March 22, 2019

Nutrition: How to eat smart and ski for longer

If you’re usually behind a desk all week, a full week’s skiing can be quite demanding on your body. One of the best ways to ensure you are fit for the slopes is to pay extra attention to your diet before and during the holiday. This will help you combat any nasty germs that come your way and ensure you maintain energy levels and mental focus to make the most of your skiing holiday. We spoke to performance dietitian Rebecca Dent to get some tips on how to prepare for the mountain (whilst still having a great time on holiday!).

Rebecca has delivered nutrition strategies to the young racers of the British Ski Academy and a growing number of national and Olympic athletes, including  the GB curling team, ultra-running world champion William Sichel and World Cup-winning climber Shauna Coxsey.

Before your holiday

Make sure you start your week’s skiing feeling great by making some healthy choices before you travel. As you’re possibly in a bit of a rush as you get sorted for your holiday, resist the urge to reach for the biscuits and splurge on unhealthy fatty foods. Instead, to help your body prepare for a full week of exercise and fight off any germs, make helpful choices such as eating plenty of fruit and vegetables to boost your vitamin and mineral intake.

Don’t hit the booze on the Friday night. According to Rebecca, whilst one or two drinks are fine, the worst thing you can do before a holiday is to hit the beer hard the night before you travel; you’ll start the week hung over, tired and dehydrated, a recipe for starting your holiday on the back foot, feeling fatigued and off par before you have even hit the slopes.

In transit

Ditch the Pringles. Boots, Pret a Manger and Costa Coffee all have delicious healthy options for snacks, such as yogurt pots, porridge, soups, fruit and healthy sandwiches. If you have time to make it, there’s also no reason why you can’t bring your own food from home through security.

Keep some alcohol gel handy for hand hygiene whilst at the airport, and on planes and buses.

Breakfast

Steer clear of the standard continental breakfast of pastries, jam and white bread. Instead, opt for slow release carbs and protein sources such as porridge, granary bread and eggs, or yogurt and granola, which take longer to digest and will leave you feeling satisfied for longer.

Fortunately breakfast is a serious business at AliKats, and it’s easy to feast on a carb and protein combo to fuel your day. Our spread includes homemade granola, fruits, yogurts, and a hot breakfast option, such as scrambled eggs with feta, tomato and spinach, vegan tofu scramble or a vegetarian fritta.

Caffeine

Coffee is a good stimulant and can wake you up ready for the slopes in the morning. Most people know their limits with caffeine; the rule of thumb is to stick to your habitual number of cups per day, and not to go into over drive.  If you drink five cups during the day at home, fine, but if you usually take just one cup in the morning, don’t expect to be able to drink an expresso after dinner and still get a good night’s sleep just because you’re on holiday.

Hydration 

For a quick hydration check, take a peek at the colour of your pee. Healthy pee is a pale straw colour. If it’s dark in colour, you’re running the risk of becoming dehydrated. There’s no need to down a litre of water (and no one wants to be bursting for a pee in ski pants at the top of the mountain), just grab a glass of water, along with your usual coffee or tea and orange juice in the morning.

The best way to stay hydrated is by sipping fluid throughout the day, chairlifts are the opportune moment.  You don’t need a complete hydration system; a water pouch in your jacket pocket where your body heat will prevent it from freezing is perfect. You don’t need to bring one if you are an AliKats guest as we provide reusable plastic ones for all our guests.

Snacks and lunch

You’re on holiday and for you that might mean long lunches in the sunshine or die hard skiing all day. If you’re in the latter camp, its important you eat something otherwise you’ll find yourself lagging in the afternoon, so grab a sandwich from the boulangerie and a few cereal bars or a flap jack to keep your energy levels up.

If you’re lunching in a mountain restaurant, opt for one of their delicious salads, omelets, savoury crepes or even a burger; just go easy on the frites and steer clear of the heavy cheese plates, such as tartelettes and fondues. Remember, AliKats’ guests, you’ve a scrumptious 4-course meal coming your way in the evening.

Evening recovery

Skiing in the sun can be hot work, and you’re likely to sweat a fair bit. So whilst the hot tub will do wonders for your muscle recovery, just don’t stay in for too long, and ensure you are sipping water throughout the evening to rehydrate.

When relaxing and enjoying a few drinks, try and remember to drink one small tumbler of water with each glass of wine or beer. You will be very pleased you did in the morning!

Dinner

AliKats’ dishes are not your average oversized catered chalet portions so you don’t need to worry about over eating. We’re interested in providing amazing flavours whilst keeping a healthy balance between indulgence and nutrition. This means that as much as possible we use ingredients that are locally sourced, free range and seasonal, and make our dishes from scratch. So tuck in and enjoy, you’re on holiday after all!

Heading home

To help your body recover from your week’s skiing, avoid the temptation of skipping breakfast, even if your flight is super early, in the very least grab a boiled egg and a banana to eat when you are feeling more awake.

In the few days that follow your holiday, healthy food and good sleeps will keep you feeling refreshed and reap the benefits of your holiday for longer, so keep your evening schedule clear and enjoy an early night or two. 

For intense mountain expeditions, check out Rebecca’s article Nutrition tips for big mountain days.

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