One great thing about skiing or snowboarding is the fact that you can eat – but eat smart – and burn the calories off on the slopes. Good nutritional habits for skiing and snowboarding generally are basically the same as general nutritional guidelines – eat fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats (unless you are a vegetarian, of course), plant sources of protein and plant based fat and some carbs.
Depending on your ability, skiing and snowboarding can involve quick bursts of exertion to turn or stop followed by a quiet period on a lift ride up the slopes. Sliding down a snowy mountainside and staying outdoors in winter requires fuel – consumed at optimal times throughout the day. Overall activity can last from a couple of hours to 5-6 hours. It’s important to be well fed and hydrated beforehand, and to maintain both throughout the day..
Also, it is important to start with a good breakfast such as complex carbohydrates. This provides your body with quick burning fuel and protein for building muscle and repairing tissues. Keep it low in fat, which will make it easy to digest. Note: it’s best to eat breakfast about two hours before you hit the slopes.
Fruits and vegetables provide an excellent source of carbohydrate and antioxidants. These are also easy to pack and carry with you on the slopes. Establish a regular habit of eating and drinking immediately after any activity.
Sample Foods and Meal Suggestions for Multi Day Experiences
You may be going skiing or snowboarding for just one day or several. Here are some sample meals to consider. Remember, you will burn a lot of calories so you want your body to be strong and fully nourished for the snow experience.
Staying in a condo instead of a hotel offers an opportunity to cost down the cost of food and also prepare “smart eats”.
High Carbohydrate/Low Fat Snacks (no refrigeration necessary)
- Whole grain breads, muffins and cereals
- Hot cereals like porridge (just add boiling water)
- Rice cakes and breads
- Bagels, pita breads, raisin breads
- Tuna or salmon in water
- Jams and jellies
- Juice packs
- Fresh fruits and vegetables; also dried fruits (raisins, cranberries, apricots)
- Plain cookies like digestives or graham crackers
Try to eat at least 2-3 hours prior to activity. Meal should mainly include complex carbohydrates (e.g. hot or cold cereal, grains, breads, fresh fruits, and juices). Avoid high fat foods (e.g. bacon, sausage, and fried foods). Once again, include adequate fluid.
- 1-2 glasses fresh fruit juice
- Shredded wheat cereal with banana and skim milk
- Bran muffin
- Beverage: water, herbal tea, decaf coffee
If you are planning on going back out on the slopes in the afternoon, keep it light and easy to digest. Avoid overeating.
- Any type of fruit such as a banana or an apple
- Small sandwich, salad, or wrap
- A granola, power, or energy bar
- If you are cold, a cup of soup or hot chocolate may help get you warm
- You may also sip on a sports drink such as Gatorade or PowerAde
Most important is hydration with your fuel- remember to drink plenty of water!
- skinless baked chicken, fish, or lean beef
- rice pilaf or pasta (light tomato/vegetable sauces)
- steamed vegetables
- fresh green salad
- whole wheat bread
- dessert: fresh fruit/oatmeal cookies
- beverages: skim milk, fruit juice, herbal tea
Replenishing Carbohydrates: Post Exercise
After your ski/snowboard day is over think about….
- Cereal (such as: raisin bran) + 1/2 cup skim milk + 1 banana
- 1 Cup Yogurt
- Medium sized potato
- Sports Drink or Bars
- Pasta with tomato and meat sauce
- Fresh green salad
- Whole wheat bread or rolls
- Dessert: fresh fruit, homemade low fat cookies
Beverage: water, fruit juices