KUSA - Here in Colorado, we love ski season. Not only is skiing a fun activity, but you can burn up to 500 calories an hour by doing it!

But horrendously unhealthy cafeteria food and endless après-ski beers can threaten your healthy vacation vibe, not to mention break the bank. The following are a few affordable meals and snacks to throw in your backpack with you while skiing to keep you fueled and healthy, without ending up with a $40 lunch tab.

Snacks:

  1. Portable fruit (apple, cuties, dried fruit) and sting cheese. Look for fruit that is sturdy and wont squish in your bag. This combo of carbs and protein is a great fuel to get you through your blue bird day. (Cost: $0.50)
  2. Hard-boiled eggs. This easy and healthy go-to snack is an easy way to get in lots of protein, real fast! (Cost: $.025/egg)
  3. Protein bars. Look for bars with less than 7 gm of sugar and more than 4 gm of protein. Some of my favorite brands include Kind and Quest. (Cost: $1-2.00/bar)
  4. Homemade trail mix. Put together a mix of your favorite whole grain cereal, dried fruit (just make sure it doesn’t have added sugars), and nuts. This healthy snack will help give you some much needed energy in a hurry when you are hitting the slopes (Cost: $1.50/serving)

Lunches:

  1. Soup. Aim for hearty soups with protein like lentil, black bean, or chicken noodle. Pack it hot in a thermos, or look for a lodge with a microwave you can use to heat it up. (Cost: $1.50)
  2. Sandwich or wrap. Stick to your basics like turkey and cheese or peanut butter and jelly (no sugar added) on whole grain bread or whole grain wrap. Bonus: these sandwiches taste just as good, if not better, when they get a little smashed in your bag. (Cost: $0.50)
  3. Tuna pack. These packs require no prep, and are a great way to squeeze in protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats on the slopes. They come ready-made with tuna, relish, and crackers! (Cost: $2.00)
  4. Oats and nut butter. Just add hot water (most lodges have a hot water spigot) and you’ve got yourself a treat to warm you up and energize you. Stir in a little peanut butter (I pack the pre portioned pouches for convenience) for the protein punch you need before hitting the slopes again. (Cost: $1.00)
  5. EVOL Burritos. They’ve got the right ratio of protein to carbs. Despite the fact they come in a plastic wrapper, they are made with organic ingredients, so they are almost “homemade.” Stick it in your backpack frozen, then just throw it into a microwave at the lodge once lunch time rolls around. (Cost: $1.50)

The biggest goal when packing food to ski is to look for foods with a good supply of carbohydrates to keep your muscles fueled all day, some salty foods, fruits, and nuts for electrolytes, and protein to keep your body feeling well fed and active. And of course you want whatever you pack to be somewhat light weight, low maintenance, and un-smashable (unless of course, it’s tasty smashed; i.e. the PBJ). It’s also very important to stay hydrated to avoid altitude sickness and dehydration, so don’t forget to pack your water bottle!

Lauren Ott, RD is a registered dietitian at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. Check out her website www.thedessertdietitian.com, Facebook page (Lauren Ott, Registered Dietitian), and Instagram @thedessertdietitian for nutrition tips and recipes!

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