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Fuelling Up For Winter Sports: By Dietitian, Christina Turner

Kids and Parenting, General Nutrition, Sports Nutrition & Fitness, Healthy Eating
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I’m currently taking a bit of a mid-year R & R jaunt down in the Snowy Mountains of NSW . This post is inspired by my ride on a ski lift at Thredbo yesterday.  It’s amazing how much you can chat about on the lift back up the hill. 

Anyways, I was speaking to a lovely lady who asked me what were the best snacks for her kids (aged 10 and 16), her husband and herself whilst skiing. They are a really outdoorsy family and her son (the 16 year old) is aiming to compete at the Winter Olympics in 2014. 

Although they were going to be buying some meals at the resort, she wanted to be able to pack some high energy but relatively nutritious snacks for her brood.

Some background nutritional info:

  • It’s not always easy to balance getting enough energy and having a perfectly nutritious intake.  So don’t try to be perfect – just do what you can
  • We actually have higher fluid requirements in cold temperatures (cold air has less water than warm air)
  • Most people aren’t as thirsty and also pee more when they are up high…this along with the above are a recipe for DEHYDRATION
  • Don’t forget that even though the weather is cold, you might be sweating quite a bit = loss of water from your body
  • Generally I find some foods just taste so much different in colder temps & at higher altitude

For example, some food and drinks freeze or just go rock solid so eating or drinking them ends up being a pain in the butt. You actually have to plan what you are going to take or think about how you can keep them warm. Will you have a backpack?, Does your jacket have pockets? Will you have to leave your food in a locker?


Here Are My Top Ten Food Tips For Fuelling Up On The Slopes:

  1. Try drinking warm drinks.  They are easier to drink more of when you are cold and so you take in more fluid.
  2. If you are going to be skiing quite a distance from the resort base (i.e. away from toilets), consider taking a sports drink like Gatorade. The electrolytes in the sports drink might help with your fluid balance and you won’t need to run to the toilet as often.
  3. Generally fruit stays OK. I find mandarins good, because you can separate them into the pieces in the morning and throw them in a zip lock bag. Otherwise, choose any fruit that is easy to peel. E.g. a banana would be easier than a kiwi fruit.
  4. Dried fruit and nuts are a favourite of mine. You can buy them in bulk at the beginning of the week and portion them into smaller amounts in zip lock bags. cheaper :)
  5. For sandwiches try those with high energy fillings like jam, honey, peanut butter or nutella. Unless packed well, salad sandwiches just go a bit blah.
  6. Sports gels can be good.
  7. A good quality muesli bar with loads of fruit and nuts. Try Carman’s , Be Natural or Brookfarm (you will need to store these in your chest pocket of your jacket to try and keep em warm = easier to chew!).
  8. Muffins, cake, lollies  and chocolate are fine for a sugar hit and energy – make sure you take other foods as well so you actually consume some vitamins and minerals . You could also try some savoury muffins.
  9. Consider drinks with added nutrients like “Up and Go’”, Sustagen Sport” or MiloThey have the added benefit of providing you with fluid, energy and other nutrients.
  10. Have a good solid breakfast. If you start off the day well, you won’t have to rely so much on your snacks to get you through.

Above all – enjoy  the experience.  There is nothing like a bit of fresh air and exercise to boost your mood during the Winter months.

(just a note: this is an updated post from the original in Aug 11′)

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Fuelling Up For Winter Sports: By Dietitian, Christina Turner
Christina Turner
Accredited Nutritionist (AN), Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD), Dietitian, Nutritionist