Nutrition Tips for Youth Sailing Athletes, and their Parents!

With the progression of the youth sailor from beginner to experienced competitor, nutrition becomes an increasingly important aspect.

While the general diet of the youth sailor should be healthy, there are also specific dietary needs for days of practice or racing, including nutrition on the water.

Oatmeal with Fruits: a Healthy Breakfast for Race Days
There are lessons to be learned from other sports, such as cyclism, which also involves a long effort over several hours.

Here are some articles and videos outlining the basis for proper nutrition for practice / race days, as well as for general healthy nutrition throughout the years.

There are also references regarding nutrition for longevity and sustainability.

Nutrition Lessons from Cyclism

Here is how elite cyclist Mark Cavendish approaches nutrition.

This article emphasizes the role of a good breakfast, and of slow releasing carbs such as rice or oats for this particular meal.


"A lot of riders like eating oatmeal for breakfast, but that’s not something that works for me. But rice does, so I’ll have an omelet and rice for breakfast in the morning" ...

"Never go completely synthetic—your body needs real food. ... choose a snack that’s packed with good stuff. I’ve always loved pistachios, which have a lot of protein" ...

"One mistake athletes make when they’re training is eating too much. They think carbo-loading is the way to go, but you don’t need to overeat to do that." ...

"I believe athletes who say they’re absolutely, biblically strict about their diet are either lying or sick in the head—you’ve got to have some fun."

Read: Pro Cyclist Mark Cavendish’s Diet Rules

Tip: for the breakfast of sailing days, find out what works best, and then replicate this in future, especially for race days, so you have, as much as possible, a predictable energy level and digestion troughout the day.

Also, watch also this video, where one sees how food and nutrition fit into Cavendish's lifestyle.

Nutrition During Sailing Days, Including on the Water

Former Laser champion Paul Goodison explains how important is the breakfast, and how important is hydratation with electrolytes on the water, and also to have energy bars and possibly gels. The sandwich is typcally optional, not needed. Some sailors will have bananas, like runners do, but sometimes it's not that practical, compared to an energy bar.

Beware: avoid eating excess calories.  If the sailor has a good breafast, plus several energy bars, and takes sports drinks for hydration, (s)he may reach an excess of calories.

One way to proceed is to take sports drinks with limited calories, or water with electrolytes, instead of the sugary high calories sports drinks. Another approach is to alternate sport drinks and water during a day of sailing. Also beware of an excess of energy bars.

Another warning: at regattas, it is common that junk foods such as pizza and macaroni with cheese are offered to athletes. It's really not helping the sailors to take care of their nutrition and to adopt a healthy lifestyle - quiete the contrary.

What's a Healthy Diet?

Let's listen to David Katz from Yale University, one of the most authoritative voices in the world about nutrition.

Beware, if you take action on this, you could live 10 years longer and prevent many of our most common diseases - that most of us think are inevitable. That works for parents too!

You may want to read his book "Disease Proof" available on Amazon.

Healthy Nutrition & Longevity

Now, along the same lines, what are the lessons from the regions where people live particularly long - the so called Blue Zones? Check this article.

Eating To Break 100: Longevity Diet Tips From The Blue Zones

Healthy Nutrition & Sustainability

Finally, here is an article, by the autor of this blog, outlining the health and sustainability benefits of healthy plant based eating.

Plant-based diet should be central to national food policy

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