Mom always said that a good breakfast is the start of every day, and this is especially true when you are about to hit the slopes for a day in the snow. The way you fuel your body, before, during, and after a day on the mountain will have a huge impact on how you perform and recover afterwards.
Skiing and snowboarding can burn on average 3,000 calories a day. While that might give you a little leeway on how much you can eat during a day on the mountain, there are still some eating guidelines to follow that will help you feel and ride your best, as well as recover after a long day of shredding. No matter how athletic you are, skiing and snowboarding uses muscles that you don’t use on an everyday basis, even if you are a frequent gym goer.
So let’s begin with breakfast. We’ve always been told that this is the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. On the days that you are heading out to the mountain, you will want to fuel your body in a way that will help get you through the day. It is recommended that you eat a good mix of fat and protein, along with a slow-carb before you strap into your skis or board. Since being at a high altitude puts strain on your body and increases your metabolic rate, you will want to eat something that releases energy slowly. Go for a breakfast like avocado on toast, eggs and toast, whole grain cereal with a banana, or oatmeal with honey.
You’ll probably get hungry while on the slopes, so it is a good idea to pack some snacks in your backpack. The best snacks to pack are high protein cereal bars, trail mix, jerky, and dried nuts. Steer clear of chocolate or a bag of chips as these will spike your sugar levels, and bring you crashing down shortly after—something that you don’t want to happen in the middle of your powder day!
Ah, lunchtime. Time to fuel up on pizza, burgers, and fries, right? Wrong! Eating a large heavy meal at lunchtime, especially if you are heading back out afterwards, will not only leave you feeling lethargic, but your body will be trying to digest this heavy meal while you are trying to ride down the mountain. No good. It is recommended to eat a light meal with ample lean protein at lunch, like a sandwich, cheese and nuts, or soup and sandwich to keep you full and energized to get back out there.
Top tip- It is easy to forget to drink water, especially on the mountain where it is cold. So be sure to hydrate when you stop for a snack, or come in for lunch. You don’t want to get dehydrated!
After a day of skiing or snowboarding, you’ll want to refuel so that your muscles have a chance to recuperate. A good rule of thumb to follow for an after-mountain meal, is to eat around 15-30 grams of protein and 30-90 grams of carbs. It is recommended to eat a snack with a good balance of carbohydrates and protein 30 minutes after your last run. This can help reduce muscle soreness and aid in recovery. A couple of good options are chocolate milk, greek yogurt and a banana, or wholegrain bread topped with lean meat, such as chicken or turkey.
Later, you will want to eat a proper meal full of good quality carbohydrates, (think whole grains and potatoes,) lean protein such as fish, chicken, eggs, or beans, healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, or olive oil, and vegetables, which contain vital nutrients to help your muscles recover.
Also, be sure to continue drinking water throughout the evening, especially if you have had a few after-mountain beers. Your head will thank you for it in the morning.
Follow these tips for healthy eating, and you will have a great day on the mountain.
image courtesy of Slutty Food Blog.