Many nights we'd rather heat a can of soup or bake a pizza than make a healthy meal. It's extremely important to eat a well-rounded dinner the night before a long day of skiing or riding. Here are five recipe ideas that provide the right combination of complex and simple carbohydrates, ample protein, and essential "healthy" fat.
Add chicken, shrimp, flank steak, tofu, or tempeh to sautéed red/orange/yellow peppers and onions for mouth-watering fajitas. Choose whole-wheat tortillas and low-fat cheese if desired and complete the wrap with sliced tomato, avocado, cilantro, and fresh-squeezed lime.
Meat or vegetable spaghetti with whole-wheat pasta is an athlete's favorite pre-competition meal. Cook the pasta while sautéing the meat and/or vegetables. Cure meat before adding veggies to the same pan. Choose a natural spaghetti sauce with low sodium. Add a simple salad for a lightening side dish.
Baked chicken or fish with vegetable and rice stir-fry is easy and delicious. Choose a low-sodium stir-fry ready packet, or make your own with light soy sauce, minced garlic and ginger, and cornstarch. Cook the rice and vegetables independently and combine after. Bake chicken or fish with olive or canola oil and choice of spices (easy on the salt) at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
Creating an entrée as a salad can be surprisingly filling. Choose dark, leafy lettuce like romaine and combine with spinach or arugula for extra fiber and calcium. Add sliced almonds, canned mandarins, sliced avocado, raisins or dried cranberries, and a small amount of blue cheese crumbles. Top with choice of fish or meat and lightly toss with raspberry vinaigrette. Choose a whole-grain dinner roll for added complex carbohydrates.
Turkey chili provides much needed protein for our muscles. Sauté turkey burger in olive oil until browned. Add desired spices and minced garlic, then onions and peppers. Once soft, add canned tomatoes, black beans, and cream of celery soup. Stir, cover, and simmer for 30-45 minutes. Add frozen edamame and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Spice it up with hot sauce, and get creative by adding more of your favorite vegetables like frozen corn, zucchini, mushrooms, and even jalapenos.
Be prepared to eat well and fuel your body with plenty of water. Hydrating your body is just as or more important as consuming nutritious calories. When skiing at altitude your muscles need even more water than usual. Plan on drinking 40-50 ounces of water each day. Every time you have the opportunity to drink water, do it. Before you leave the hotel, house, or condo, at restaurants and water stations on the mountain, and especially after skiing.
"I got altitude sickness when I skied in Colorado one weekend, and I thought I was going to die," recalls Grant Conner of Philadelphia, Pa. "I made sure to eat well, but totally disregarded drinking water. It took much longer to recover from being dehydrated than not eating. I'll never do either again."
Don't skip a meal before a long day, and don't dehydrate yourself. You'll pay for it by skipping runs at the end of the day, or missing days by the end of your ski trip.