauseous.
  • Fast food- The most obvious of choices to avoid, yet often the easiest. Fried and highly processed, fast food options are unhealthy, but often seen coming through our doors because of how easy a drive thru may seem in the car on the way to a swim lesson. Fight the urge for a “quick stop” and pack healthy snacks the night before instead.
Save this doc as a friendly reminder!


At Little Flippers, our goal is for all students to learn lifelong safety, fitness and fun both in and out of the pool. We hope this information in this blog post has been informative!