We all know that a winter snowsports holiday is physically demanding, and many of us prepare with a get-fit regime, but how many of us think about what we eat whilst we are away? We are either in self-catered accommodation and reliant on local supermarket fayre or in a hotel or chalet where the food is prepared and served to us. During the day we have more limited options as mountain restaurants and cafes will only have produce that is transported up the slopes. For those of us with fussy kids getting some good quality, nutritious food down their throats can be somewhat tortuous. Many children would love to have chips every day but most parents would prefer their off-spring eat some greens and good stuff to balance out the bad. With a bit of careful thought and planning it is possible. Nicola Zielinski is a health and well-being female entrepreneur who is based in the North East of England.
Her travels around Australia and New Zealand stimulated her interest in health and wellness and she now has a new business venture, A to Zen Coaching, which examines this topic. Below she introduces us to her ideas about staying nutritiously healthy whist away.
How do we travel and maintain nutrition, especially for those of you hitting the snow? Below I cover self-catering breakfast options as well as healthy nutritious snacks and hydration. Ultimately it is about a little bit of careful planning to save you from those quick, and sometimes, unhealthy options.
Self-catering and breakfast: self-catering allows you to prepare meals in advance, so thinking now will help you provide a healthy start to the day. Breakfast is the most important meal, so by using berries and bananas with some milk you can create your own fresh smoothie – great for an energy boost. If your accommodation does not provide a blender, or if you want something more warming, porridge oats are perfect as they are extremely filling with a slow energy-release meaning you and the kids are less likely to snack before lunch.
Snacks: stock up on these before you set off from the UK, as options in local supermarkets can be limited. My top tip for adults is to have a couple of pieces of dark chocolate (70% or more cocoa) tucked away in your jacket pocket (in a wrapper of course and not in the warmer, spring weather!) Proven benefits include reduction in cardiovascular risk and an antioxidant. For kids, whom you want to have chocolate-free ski clothes, a great snack would be ‘Nakd’ fruit bars which are gluten-free with no artificial sugars. They also come in fun flavours; my personal favourite is Berry Bakewell. Below are some other quick and easy snack items most of which you could buy and pop in your suitcase:
- Raisins, dates, almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, kale crisps, Greek yoghurt with fruit and hard boiled eggs.
Hydration: DRINK PLENTY. Hydration is absolutely key for us all, but notably not just in the hot weather. When exercising in the cold we should drink plenty of water as our bodies loose water through respiration. We are working harder through those extra layers of clothing whilst breathing more heavily. During cold weather we may not get those ‘tell-tale’ signs that we are lacking fluids which can therefore lead to dehydration. Here are some more reasons why drinking water is good for you:
- Helps to energise muscles; keeps skin looking great; aids reduction in calorific intake; improves mood; and speeds up the digestive system.
Between 2011 and 2013 I travelled through Australia and New Zealand and my favourite snacks, whilst out trekking, were peanut butter and banana sandwiches (great for energy) and hard boiled eggs. Aussie’s also substitute their butter for avocado which is now my ultimate favourite snack on rice cakes. I hope this has given you some good ideas to start thinking about for your next holiday. Have a fabulous February everyone.
A huge thank you to Nicola who has reminded me that I need to drink more whilst out on the slopes, plus some good suggestions for snacks; I particularly liked the chocolate one. Personally I prefer porridge for breakfast and that can be requested in a catered chalet too. I also came across someone recently who refused the chalet desert in an effort to rein-in the calories intake, but I think that maybe a step too far! Enjoy your snowboarding and skiing and stay healthy whilst away wherever you are going.