Winter Sports and Nutrition – Be Ready!
When the cold weather sets in, it's time to prepare snowshoes, skis, snowboards and skates! There’s nothing better than practicing winter sports to appreciate the Quebec climate. As long as you’re properly dressed and know how to eat well when going outside in cold weather.
Winter sports enthusiasts face particular challenges. In addition to the risk of hypothermia, feelings of hunger and thirst may be diminished while the needs are not. Practicing a sport in a cold environment requires from the body a greater energy expenditure than a sport practiced in mild weather because the body must work to fight the cold. To avoid early tiredness, you need enough food in your backpack, especially if you plan to move for several hours.
During your hike, focus on foods containing carbohydrates because they are easily digested. A small amount of protein is also desirable, especially for long outings. Prepare a sweet and salty mix to eat during breaks: dry cereals, pretzels, dried fruits (dates, cranberries, raisins, etc.) and soybeans or salted peanuts. If you prefer granola bars, opt for those that are stuffed with fruit purée to prevent them from becoming too hard. Crackers with cheese is also a good option.
If water loss through sweat seems less important in cold weather, it is just as important to hydrate yourself well as it is during hot summer weather. The body becomes dehydrated even in winter because of water loss related to breathing. The greater the effort, the greater the loss of water.
To hydrate yourself well, bring a water bottle that is easily accessible, either attached to your belt or in an outer pocket of your backpack. Also, consider hot liquids kept in a "thermos" like broth, tea, herbal tea, hot chocolate and soup. In addition to not freezing, they will warm you up!
I wish you a beautiful snowy winter filled with beautiful sports moments!
Stéphanie Ménard, Dt.P
Dietitian / Nutritionist