While a healthy, balanced diet should always be the aim, we all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day; the old adage "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper" doesn't come from nowhere! But never is the need to set yourself up with a good breakfast more important than when you're on a skiing holiday. |
Fuel Your Body for Fun
If your usual breakfast consists of a double-strength Grande Caramel Macchiato and a cinnamon swirl on the run, you're going to have to make a few changes – at least for the duration of your ski break. After a good night's sleep, your body's been without food for, usually, around 10 hours. That means your glucose levels are at their lowest, and glucose – also referred to as blood sugar – is essential for your brain and muscles to operate at optimum levels.
Morning is the time for replenishment of those glucose levels, but you've got to do it right. If you book into a catered chalet, most of the hard work will be taken away, with chef-designed menus for all meals, including breakfast. Just make sure you make the right choices. The Mighty Carb
Carbohydrates are the big daddy of energy foods, and any professional sportsperson's diet will be carb heavy. Carbs break down quickly to convert into simple sugars (fructose and glucose), which create the energy for muscle contractions – obviously pretty important for skiing! Any energy not required is stored for later, providing the stamina required for a long day on the piste.
But you need to focus on the 'good' carbs, which are slow to absorb, rather than feed your body with a quick fix of refined carbohydrates, like the ones found in white bread or pastries (sorry!). Instead, go for bread with whole grains or anything containing quinoa, for example.
Try: Your catered chalet will offer a huge selection of breakfast foods for you to choose from, but simple porridge is one of the very best ways to start a big day with some healthy carbs. Baked beans are also a delicious way to get some good carbs in – on whole grain toast or muffin of course!
A typical balanced meal when you're undertaking vigorous activity should also contain around 15-30% protein. As well as aiding endurance and strength, protein is essential for rapid healing of any injuries you may sustain – including muscular strains. Of course you can cheat and take protein supplements, but it's far more tasty to get your protein naturally.
Try: Eggs are Nature's way of delivering a protein hit in a neat little package. Try a hearty omelette (add some peppers and onion for flavour), a breakfast frittata (with loads of veges), or the good old poached, scrambled or fried. A serving of natural Greek yoghurt is also an excellent source of protein, so if you're looking for a little breakfast dessert, go your hardest - all in the name of energy of course!
When you're expending a lot of energy (and if you're not, you're not skiing right!), the other 15-30% of your diet should come from good fats, as they're essential to the regulation of muscle inflammation. Good fats can be found in some delicious breakfast sources: soft cream cheeses and meats (hello bacon!) are perfect, and if you're feeling fancy you could add some walnuts or flax seeds to your serving of Greek yoghurt.
Try: Here's your excuse to indulge in a full English every day of your ski holiday to get your fill of good fats – but before you nosh on, there are some qualifiers. Make sure your catered chalet hosts are using good quality back bacon, and request whole grain toast, not white. (And don't hold back on the baked beans, see above!)
While few people can resist a coffee or tea to wash down breakfast, limit yourself to one before a day out on the slopes. Caffeine is a diuretic, too much of which can lead to dehydration – the last thing you need while skiing. So, instead of that second cup of coffee or tea, reach for a glass of water, and also make sure you take a bottle with you.
In order for your body to be able to perform to its best ability, you've got to fuel up with the good stuff before you step out of your catered chalet and on to the pistes for the day. When it comes to the strength and endurance required for skiing, good energy in equals good energy out – it's simple maths really.
Belinda Smythson works for Ski Amis, a specialist ski travel agency and booking service that has been helping avid skiers craft their perfect winter holiday for over a quarter of a century. If you're looking for the best catered chalet accommodation in the Three Valleys, Paradiski, Espace Killy or Chamonix Valley, Ski Amis is the go-to company for winter sports fans searching for the holiday of a lifetime.
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