As a young athlete, I’m definitely still learning how to take charge of my nutrition to compete at the most elite levels of swimming. I’m lucky to have great parents who prioritize my diet and help me so much. I’ve been learning from them for a while and am consciously taking notice of the meals they help prepare for me so that when I go to college next year, I’ll know how to properly fuel myself. I’ve actually received a lot of nutrition education from USADA too! We get the Nutrition Guide during presentations and I constantly look at it for tips.
When it comes to eating healthy, I used to really dislike leafy greens, but I’ve learned that greens are an acquired taste and the more I eat them, the more I’ll like them. I do eat far more greens than I used to, but there’s always room for improvement!
I’ve also learned when to get in my greens and I find times to eat them when it’s convenient for me. During the week, for example, I get my greens in at dinner. My stomach can be sensitive to certain veggies, so I’ve found that eating them at night after practice is a much better option than risking a sensitive stomach before practice.
Here are my top three ways to easily get in leafy greens:
I like to put a lot of greens in my smoothies because even though the color of the smoothie turns out green, you can’t taste the greens at all!
I used to struggle to eat salads that included any greens except for romaine. But once I figured out how to incorporate more foods into my salads, such as egg, turkey, avocado, cheese, fruits, and a good dressing, I found that I couldn’t even taste the greens anymore! Plus, those ingredients offer other health benefits and more fuel.
I love putting spinach in my omelets because the gooey cheese completely masks the taste. On weekends, I’m able to put a lot more effort into my breakfasts, so that’s when I typically will have an omelet with some greens.
I don’t eat as many leafy greens as I would like, but that’s ok! When I think about where my diet was a few years ago compared to now, I feel so proud of how far I’ve come. Every day is a chance to incorporate healthy greens into my diet and I try my best to make it happen.
About Regan Smith
At just 17, Regan Smith was already earning acclaim on the international swimming stage, including a world record in the 200m backstroke and the first leg position on the women’s 4x100m medley team at the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. With these achievements, Regan went on to win the Age Group Swimmer of the Year (17-18), World Jr. Female Swimmer of the Year, and overall Female Swimmer of the Year at the 2019 Swammy Awards. In the fall of 2020, she will start her college swimming career with Stanford University.
What is food-first nutrition?
Every athlete wants to reach their peak performance, which often means pushing harder and longer in training and in competition. In the quest to reach their maximum potential, many athletes know that good nutrition is critical, but they may also look to the latest supplements and trendy diet regimens to give them that extra boost.
Some athletes, on the other hand, have found that a food-first approach is all they need to achieve peak performance. While some athletes may need to supplement their dietary intake because of a medical condition, many athletes can properly fuel their bodies and meet all their bodies’ needs with the right food.
In the Food-First Nutrition series, Olympians, Paralympians, and elite athletes share how they maintain the strength and energy they need to compete at the highest levels of sport through a food first approach. For more information on the best foods for athletes, check out the TrueSport Nutrition Guide.