Children's Hospital Colorado

How to Pack a Healthy Lunch for a Day of Skiing or Snowboarding

When we moved to Colorado, we quickly found a ‘locals’ mountain that fit our lifestyle. Since then, we pack our lunch in a backpack, bring it up the mountain on the first run and throw it under a tree with everyone else’s backpacks. The snow keeps our lunch cold until we are ready to eat.

Depending on your weight and the terrain that you ski, you may burn between 400-750 calories per hour of downhill and cross-country skiing.

Here are some tips for making the most of your lunch on the slopes:

Types of food to eat

  • A good supply of carbohydrates that will keep your muscles fueled all day.
  • Some salty foods, fruits and nuts for electrolytes.
  • Protein, mostly from leaner sources, and a little fiber that will keep your body feeling well fed but not sleepy.

Examples of foods to pack for the day

  • Turkey and cheese, or peanut butter with jam or honey on whole grain bread-you may need two sandwiches.
  • Portable fruit or vegetables: Oranges or cuties, dried fruit such as raisins and apricots, ready-washed bag of snap peas
  • Crunchy/salty snack: pretzels, pop chips, tortilla chips

Snacks? Think hearty and portable:

  • Cereal bars with protein
  • Trail mix with your favorite foods-nuts, seeds, cereal, dried fruit, chocolate bits, mini pretzels or any of these things by themselves.
  • You will be burning plenty of calories so hot chocolate or a cookie and low fat milk is a great treat on a cold, high-energy expenditure day.

Stay hydrated!

  • To avoid dehydration and increased potential for altitude sickness, be sure to stop for fluid breaks.
  • Drink lots of water. Juice and milk are also good options.
  • An indicator of hydration is urine color and volume. Aim for light yellow and decent volume when you go to bathroom. Otherwise, it’s time to take a rest and tank up with some water, juice or a sports drink.

Learn more about sports nutrition.

Written by: Lauren Furuta, RD, Clinical Nutrition, Children’s Hospital Colorado.