Concession stand redesign and education
Food selections at meets should support performance, not hinder it. For as long as I can remember since starting to swim at age four, concession stands at meets were stocked with the popular low quality choices (donuts, candy, soda)...we would associate swim meets with getting treats like this, as if it was the reward. If you swim a race - you get candy (and that's why everyone would swim).
However, these options impair performance and don't adequately fuel athletes for races..even worse, this sends the wrong message on how to fuel for life.
With this being a pattern supported for these kids their entire swimming careers and in other sports as well, this was a test to see how we could influence their eating behaviors through redesign, healthier alternatives, education, and parental/team/coach support.
Fuel and recovery were the two main nutritional focuses of the concession stand redesign.
What worked and what you can implement:
- Fun signs: (anything with the coaches face on it is a hit) - the promotion and fun targeted at the kids caught their attention
- Food placement: kids will go straight to what's in front of them and as quickly as possible
- Price: healthy food was the same or cheaper than candy
- Sales increase between trial 1 and trial 2 -- increased adoption (their was a shock factor at first) and the influence of word of mouth from their teammates (like "eat the Figgy Pops they actually taste good!")
- Accessibility: having food in baggies for carrying around the pool deck
- Alternatives: it's important to still provide options for kids and allow them to learn to make decisions for themselves
- Trail Mix
- Kids Clif Bars
- Figgy Pop Bites
- Go-Go Squeeze
- Aussie "muffins"
- Drinks: Chocolate Milk, La Croix
- Snack Packs:
- Pick one (grain) Pretzels, Mulitgrain Chips
- Pick one (protein): Hummus, Peanut Butter
- Pick one (fruit/veggie): Banana, Carrot
Swim Faster Food - USA's campaign to support healthier eating at swim meets
Starting as a method of health and nutrition education as well as learning and concept testing for future ideas, proved to work so well this is being extended to other concession stands in the future!