We love the great outdoors and the assurance of a healthy lifestyle that a ski holiday promises. However when it comes to nutrition we often fall short. We eat to satisfy our hunger pangs and don’t always take into consideration what our body really needs. Nutrition when skiing is of vital importance and should not be overlooked, here are a few keys facts that could help us optimise our time on the slopes when shredding those runs.
The most important meal of the day because you don’t want to be starting on an empty stomach. Food is fuel and needed to jump start your metabolism. A healthy balance of protein and complex carbohydrates is necessary, the carbohydrates are slowly released and create energy during aerobic exercise, this is what keeps us going all day. The protein helps build and repair muscles. An easy and quick breakfast could be granola with yoghurt or eggs with smashed avocado on wholemeal toast. Remember you are what you eat and the right food choices will benefit our skiing performance.
Eating little and often is a good mindset to have when skiing. Avoid eating huge meals because they are hard to digest. Best to snack regularly to keep your metabolism at its optimal peak. Granola bars, dried fruit, nuts or trail mix are good choices to put in your back pack. It is also important to regulate your eating to your activity level. Those extra calories have got to go somewhere. Avoid anything with too much sugar, you will get that sugar hit, then a crash 30 minutes later.
A lunch stop is necessary. You need a break, on a physical, mental and a nutritional level. Keep it light and healthy, eating a huge lunch will leave you feeling sluggish because your body has to process and digest all this food. (this is also called the afternoon bonk). Avoid anything fried or processed (I know the burger and fries options sound great, however it does not give you enough nutriens). A good balance of protein, carbohydrates and some healthy fat is ideal. A low-fat protein such as chicken breast with a baked potato, pasta with a meat sauce such as a bolgnaise, a chilli and rice option or a large salad with tuna.
Don’t forget to drink water and keep hydrated. It is important to stay ahead of altitude sickness, there is less oxygen than at sea level so it is very important to drink more. Keeping hydrated will also avoid headaches, nausea and fatigue, all these are symptoms of altitude sickness. Plus the cold air is deceiving and remember skiers sweat too. An electrolyte in your water is a great help because just drinking water is not always sufficient. Drinking before you are thirsty is a good rule of thumb. Limit your alcohol intake on the slopes, those beers taste so good and you deserve them after shredding those runs but be careful not to over indulge.
After excerting yourself on the slopes some post workout recovery is needed. There is a 30 minute window to recover and feed your body more nutrients. These nutrients stop inflammation and repair muscle. Anything loaded with omega 3 fats is necessary such as salmon, sardines, walnuts or flaxseeds. The apres ski culture of pizza and a beer is a great social thing, just be mindful of what you eat and put into your body, the right choice of food helps improve recovery and your performance the next day when carving those first tracks.