Nutrition and Winter Sports

It’s February and the snow is here to stay! From skating to skiing, snowboarding to snowshoeing, let’s have a look at some special sport nutrition considerations when temperatures are below zero.


During the frigid winter months, we may not be as inclined to reach for cold water out on the slopes as we are when weather conditions are warm and balmy! According to Sports Dietitians of Australia, our thirst mechanisms are impaired when exposed to the cold (SDA, 2018). To decrease the risk of dehydration, individuals can keep a thermos full of warm water, broth or tea nearby. Adding soups to your day can be another great way to increase your fluid intake in a delicious way. Some individuals may drink less during their outdoor sport due to the thought of having to remove layers of winter clothing to go to the bathroom, which may also be far away. 


Iron plays a role in the delivery of oxygen to muscles via red blood cells. Athletes (especially women, teens, distance runners and vegetarians) should have their iron levels checked every year (DC, 2018). Training at high altitudes may increase iron needs due to higher red blood cell turnover (IOC, 2014). Iron is found in foods like meat, poultry and fish, as well as in legumes, seeds, whole grains and cooked dark green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a role in the maintenance of healthy bones as well as muscle, nerve and immune function (, 2018). It is produced when the sun hits our skin, so during Canadian winters we do not make much. Only a couple of foods naturally contain good amounts of vitamin D, including egg yolks and fish like salmon and tuna. Foods fortified with vitamin D include cow’s milk/soy beverage and margarine (DC, 2018).

Talk to your doctor or registered dietitian before taking any supplements and stay warm!


Dietitians of Canada (DC). (2018). Vitamins and Minerals for Athletes. Retrieved from

Sports Dietitians of Australia (SDA). (2018). Skiing. Retrieved from

Sports Nutrition, 1st Edition. Edited by Ronald J. Maughan. © 2014 International Olympic Committee (IOC). Published 2014 by Jon Wiley & Sons, Ltd. by Dietitians of Canada (DC). (2018). What you need to know about vitamin D. Retrieved from


Megan Jenkins