What makes a good swimming recovery sandwich?

So Swimfit fell short of persuading their in-house nutrition and exercise scientist that sandwiches were a fantastic healthy snack to compliment your swimming.

But, to celebrate British Sandwich Week (15 – 21 May 2011) they did get him to come up with a few great sandwich ideas to use as recovery food after a swim!

Eating after exercise is vital. Your body immediately needs nutrients to repair muscles and replace energy so it is recommended you refuel between 15 to 30 minutes after training.

Recovery food means carbohydrates to replace lost glycogen and provide the energy to synthesise protein which delivers amino acids to repair muscles and boost the immune system.

But it’s not an excuse to overeat – don’t refuel like an athlete unless you’ve trained like one.

So, without further ado, here are the dos and don’ts for your perfect swimming recovery sarnie!


  • Two slices of bread will suffice – remember this is a recovery snack.
  • DO eat whole wheat or whole grain bread in your sandwich.
  • DON’T eat white bread in your sandwich.

It’s a simple case of carbohydrate differences – whole wheat and whole grain bread contain your dose of starchy, complex carbs which longer for your body to synthesise than the simple carbs in white bread.


  • DO opt for sparingly applied natural butter if you’re using spread.
  • DON’T use your typical supermarket branded margarine or salted butter.
  • A small amount of flavoured spread like mayonnaise or mustard is fine but make sure it’s low fat and again use sparingly.

Many marketed spreads and margarine brands are created from vegetable oil which usually means they will be high in trans fats or partially hydrogenated fats which create massive blood vessel inflammation and inhibit your recovery.

Instead opt for your natural butter which contains essential fatty acids which actually HELP the body burn fats as well as stimulating muscle recovery and metabolism.


  • DO go for a main filling which is high in lean protein. These include chicken breast, beef, tuna, organic peanut butter or free range eggs.
  • DO NOT use cheap, processed meats like packaged ham or processed cheese.

It’s all about the lean protein with your main filling and the above foods are full of it. Processed meat contains e-numbers and chemicals so the best type of meat is a quality cut – preferably by your own hand!

Organic peanut butter is a fantastic filling because it doubles up with protein and essential fatty acids. Finally, buy free range eggs which have a hugely improved biological value than those from battery-caged hens (the practice of which will become illegal in 2012).


  • DO throw any type of salad or vegetables in your sandwich.
  • DO use cheese – but as a secondary filling.
  • DO use a sprinkle of black pepper.

Lots of dos and not so many don’ts for secondary fillings! Raw salad and vegetables are full of nutrients, anti-oxidants and fibrous carbs so take your pick!

Cheese is fine (not the processed packaged ‘fake’ cheese you see on American cheeseburgers) but try and make it low fat and not the primary filling.

Finally, a sprinkle of black pepper will raise your internal body temperature and speed up the fat burning process.

Find out more about simming nutrition with their guidelines for Competitive and Health swimmers.

[src Swimfit]