Two years ago I was struggling with eating porridge every morning. I’d never liked it, and while I can force myself to eat it, I always have and will hate it, I think the only time I’ve enjoyed it in the middle of the night of the 24 hour swim.
One solution was a homemade Solo bar (bad name). Which was very useful for a travelling breakfast or high carb snack, and has some real advantages, high carbs since it’s also made from oats and protein. With honey as a binder.
But I played around some more and hit on the Swimming Smoothie. I’ve actually been eating this for about two years, and completely forgot to mention it.
With this I can make a really quick and tasty breakfast or snack, high calories, but also with slow release complex carbs and protein.
- Apple juice
- Low fat natural yoghurt
- Small banana
- Berries including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries (frozen work fine).
- Half mug of porridge flakes (oats). That’s about the amount you’d use to make a bowl of porridge.
- Depending on mood, requirement and what’s in the fridge, I might add pineapple, or full cream if I have it. But I don’t want it to be all fructose.
Apple juice is chosen because it has lower G.I, (slower release and effect on insulin) and higher fibre BUT it has higher fructose than glucose and tastes sweet. Orange juice is less sweet but using fructose gives it all a sweet taste, but any fructose has a lower G.I. than sucrose, even though it tastes sweeter, and is good for avoiding insulin spikes.
A large banana tends to make it too stodgy. Berries make it very red, but seem to work very well (for some of us, Liam swears by blueberries) in training, higher in antioxidants, lower in fructose. The yoghurt adds protein, you could milk instead or frozen yoghurt for this also but it is natural yoghurt, not any old sugary flavoured yoghurt. I was swimming with Lisa and Karen McEvoy yesterday, and Karen makes it with milk. I haven’t tried nuts because I not sure they’ll work in this, being hard, but you could try pine nuts, for protein, since they are small.
A liquid is required so it’s easy to drink, so you can play with that aspect. The fruit chosen should have the fructose balanced with glucose, meaning ripe bananas, berries, pineapple, kiwi, orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, plum.
Fruits generally to be avoided include apple, pear and melon, so you can see I’ve broken one rule there.
Remember this started as, and still is primarily, a morning meal, specifically to fuel my swimming, and I’ve been happy with the use and results, but I also use it before later swims, and indeed had a large one before my English Channel.
You could add protein and/or Maxim also, I’ve never felt the need.
500ml of this Smoothie will give me plenty of energy for hours. I’ve often made it for lunch on the go, and it works great to have as breakfast in the car. It’s flexible both in making and consumption.
It doesn’t however last long so you have to make it fresh. It’ll start to ferment within a few hours because of the fructose, so if you want to have it for later, you’ll have to keep it chilled.
- Post swim nutrition – the Golden Window (loneswimmer.com)