Skiing and Food considerations: What to eat on your ski holiday

A ski holiday is a great moment to relax and spend some quality time with your friends and family sharing a common passion for skiing and all snowsports activities.
Part of a ski trip, like any other holiday abroad is also to experience the different lifestyle and to taste the local speciality foods typical of the area you’re visiting.
Whether you’re going as a family or with a group of friends, you know that the après-ski and the evening meals are going to play a big role in the amount of food and alcohol consumed daily, it is a fun and sociable part of the trip.
Therefore, for the sake of this article, we’ll be considering the most important meal of the day that enables you not to spoil your day out skiing: Morning breakfasts.

Buntes Frühstück mit Cappuccino

Other things to consider:
Skiing is a very physically demanding activity, partly because it occurs at a higher altitude than the one you are used to living in, and also being in a cold environment.
These two factors are very important and need to be taken into serious consideration to avoid physical problems and injuries.
High Altitude: The human body adapts to the higher altitude and the reduced amount of oxygen in the air by:
Increasing Respiratory Rates – Increasing Heart Rate – Increasing Red Blood Cell Production to mention but a few of the most important factors. For this reason it is very recommended that you take the first day of your ski holiday very easy, enabling your body to slowly adapt to the changed conditions avoiding the risk of altitude illness and ski injuries.
Cold temperatures: Being out in the cold, the body has to work harder in trying to maintain it’s core temperature at 37*C. Cold temperatures also causes body dehydration. So often we hear people saying: “It’s cold, I don’t feel like drinking water” or even: “I don’t want to drink water because then I need to stop for a pee”
It is well known that the body is made up of a big percentage of water and that most of us are not hydrating it well enough these days. A small water bottle should always be carried while skiing, giving you the possibility to often have a sip whilst queuing or whilst sitting on a lift. Dehydration is a significant concern in the winter cold as well as in summer heat. The consumption of alcohol and exercising in cold weather should be avoided too, as alcohol is a diuretic that tends to dehydrate the body.
Taking these above and other factors into consideration, let’s have a look at what we can do to optimize our breakfast.
A morning pre-skiing breakfast should consist mainly of complex carbohydrates:
Cereal, grains, breads, muffins, waffles, lots of fresh fruits, and juices.
Avoid high fat foods such as bacon, fried eggs, sausage and any other fried foods. I know you like them, we all do, but salty & savoury food absorbs water from your body and, as we mention above, we are looking to prevent dehydration as much as we can.

salty-english-breakfast(this in the picture above might look yummy to you, but it’s very greasy and dehydrating for your body)

Eat foods that are quickly digested and that release energy slowly, as you’ll feel stronger and you’ll be able to ski at your best and for a longer period of time. fruits_cereal_breakfast
Consider that up to 25% of your body energy goes into digesting heavy foods, so you don’t want to lose all that energy well needed for skiing.

Take some food with you: Bananas, Dates and also other juicy fruits, cereal/energy bars, things that don’t take much room and are rich in glycogen and low in fat.
Breakfast examples:
Drink lots of water as soon as you wake up.
Orange/Fruit Juices
Mixed Fruit Salad with cereals
Fruit Smoothies: Banana – Kiwi – Strawberries without milk or with skim milk or soya milk.
Porridge in water or skim milk with added fruits, honey or agave nectar.
Try to avoid fat, salty foods and dairy products for the above and many other reasons.
If you are unable to change your breakfast habits completely, or if you can’t help not having your eggs and bacon or your cappuccino with croissant, then try at least implement it with a fruit salad, a fruit juice or even a smoothie, that contain liquids and nutrients to prevent your body dehydration while skiing.
I know it is very difficult to change our food habits and to avoid some of the delicious but heavy foods that are attracting us like kids in a sweet shop. If you can’t resist not tasting or having them, just do it from the afternoon onwards when your skiing day has been done at your best and it’s over ’till tomorrow. This way you’ll get the most out of your ski holiday, feeling full of energy to ski all day long, without giving up all your eating habits and curiosities for new local foods.

Content source:Sports Nutrition studies and researches by Fabo @FabulousSki