Dinner: Make it a Good Recovery Meal


This Issue: Dinner that will re-build muscles after a hard day on the ski hill 

Swiss-trained chef Marcel Holzherr has run critically acclaimed restaurants in Canmore and Banff Alberta, been a private chef at a BC heli-ski lodge and run cooking classes for athletes to help them make good nutritional choices. His ability to cater to athletes’ unique dietary needs led to his role as chef for Canada’s alpine ski team at the 2002 Salt Lake City, 2006 Turin, and 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. In 2014, he’ll be heading to Sochi to cook for Canada’s cross-country team.

Marcel has previously shared his ski-day nutrition tips with Snow Sports Canada readers: “Food to Fuel Your Ski Day” , he adds his thoughts on a nutritious dinner, complete with his own recipes.


The same rules of thumb that guide your meals during the ski day also apply to dinner: you need protein to re-fire your cells and rebuild your muscles. If you’re skiing again the next day it’s a good idea to avoid heavy red meat and stick with light proteins from chicken, turkey or fish; they’re easier to digest. If you’re craving red meat, keep the portion size small – a 5-6 ounce steak or piece of lamb is appropriate. Try to eat early, by 6 or 7 pm, so that you’ve got more time to digest.

Along with your protein, add some carbs in the form of whole grains, brown rice or potatoes. Marcel uses only organic grains and says they’ll fill you up more and stay with you longer, giving you energy without large portions. This is helpful with kids who don’t tend to eat a lot. Carbs are an important part of your post-ski meal, because they’ll be turned into sugar by your body, giving you endurance and energy for the next day on the hill. For vegetables, add a tossed salad or roasted root vegetables.

Below is one of Marcel’s suggested dinner menus, complete with the recipes he’s personally developed and prepared for the national teams he’s worked with:

Buffalo Mozzarella Chicken Breast served with Spelt Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce

Serves 4
4 free run chicken breasts

Salt, pepper, paprika

Buffalo mozzarella


50 ml extra virgin olive oil

10 garlic cloves

50 g fresh basil

10 ripened fresh vine tomatoes

Salt, pepper

To make sauce: Cook finely chopped garlic at a medium to low temperature in a frying pan in the olive oil. Add the finely chopped tomatoes and chopped basil and let simmer for five minutes. Add 100 ml water and let simmer until all water is evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on spelt or whole grain spaghetti noodles.

Spice the chicken breast with salt, pepper and paprika then grill. When the chicken is done, place it into the tomato sauce, add sliced buffalo mozzarella to the breast and bake it for three minutes at 450F.

Serve with spelt pasta cooked al dente. Spelt pasta is a high quality carbohydrate our athletes need, especially for longer distance races.

Sautéed Vegetables

Serves 4
1 big beet

3 medium carrots

100 g green beans

1 celery root

1/4 red onion

3 garlic cloves

25 ml extra virgin olive oil

Salt, pepper

Wash and peel the root vegetables then cut into cubes or strips. Fry the chopped garlic in extra virgin olive oil at medium to low temperature for a minute, then add sliced onion and all the other vegetables. Sauté for 10 minutes. If veggies are still too raw, add a little water, cover the pan and steam them until they are crisp!