Winter sports are no joke: Not only do you need to fuel your body for your workout, but your body needs extra fuel to protect it in cold temperatures. 

During a winter workout — like for any workout — you need to fuel your body with the right nutrients and hydration. Winter sports include skiing and snowboarding as well as hiking, snowmobiling, ice fishing and, yes, even shoveling snow. 

While you might not consider snow shoveling a “winter sport,” it is vigorous physical activity (call us Captain Obvious). An hour of shoveling snow by hand can burn 400 to 600 calories — now, that’s a workout!

NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) recommends consistently consuming carbohydrates and protein before, during and after your winter workouts. 

Carbs and Protein Before Winter Workouts

Here’s what NASM recommends for fueling before your winter workouts:

  1. 3 hours before your workout, consume 300 calories of comprised of high carbs, moderate protein and a small amount of fat.
  2. 2 hours before, consume 200 calories comprised of carbs and protein plus 16 ounces of water. 
  3. 1 hour before, consume 100 calories of carbs, like a piece of fruit (which can also further hydrate you).
  4. Just before you head out, drink 8 ounces of water.

Those calories are just suggestions based on the average-sized person. Adjust your calories based on your height and weight.

What to Eat During and After Winter Sports

It’s not just during hot summer sports that it is important to stay hydrated; you need to drink plenty of liquids during your winter workouts, too. Drink 2 to 4 ounces of liquid every 15 minutes, depending on how vigorous your workout is. 

During and after your workout, protein is even more essential because it is key to build and repair muscle tissue. That’s one of the reasons we created Savage Jerky — we’re active year-round, and we wanted healthy protein-rich snacks that we can take with us. 

Best Snacks for Skiing

A skilled skier makes a run down the slope look graceful and effortless, as if gravity is doing all the work. Real skiers know it actually takes a lot of energy to ski. All the energy has to come from somewhere, which is where protein-packed snacks are often part of the skiers diet. 

The challenge with winter snacks on the go is that not every snack does well in the cold, plus you need something that won’t fall apart and get beaten up as you pursue your frozen adventures. 

Jerky is the perfect grab-and-go snack for skiers because it’s highly portable, lightweight and slips easily into pockets.  

What to Bring Snowshoeing

Snow shoeing is a vigorous winter activity that burns a ton of calories (500 to 700 calories an hour, depending on your size and physical fitness level). Unlike skiing, snow shoeing doesn’t require a lot of skill and technique, making it a great option if you’re new to winter sports. Just because it’s a bit easier doesn’t mean it doesn’t take a lot of energy, which means you’ll need high-protein snacks to hit the trail.

Snow shoers often carry lightweight backpacks, which can accommodate more than the skier’s suit. Try a wrap or a sandwich with oven-roasted turkey, lettuce, tomato and Bourbon Glaze Bacon Jerky. Scroll on for more sandwich and wrap ideas for winter snacks.

Best Foods for Winter Hike

Winter hikes can be a great way to see areas that get a bit too crowded in spring and summer, plus with the absence of leaves, you’ll more easily be able to spot birds, deer and other animals. 

For a winter hike, a homemade no-bake granola bar with beef jerky is the perfect on-the-go snack. Mix a variety of seeds (some for you, some for the birds), like pumpkin, hemp and sunflower. Seeds have a little plant-based protein, depending which type you get. Pumpkin, for example has 39g of protein in a cup. As a bonus, your crumbs might attract a few furry or feathered friends on the trail. 

Snack Ideas While Ice Fishing 

Yes, a good portion of fishing involves sitting. And waiting. And more sitting. But ice fishing truly is a highly physical activity — hiking to and from your spot, cutting holes and reeling in your catches. Plus all that shivering. 

While you’re packing up your gear for a day on the ice, may we suggest filling a thermos with Chicken and Dumplings done the Savage way? Tuck a few bags of premium beef jerky or bacon jerky in your gear bag, and you are all set for a day on the ice.

Snowmobile Lunch Ideas

For a day filled with snowmobiling, stews and soups in a hot thermos work well, including the Savage Chicken and Dumplings. A hearty soup or stew can give you protein and carbohydrates, both needed in the cold. Look for options with plenty of meat, beans or noodles to give you a nice ratio of nutrients. Add some diced beef jerky to any stew or soup for added flavor and protein.

Protein-Packed Winter Snacks 

Here are a few more “recipes” and ideas for winter athletes, whether your pleasure is on the ice, down the slopes, or through the snow.

Nut butters do thicken in the cold, but not so thick that you can’t eat it. Nut butters are good sources of protein and high in fat and calories, making them the perfect fuel for high-energy outdoor activities. They have long shelf lives and are easy to take with you. Justin’s nut butters, for example, come in single-serve snack packs. You really haven’t lived until you’ve tried a peanut-butter and Honey Blaze Bacon Jerky sandwich. 

Beef jerky is the best food for ski trips because it is high in protein and easy to eat on the go. It also has a long shelf life and is rugged, so you can toss it in with your gear and enjoy the same eating experience, no matter how much it gets tossed around. If you're going to bring your own lunch for skiing, Savage Jerky beef and bacon jerky both are excellent meats to use for wraps and sandwiches. Add a couple pieces of Maple Cayenne Uncured Bacon Jerky to a turkey and cheese sandwich for a mouth-watering club sandwich. 

Peanut butter balls are a fun way to get the protein, fat and calories you need. They also can be packed into resealable bags and shared with your fellow snow shoers and hikers. They can get beaten up a bit in your backpack, so they might be better for less extreme sports, like hiking and even snowmobiling.

Hard-boiled eggs contain about 75 calories, 7 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat and some essential vitamins and minerals. They are simple to prepare ahead of time, and can be peeled and tossed into a resealable bag for your trek. And, what would eggs be without bacon? Boring. HBEs pair nicely with bacon jerky.

Hummus can be a particularly good choice if you’re planning a few stops to enjoy the scenery. It has a healthy ratio of calories, fat and protein, so it provides just about all you need in a snack. To do hummus the Savage way, dice up one of your favorites — Lime & Garlic Mojo — and now you’ve got perfection.  

Tuna is lean and high in protein, and it is surprisingly easy to take with you. It can be eaten directly from the can or a single-serve pouch. You can enjoy it by itself, or bring crackers or bread to add some carbs and make it more of a meal. You can also pre-make tuna salad or tuna sandwiches for more variety. And, if you don’t mind one more jerky suggestion? Try a tuna sandwich with a few pieces of bacon jerky for added flavor.

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