Energy on your skis

Whether your cross-country skiing trip is a few hours or a few days, you must prepare it thoroughly. Planning the necessary food can become a headache: you don’t want to travel too heavy or run out of energy on the journey. Here are the guidelines to follow to eat enough.

Two hour hike

Since carbohydrates are used to maintain your energy level during exercise, high intensity outings longer than an hour should be accompanied by a sugary drink. You can simply add juice to your water, make a homemade energy drink recipe, or drink a sports drink like Gatorade. Dehydration can be manifested by headaches, muscle cramps or a feeling of varying degrees of thirst. Don’t wait for these signs to hydrate: Drink at least 200 ml (four to five full sips) every 20 minutes.

If you don’t like energy drinks, choose water and high-carbohydrate snacks every hour (fruit bars, fig or date cookies, dried fruit and salted nut mix, energy gels or bites).

Day hike (approximately six hours)

Breakfast in the morning (and ideally previous meals) should consist primarily of carbohydrates and be low in fat (which are more difficult to digest). You can opt for cereals, oatmeal, cream of wheat, toast, raisin bread, bagels, English muffins, fruit and juices, jams, honey as well as milk, milk chocolate and low fat yogurt.

Two hours before departure, drink 500 ml (two cups) of liquid.

What to put in your backpack?

For a day trip, you should pack several snacks, otherwise you may be hungry! It is best to eat often, but in small amounts. The ideal intake is 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour to keep the intensity the same and to aid digestion.

Foods that provide 30g of carbohydrate:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cereal bar (hiker mix)
  • 2 fig cookies
  • 4 small dates
  • 2 small bars of dried fruit
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) mixed nuts and dried fruits
  • 1 energy gel (between 25 and 30 grams of carbohydrates)

You can also cook your own bars and cut them into pieces for the course.

If you stop for dinner:

Choose foods low in fat, but high in carbohydrates

  • Low fat crackers and cheese, dried fruit and yogurt
  • Tuna tortillas, roasted soybeans and fruit juice
  • Turkey sandwich, vegetable, fruit and milk soup
  • Two or three day hike with overnight in a refuge or in a tent

On longer excursions, the weight and volume of food is important. You should opt for foods that are very energetic, light and withstand freezing. These main meals meet these criteria (add the snacks mentioned above between meals):

DAY 1 :

Breakfast: At home before leaving (high in carbohydrates).

Lunch: Couscous with dried fruits (mangoes, dates, cranberries, apples) and cashews or walnuts.

Dinner: Instant rice with cooked chicken pieces (previously canned or dehydrated).

DAY 2:

Breakfast: Cream of wheat or mixture of pancakes + powdered milk + brown sugar.

Lunch: Canned tuna bulgur.

Dinner:  Couscous with lentils.

DAY 3:

Breakfast: Oatmeal + powdered milk + brown sugar.

Lunch: Soup in a bag (ex .: Lipton) with pieces of chicken + crackers.

Dinner: Bulgur with chickpeas and dried fruit.

Finally, consider having a small snack before bed to allow you to generate some heat during the night. Eat for example a bar, some nuts and dried fruits, cheese and crackers, etc. A hot drink (such as herbal tea, hot chocolate, broth, or hot apple juice) could complement your evening snack very well.

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