We all know après ski really is an excuse to get together with friends and celebrate a day on the slopes with burgers, deep-fried wings and pints of New England’s finest IPAs. But when it comes time to keep up with your fastest friends on the uphill or even the downhill (and still feel good), it might be worth thinking twice before chasing that midday chicken finger basket down with a Budweiser.
Don’t worry — you don’t have to eat raw broccoli and drink kale smoothies every day to stay fit and energized all day.
“Skiing and snowboarding are physically demanding sports that burn a lot of calories,” says Lisa Cushing, an avid snowboarder and physician assistant at White Mountain Community Health Center. “It’s important to fuel up with a breakfast that will help get you from first chair to last chair. I recommend starting the day off with a combination of protein and healthy fats, which are not easily broken down. This means you’ll have a slow release of energy that will last for hours.”
Cushing suggests staying away from foods that will spike your blood sugar and leave you feeling tired and hungry shortly after. Substitute your breakfast bacon for eggs and yogurt or avocado on whole grain toast.
She also suggests keeping your midday snack on the smaller side, opting for trail mix or fruit instead of a cheeseburger and fries.
Even if you’re not much of a health nut, these are a few meals and snacks to keep you hanging with the best of them. And with a slight alteration of your diet, you might even feel energized enough to skip your after-ski nap.
— Oatmeal with fruit | Oatmeal is a healthy and cheap way to start the day and has benefits especially before skiing or participating in any physical activity. The carbs in this meal are digested slowly, keeping your blood sugar steady throughout the day. This means you will have energy for longer than if you were to start your day off with a bowl of cocoa puffs and a Starbucks Frappuccino. Not to mention, it’s filling!
— Peanut butter | Peanut butter is chock full of protein, which helps you stay full and keeps your muscles energized. Throw a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in your bag instead of hitting the lodge for a deep-fried lunch and your wallet might end up being as full as your stomach at the end of the day.
— Trail mix | Another outdoor adventure classic, trail mix is a portable snack rich in energy-producing proteins and unsaturated fats. Raisins digest easily and provide a burst of energy, while almonds and other nuts provide protein and healthy unsaturated fats.
— Eggs | If you’ve watched the original “Rocky” movie, you’ve seen the scene of Rocky Balboa drinking raw eggs to prepare for a big fight. And while the health benefits of ingesting an uncooked egg are debatable, there is no argument about whether or not they are healthy, even if cooked. They contain essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and proteins. Bring a hard-boiled egg or two to snack on at the end of the day.
— Whole wheat toast | This is a great snack to replenish the carbs burned during a day of skiing. It also helps maintain consistent blood-sugar levels.
— Greek yogurt with fruit | Greek yogurt provides plenty of protein and provides an opportunity to ingest some carb-rich fruits. Adding blueberries incorporates a delicious antioxidant to your meal, which might help with muscle inflammation.
— Bananas | Bananas contain potassium, antioxidants, fiber, carbs, vitamins and other nutrients helpful for staying active all winter. They also help control blood sugar levels and are said to reduce exercise-related muscle cramps and soreness.
— Dried fruit | This is another easy-to-consume, on-the-go snack that provides simple carbohydrates and can be filling. Dried fruits also are easily digested and contain a lot of fiber and antioxidants. When picking up a bag of your favorite dried fruit at the grocery store, make sure it hasn’t been artificially sweetened with sugars.
— Apple with peanut butter | If you’re not in the mood for an old-fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich, throw a spoonful of peanut butter onto an apple for your snack. In addition to the protein you’ll get from the peanut butter, the apple is a great source of carbs and fiber.
— Chicken breast, brown rice and broccoli | This combination is a classic for body-builders and those looking to lose weight due largely to its nutrient density, protein levels and vitamins — which means it’s also great for skiers. It is also low in calories, so you won’t bulk up the way you would by eating pasta every day to fulfill your carbohydrate needs.
— Fruit smoothies | Smoothies are a delicious way to stay energized and get the minerals, vitamins, carbs and antioxidants you need for physical activity. The simple sugars help give the body an energy boost without the crash that you might get from artificial sources of sugar. You also can add yogurt for a source of protein, and to give the smoothie a creamier consistency.
— Water | Of course it’s not actually a food, but regardless, water is one of the most important things to consume before, during and after skiing. During the cold days of winter, many forego water, instead opting to drink coffee, beer and the occasional sip from the water fountain in the lodge. But in reality, you should be drinking 12-16 ounces of water per hour while skiing. Starting to hydrate before getting to the hill — even the night before — can be extremely beneficial.