Nutrition Plan For Beginner Hikers (Simple And Efficient)
Stay energized and healthy on the trail with this exemplary nutrition plan for beginner hikers. You are what you eat! Read on.
We all love hiking. That’s why we’re here, isn’t it?
However, especially if you’re a beginner hiker, you may have trouble figuring out a proper nutrition plan for your needs. If that’s the case for you, then you’ll love what’s about to follow. Search no more.
Actually, do look further – research never hurts, and you may always find something new. This list of the 7 best hiking meals may also interest you, for instance.
But still, let’s begin. There are some tips that you’d certainly find useful.
Preparing In Advance
Many factors will determine your final nutrition plan, so there’s no simple, one-size-fits-all solution. Such factors are:
- What your day will look like. Your body will have very different needs depending on your day – many daily miles on rugged terrain are more taxing than brief, comfortable strolls down a flat trail.
- How long your trip will be. Brief hikes or one-day trips are much less demanding than camping or multi-day trips.
- What your route will be. It’s much easier to ensure proper nutrition if your route includes towns, villages, or any place where food may be found – outside of your own backpack.
- What your group size will be. A smaller group and even solo hikes can be much easier to plan for, while larger groups (if they do share meals) can split the weight and cookware better.
- Your own size, weight, and nutritional needs. No two bodies are exactly the same. Both how well your body is adjusted to taxing activity and what your normal calorie intake is play a huge role.
A generic rule of thumb is that, typically, you will want around 500 to 1000 calories a day over what you normally eat. Given that the recommended daily calorie intake for an adult is 2000 to 2500, you’ll want to aim for roughly 2500 to 3500 calories a day.
This will still depend on all the factors above, but it’s an accurate starting point. For specifics, read on.
Before discussing meals, let’s address hydration. Competent authorities always stress that it is absolutely vital to stay hydrated during any demanding physical activity. This rule must naturally apply to hiking as well.
Hydration is absolutely essential.
It’s a good idea to drink about 4 cups, or roughly 14 to 22 ounces of water before a hike – ideally, you’d rather do so about 2 hours before you begin.
Not only will you have less to carry this way, but you will also ensure that you start your hike properly hydrated.
Then, make sure you drink about 2 cups of fluid every hour while on the hike – or about 6 to 12 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes, if you prefer.
If you cannot be sure that you can carry that much due to your trip’s length, make sure your route will get you where there is access to clean drinking water.
Many prefer taking hydration backpacks because it’s easier to drink water on the go. Take care to stay hydrated even if you’re not feeling thirsty.
Thirst is, in fact, an early symptom of dehydration. If you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already about 3% dehydrated.
This will decrease your endurance and make your trip harder than it should be, so it’s always best to avoid it if you can help it.
After the hike is over, continue drinking similar amounts for a few hours to make sure your body fully recovers and re-hydrates.
A good breakfast is always a great way to start a demanding day, and your nutrition plan should reflect this.
Ideally, you should eat about one hour before hitting the trail and aim for 300 to 500 calories (or more, depending on your plan).
This will ensure your body has enough fuel to begin, but also that it has enough time to digest the food before you do. A good start is a reassurance that you will be in a better position to receive the benefits of hiking more fully.
Your breakfast options should be high in carbohydrates, average in protein, and low in fiber and fat. Some such options can be oatmeal, perhaps with dried fruit, granola, scrambled eggs and cheese, and fresh fruit, among others
Here’s a short and quite informative video that gives good ideas for a delicious and strong breakfast.
Fresh fruit and energy bars can also be a good option if you don’t have time to sit down and eat comfortably.
A typical hiking lunch tends to be easy to prepare and shouldn’t need a stove. Some hikers prefer to consume snacks throughout the day instead, and that’s also an option to keep your momentum.
But if you prefer to stand around and have a proper lunch, you could aim for around 300 to 500 calories as well.
Food that is easy to pack and doesn’t take much preparation, if any, is ideal for your nutrition plan: crackers, biscuits, tortillas, dense bread, and cheese are good solutions. Tahini, honey, jam, hummus, and other such options should also be considered.
If you eat meat, you may also want to add dried meats, salami, or tuna, and perhaps condiments. If you’re a vegetarian instead, this list of vegetarian hiking meals may interest you.
Dinner is probably the one meal where you’re most likely to be comfortable. The day is over, and you can make up for lost calories. 700 to 900 calories should be your aim here, and this is the meal where you can best satisfy your taste buds.
Pasta and cheese make take a nutritious dinner.
Rice, pasta, lentils, mashed potatoes, noodles, dried vegetables, cheddar or gouda cheese.
If you eat meat, you can also consider jerky, salami, and other meats, as well as fish like sardines, salmon, and tuna.
You will still want to keep in mind that your meals shouldn’t require too much fuel to prepare, since it’s a precious resource.
At this point, you may be wondering why all 3 meals combined only amount to 1300 to 1900 calories in this nutrition plan.
The answer is simple – snacks. The body can only process so many calories an hour while exercising, so ideally, you’ll want to eat something every hour.
Snacks are your best, regular source of needed calories.
Doing so will keep your energy levels steady while not stressing the stomach too much, and that snacks can be packed easily only helps.
Make sure that you consume at least a few high-calorie snacks, such as Snickers bars, M&Ms bags, and energy bars, instead of just fruit – the goal is to make up for the calories that main meals can’t afford to have.
Your average such snack should have around 200 to 250 calories at least, so it should be easy to reach your desirable daily calorie intake that way.
Many believe that hiking food is often tasteless and boring as a tradeoff for being lightweight and easy to pack. That’s far from truth.
There are meals that you can fully enjoy just like any normal food. The key is to inform yourself and bring the right combination of tasty and nutritive repast based entirely on your personal preference. Now enjoy your hike! And don’t forget to bring a hammock.
Best Foods to Eat While Hiking
Whether you are taking a quick afternoon hike or planning a week-long hiking excursion, choosing the right food to bring on a hike can help you feel great to tackle any trail. The best foods to eat while hiking will serve as fuel that gets you started, keep you going and help you recover after a strenuous hiking trip. When planning food for long hikes, look for lightweight, filling and nutritious snacks and meals to power you through even the most challenging hikes or backpacking trips.
Planning Hiking Food for a Day Trip
The best foods to take hiking are those that provide ample energy and help you feel full without weighing you down. Instead of fatty or sugary foods that can make you crash or feel lethargic, choose foods with complex carbohydrates and proteins for energy that lasts all day long. If you begin your day with a healthy and protein-packed meal, you can power through a long day hike by enjoying small healthy snacks every few hours.
Here are a few considerations for planning food for day hikes:
- Focus on lasting energy: The best foods for hiking will be nutrient-dense and provide lasting energy. Rather than sugars that only offer a quick boost of energy, choose proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats that are digested more slowly and release a steady supply of energy.
- Enjoy something fresh: When choosing food for day hikes, you are not limited to non-perishable foods as you may be on a multi-day hiking trip. Bring along fresh fruits or vegetables as well as cheese for a fast and refreshing trail snack or enjoy your favorite sandwich for lunch.
- Keep it cool: For shorter or less challenging day hikes, you may choose to bring a small cooler for even more hiking food options. Enjoy cold pasta salad, a refreshing beverage or other perishable foods when you bring a cooler and ice pack.
- Stay hydrated: Drink water before your hike and pack enough water to last the entire day. Remember to drink water even if you do not feel thirsty, especially on hotter days. Staying hydrated will also keep you energized and feeling great.
- Bring a little extra: Determine how much food and water to pack based on how long and how strenuous the hike is and then pack a little bit extra. You will be exerting energy all day, so be prepared with enough water and snacks to keep your body fueled.
Planning Hiking Food for a Multi-Day Trip
If you are planning a multi-day hiking trip, choosing compact and lightweight hiking foods is even more critical. When you are covering miles of trails each day, every bit of added weight in your pack makes a difference. You will also want to choose foods that take up as little valuable space in your pack as possible. Choosing nutritious and filling foods is also vital for powering through long or challenging hiking trips. The best food for long hikes will be lightweight, small, easy-to-eat and healthy.
- Choose lightweight foods: Reduce weight in your pack by choosing light and compact foods, such as dehydrated or freeze-dried meals or other dry foods and snacks. Repackage bulky products into plastic baggies to further save space in your pack.
- Pack the right amount: Estimate how many calories you will burn each day by considering your weight, the weight of your pack, how challenging the hike will be and how long you plan to hike each day. If you want to maintain your weight while hiking, pack enough food to make up all the calories you burn each day. However, you should always pack a little bit extra in case you get behind schedule and are on the trail longer than expected. If you are hiking in cold weather, your body will also need more calories to stay warm.
- Focus on good nutrition: Choose high-protein foods and complex carbohydrates to energize you during your backpacking trip. You will burn a lot of calories each day, so pack foods with high amounts of calories, protein, fiber, carbohydrates and electrolytes to replenish your body. Foods that offer stable energy will also keep you feeling full without weighing you down or leading to a crash.
- Opt for nutrient-dense foods: Pick foods that provide a lot of calories and nutrients while taking up the least amount of space. The best foods for backpacking will have a high calorie-to-ounce ratio.
- Plan easy-to-prepare meals: After a long day on the trail, you will be grateful for a warm meal that is easy to prepare. Plan meals that can be made in one pot or do not require utensils at all, like dehydrated meals, rice or instant noodles. These fast and filling meals also require minimal clean-up so you can get the rest you need to tackle the next day on the trail.
- Minimize cooking tools and utensils: To keep your pack as light as possible, plan meals that require minimal cooking tools and utensils. A simple pot can be used to boil water for dehydrated meals, make rice or pasta and even make coffee for a morning energy boost.
- Pack foods you enjoy: With so many options of lightweight trail foods and dehydrated meals, you can always find backpacking foods you enjoy. At the end of a long day of hiking, you will be grateful for the comfort of a delicious meal.
Best Hiking Foods for Multi-Day Trips
The best food for backpacking will be lightweight, compact, healthy and delicious. Here are a few types of food to consider packing for your next hiking trip:
- Fresh foods: Because you will be eating non-perishable foods for the rest of your hiking trip, you may want to pack some perishable foods to enjoy on the first day of your hike. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be a refreshing start to your hiking adventure.
- Cheese: Packed with protein and calories, cheese can add a richness to almost any meal. It’s available in numerous varieties and keeps well for many days if managed wisely.
- Dry foods: Dry foods like rice, instant noodles and soup mixes are some of the best lightweight hiking foods and take up very little space in your pack. These easy-to-make foods can also become creative meals when combined with dried vegetables, beans or spices.
- Food packs: Instead of bulky and heavy canned food, look for your favorite canned foods in lighter packages. Packs of tuna or salmon can provide healthy protein and are ready-to-eat. You will also be able to leave your can opener at home.
- Dehydrated or freeze-dried foods: Although somewhat more expensive than other options, dehydrated or freeze-dried meals offer excellent convenience. Simply heat water and then enjoy a filling and calorie-dense meal.
- Spices: Some backpacking meals can be a bit bland, but adding spices can make them much more enjoyable. Bring your favorite spices to cook with at home, such as salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil, cayenne pepper or cinnamon, and add them to your hiking meals. Pack your spices in plastic baggies to save space, but don’t forget to label them.
- Olive oil: Dense in calories and fat, olive oil is an excellent source of energy. Try drizzling olive oil on tuna or crackers or mixing it in pasta or rice dishes for added flavor and moisture. If packing light for a backpacking trip, bring a small bottle of olive oil in a plastic baggie so it does not spill.
- Water filter or purification tablets: When planning a multi-day hike, you will not have enough room in your pack to bring bottled water for the whole trip, so remember to bring some water filtration method instead. A small portable water filter or water purification tablets are both great options.
- Powdered beverage mixes: Adding powdered drink mixes to your water can provide extra electrolytes to keep you feeling refreshed and energized. You can also use protein powder as a simple way to consume more protein during a hiking trip.
- Healthy, Nutritious Bars: Having a couple nut or seed based bars for quick and easy sustenance while hiking between camps is an excellent way to keep your energy up on big hikes. One of our favorites is a bar created for adventurous activities: Huppy Bar.
Recommended Foods Before Your Hiking Trip
Before you head out on your hiking trip, start your day with a filling and healthy meal. Whether you are going on a short day hike or heading out for a long trip, fueling up with carbohydrates and proteins will help you tackle any mountain. Here are a few of the best hiking foods to eat before you hit the trail:
Oatmeal is high in fiber and full of healthy carbohydrates, making it an excellent choice for lasting energy. If you want to up your game with extra protein, consider adding protein powder or mixing peanut butter into your oatmeal. Sprinkle nuts, seeds or dried fruit on top of your oatmeal and top it off with honey for a delicious and filling breakfast.
If you are on a more extended backpacking trip, instant oatmeal or grits is a fast and easy breakfast option. Some oatmeal packets also serve as a bowl so you do not need to clean any dishes before heading out for the day.
Packed with protein and easy to prepare, eggs are another great option for a pre-hike breakfast. A single large egg has about 77 calories and 6 grams of protein, making it extremely nutrient-dense. Eggs are also rich in B vitamins and amino acids that aid in energy production. The amino acid leucine, which is found in a high concentration in eggs, also supports muscle recovery and can be beneficial for endurance training. When preparing for a long hike, incorporating eggs in your diet may help build your endurance and boost your strength.
While you are on a multi-day backpacking trip, powdered eggs can be a great alternative to regular eggs. This popular trail breakfast is lightweight and can be prepared quickly. If you brought along your spices, you can enjoy a delicious and warm breakfast with dehydrated eggs.
Fruits that are high in carbohydrates and full of delicious natural sugars make a great snack during a hike. Instead of reaching for a candy bar, choose a crisp apple that offers a slow release of energy with about 25 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of fiber.
Bananas are another perfect food to eat before a hike as they provide healthy carbohydrates and are rich in potassium and vitamin B6. Bananas may even be as effective as a carbohydrate drink for delivering energy during endurance workouts.
For a well-balanced meal before a hike, add fruit to your morning oatmeal or mix it into a bowl of Greek yogurt. Yogurt is an excellent source of protein to pair with carbohydrate-rich fruit.
Fruit juices often contain a lot of processed sugars, so choose fresh fruits whenever possible. If you are on a multi-day hiking trip, consider starting your day with a serving of dried fruit. Dried fruit can also be a delicious addition to your instant oatmeal. Look for dried or freeze-dried fruits that do not contain added sugars for the best boost of healthy energy without a sugar crash.
Like fruits, many vegetables also contain healthy complex carbohydrates. Sweet potatoes are a carbohydrate- and fiber-rich vegetable that also contains 50 percent of your daily recommended dose of manganese per serving. Manganese is a mineral that aids in metabolism and helps your body break down carbohydrates. Other great veggies to enjoy before a hike include carrots, dark leafy greens and beets. Carrots are a perfect choice for a longer backpacking trip as they can last longer without being refrigerated.
5. Nut Butters
Nut butters are an excellent source of protein and fiber for healthy energy and muscle strength. Nut butters are available in many different varieties including almond, cashew, pecan and classic peanut butter, so you can find your favorite flavor. Nut butters can be spread on whole grain toast or mixed into your morning oatmeal for a perfect combination of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
For long backpacking adventures, nut butters are available in compact and easy-to-eat packages, or you can toss a whole jar in your pack. You may also opt to munch on plain nuts and seeds instead.
6. Lean Meats
Lean meats, such as poultry or fish, provide a protein punch without excess fat. Protein is an important macro-nutrient for boosting your metabolism and helping build and repair your muscles. When backpacking for a long time or tackling challenging peaks, your muscles will thank you for the support.
For a long backpacking trip when bringing fresh meats is not possible, look for jerky made from turkey, salmon or other lean meats.
Before embarking on a long hike, a bowl of whole grain pasta can be a great way to stock up on carbohydrates. Mix in your lean meats and vegetables for a balanced and protein-packed meal. Choose a light pasta sauce instead of creamy cheese sauce and keep your portion a reasonable size. While pasta provides excellent energy, too many carbohydrates may end up weighing you down instead.
Recommended Foods During Your Hiking Trip
If you have eaten a good meal before your hike, you should feel energized for a long time. However, it is still important to refuel your body during your hike. Pack enough food to enjoy a small snack about every two hours. By regularly supplying your body with nutrients, you can stay energized throughout your hike.
The best foods to bring on a hike will be easy to eat without cooking. Especially if you are on a multi-day hike, you will be grateful to enjoy a quick lunch without stopping and unloading your pack. Here are some of the best foods to eat while hiking:
- Nutrition bars: Nutrition or energy bars are compact and can offer a large dose of protein and carbohydrates. Look for bars that contain vitamins and minerals to refuel your body, as well as healthy fats. Choose nutrition bars that contain primarily natural ingredients without any added sugars to enjoy the greatest benefit.
- Energy chews or gels: Energy chews or gels can offer the same benefits as nutrition bars but take up less space in your pack and can be faster to eat. Energy chews often taste like gummy candies and can also have added nutrients and electrolytes. Energy gels and chews are great for a quick boost of calories during an extended backpacking trip.
- Fresh fruit and veggies: Fresh fruits and vegetables are a healthy snack for day hikes or the first day of a backpacking trip. Toss some carrots or celery in your pack for a refreshing treat as you tackle the mountain.
- Dried fruits and veggies: Dried or freeze-dried fruits and vegetables are perfect for backpacking trips when your pack space is limited. Dried fruits can taste like candy without the unhealthy processed sugars and can be a good source of vitamins and minerals. Seaweed is a perfect dried vegetable option as it is super lightweight, crispy and delicious.
- Trail mix: Trail mix is a classic hiking snack that provides protein and healthy fats. If you have a sweet tooth, toss some dark chocolate or dried fruit in your trail mix or stick to seeds and nuts if you prefer savory snacks.
- Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds provide healthy fats, a high concentration of protein and excellent calorie-per-ounce ratio, making them one of the best foods for hiking. Enjoy your nuts and seeds in granola bars or nut butters or simply munch on them plain.
- Jerky: Great for long distance hikes, jerky takes up very little space in your pack but provides a lot of protein. Jerky is available in many different types of meat — including turkey, salmon, beef and venison — as well as almost any flavor to suit your taste.
- Tuna or salmon packets: Instead of bringing canned fish on your backpacking trip, pack lightweight pouches of poultry, tuna or salmon. These packets are available in single servings, making them a simple and quick protein boost.
- Pork rinds: Pork rinds are a great source of protein and make a delicious hiking snack. They can also offer a light and crunchy texture, while many other backpacking foods are much denser.
- Hummus: Packed with calories, carbohydrates, fiber and protein, hummus is a healthy and energizing hiking snack. Hummus goes great with fresh veggies or can be spread on crackers, tortillas or bagels.
- Cheese: Like many of these recommended foods, cheese is nutrient- and calorie-dense as well as a great source of protein. Cheese pairs well with fresh fruits and vegetables, jerky or crackers for an easy snack or can be added to almost any meal for extra richness and flavor.
At the end of a day hike, you will most likely return to your campsite or head back home, but during a backpacking trip, you will end each day on the trail. For multi-day hiking trips, plan healthy and filling meals for dinner to replenish your body and help rebuild your muscles. While you will still be limited to foods you can bring in your backpack, dinner is when you can enjoy a warm meal cooked over the fire.
Here are some backpacking food ideas to inspire you for cooking dinners on the trail:
- Instant noodles or rice: Fast and simple to prepare, instant noodles are a popular hiking meal. Rice is another great option that can be spiced up with vegetables and seasonings. Noodles and rice are both high in carbohydrates and are fairly easy to clean up when your meal is finished.
- Couscous: Couscous cooks even more quickly than rice or noodles and is high in fiber and carbohydrates. You can also enjoy its unique texture and create your own recipes by tossing in your favorite spices.
- Soup mix: Soup mixes are available in a wide range of flavors and can be prepared quickly with hot water. Soups with meat-based broth can also offer additional protein as well as sodium.
- Dried veggies: Dried vegetables are a great way to add more vitamins and minerals to your hiking meals. Mix dried vegetables into your noodles, rice, couscous or soup for improved taste and health benefits.
- Lentils: These compact legumes are full of protein, fiber and iron and can be cooked in your rice or added to couscous.
- Dried beans: Like lentils, beans are full of protein and other nutrients. They can fit easily in your pack and provide a great base for a meal. Black beans and refried beans can be made quickly by adding boiling water.
- Freeze-dried meals: Although often more expensive than other hiking foods, freeze-dried meals offer the most convenience and are available in many different flavors.
Recommended Foods After Your Hiking Trip
When you exercise, such as going on a hike, your body uses its glycogen stores for energy. Some proteins in your muscles are also broken down when you work out. After you finish exercising, your body must replenish its glycogen stores and repair its muscle proteins. Eating certain foods after exercising can expedite this process and help your body repair itself after a hard hike.
The best foods to eat after a hike are those that are high in carbohydrates and proteins. Eating high-protein foods supplies amino acids that help your body rebuild its muscle proteins while eating high-carbohydrate foods aids in replenishing glycogen stores. Eating carbohydrates is particularly important in endurance training, such as long hikes. Your body can rebuild its glycogen and muscle proteins better following exercise, so aim to eat a meal about 45 minutes after a strenuous hike.
When planning a meal for the end of your day hike, you have a lot more flexibility because you are not limited to what you can fit in your backpack. A few great options for meals to eat after a hike include:
- Rice or pasta
- Potatoes or sweet potatoes
- Leafy greens
- Lean meats
- Greek yogurt
- Nuts or nut butter
Keep a cooler in your car with a prepared post-hike meal or stop at a restaurant on the way home. Just be careful not to go overboard — while it may be tempting to stop at your favorite burger joint, you will feel much better after enjoying a healthy and filling meal instead.
Plan Your Next Hiking Trip With Wildland Trekking
If you would rather not bother with the details of backcountry food planning or want to enjoy amazing backcountry cuisine, consider planning an all-inclusive hiking trip with Wildland Trekking. You can explore hiking destinations across the country and around the world, and we will take care of all the arrangements. Choose your destination and trip style (variety of hiking and backpacking trips and tours), and we will provide top-of-the-line gear and an exceptional certified guide to lead the way and keep you safe. Wildland Trekking even offers customized meals to suit your dietary preferences and ensure you eat well on your hiking adventure.
Contact us to learn more about our hiking and backpacking trips, or book a trip below.
Wildland Trekking Hiking Adventures
As the world’s premier hiking and trekking tour operator, Wildland believes in connecting people to fantastic environments in amazing new ways. To learn more about our guided backpacking trips, llama treks, portered trips, camping tours, inn-based tours and more, please visit our website or connect with one of our Adventure Consultants: 800-715-HIKE
Nutrition For Hiking: 8 Tips You Should Know
Are you a passionate hiker who can’t wait to embark on a new hiking trip? Or just a novice at hiking who’s still learning about this amazing activity? Well, it doesn’t matter as there are some things everyone interested in hiking should know! Of course, we’re talking about nutrition, so make sure to stay with us if you want to learn something new today. Here are eight useful tips about nutrition for hiking you should know if you want to raise your energy levels and boost your performance during a hiking trip.
If that’s exactly what you need, keep on reading and you’ll find answers to the most frequently asked questions! From the importance of nutrition and establishing your dietary needs to a list of foods you should and shouldn’t eat before, during, and after a hike, you’ll find everything you’re curious about (and more) in the article below. Enjoy!
First of all, why is nutrition important when it comes to hiking?
Even though it probably seems a bit redundant, we must say that proper nutrition is essential when it comes to all types of physical activity – including hiking. This is true no matter if you’re an experienced hiker or just a beginner at this activity. Choosing the right foods to bring on a hike is crucial if you want to feel great and tackle any trail.
Needless to say, the foods we eat are the fuel that gets us started. They give us enough strength and boost our energy levels for the upcoming sweat session. Apart from that, these will keep you going during a hiking trip and help you recover faster after a strenuous hike. However, you should be extremely careful when it comes to the foods you’ll eat during a hike. This is exactly why you should figure out your dietary needs and preferences before anything else!
How can I figure out my dietary needs and preferences?
Not knowing your dietary needs can be a huge problem during any physical activity, and hiking is no exception either. Truth be told, no one can know your food preferences and dietary needs better than you do. This is why you need to pay extra attention to every single detail regarding the food you eat during a hike.
Of course, you should always practice your trail diet before you go hiking. This is one of the best ways to get ready for the upcoming physical activity and prepare your body for it. Also, make sure to consider your specific food requirements as well. Did you know that some of the most common food allergens are peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, sesame, and soy? That’s right, so stay away from these if you had any type of allergic reaction to them in the past!
What should I eat before a hike?
When it comes to the foods you should and shouldn’t eat before a hike, there are certain rules you must bear in mind. First of all, you should remember that carbs are essential before any physical activity. So, if you’re up for a brisk morning hike, make sure to have energizing breakfast before it. Your breakfast should include anything from eggs and oatmeal to whole-grain cereal without artificially added sugars or flavor enhancers.
Low-fat yogurt, brown rice, whole-grain toast, and pasta are also fantastic options, as well as all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables. As for the foods you should skip before a hike, there’s greasy fast food that’s rich in empty calories in the first place. Even though it tastes good, it often has zero nutritional value. Besides that, deep-fried foods are full of unhealthy fats that’ll slow you down and cause a mid-hike energy crash!
What should I eat during a hike?
Snacking throughout a hike is as equally important as fueling your body before it. This is crucial especially if you’re an experienced hiker who goes on a new hiking adventure every single day. If longer hiking trips and multiple-day hikes are your cups of tea, make sure to plan out every single snack throughout the day.
Of course, don’t skip your regular meals either. You should snack at least once an hour, so bear this timetable in mind so that your body stays nourished. Did you know that Grand Canyon National Park Service recommends eating double your regular intake of carbs and salty foods when going on such an intense hike? That is right, so don’t forget to bring your favorite trail mix, peanut butter, energy bars, and other amazing snacks that’ll raise your energy levels. These are true hiking essentials you must have in your backpack!
What should I eat after a hike?
Speaking of nutrition after a hike, you should go for foods rich in protein and complex sugars. For example, many people enjoy a good old protein shake after a physical activity of any kind. If you’re one of those people, too, be sure to bring your trusty protein shaker bottle. Just prepare all the dry ingredients in advance, so the last step is adding water to the mixture.
Also, you can prepare an entire meal and leave it in a car cooler. Grilled chicken breasts with some fresh vegetables are never a bad choice. Of course, visiting your favorite restaurant on the way home is another great option. Make sure to pick a protein-packed meal instead of junk food and you’ll do a great job. Just refuel within one hour after your hike and you’ll be more than fine!
How important is hydration?
Apart from proper nutrition, sufficient water intake is another factor you must consider when going on a hike. It doesn’t matter if you’re going for a quick 1-hour hike around your neighborhood or a long hiking trip in the mountains – you must bring at least one water bottle in your backpack. Hitting the trail when you’re not hydrated enough should be avoided at all costs.
In fact, drinking around 1 liter of water per 3 km of walking distance is what you should go for. Of course, no one says that you should chug an entire bottle of water at once. Instead, try to take frequent, smaller sips – even if you don’t feel thirsty at the moment. Did you know that thirst is often a sign that your body is already dehydrated? Don’t let that happen and drink water regularly!
How much food to bring is enough food?
Another important thing you need to figure out is the quantity of food you should bring on your hiking trip. This can get quite tricky, particularly if you’re just a beginner at hiking and don’t know what it looks like. Well, the first mistake many people make is over packing on hiking food. They often stick to the ‘better too much than too little’ rule, but it isn’t the case when it comes to hiking.
And why is that? It’s because too much food in your backpack can take a toll on your legs and energy levels. Carrying too much weight on your shoulders will make you waste your energy faster than usual. Also, you won’t be able to eat everything you brought, which is what you should avoid. Instead, bear your dietary needs in mind and you’ll know how much food you should bring on your hiking trip!
What types of food to avoid in general?
Speaking of the kinds of food you should avoid when hiking, there are several categories you should bear in mind. The first one is cheese. Even though it can make any dish better, the truth is that cheese is high in fat, making it slowly digest in your stomach. It’s highly likely that eating cheese will make you feel like you have a brick in your stomach, so make sure to avoid it at all costs.
However, conventional candy bars should be skipped as well. It’s because they can cause your blood sugar to spike immediately, which will eventually result in a massive energy crash. If you need something sweet, go for energy bars or fresh fruit instead. You should also avoid carbonated drinks as these can make you feel super bloated afterward. Just stick to cold water and you’ll do a great job for your body while hiking!
Why should I go hiking after all?
● It helps you relax and stay calm
If you need a reason to start hiking, you must know that it has amazing health benefits in the first place. It can keep your mind sharp and help you think clearly, which is what many people need daily. This is because millions of people have full-time jobs that leave them almost no free time just for themselves.
No doubt, when you’re unable to relax and unwind, you’re likely to become very anxious and stressed out. As we all know, stress is the number one cause of many diseases in the world, right? To prevent that, be sure to go for a walk at least half an hour every single day. It’ll get your heart rate up, work out your lungs, and help you feel much stronger and even younger. If that sounds great, give hiking a fair shot and you won’t regret it!
● It’s a great way to stay physically active
Needless to say, hiking is a fantastic way to stay physically active, too. Everyone is raving about the importance of physical activity these days, and you know what? It is truly important if you want to stay as fit, healthy, and youthful as possible. Hiking is a great option for all people who aren’t able to take part in other activities due to some health concerns.
For example, if you have an injured knee, you won’t be able to head to the gym and go for an intense cardio workout. To stay physically active, you should give hiking a try instead. It’s a low-impact activity that won’t put your knees under a lot of pressure. That’s exactly what makes it so outstanding. So, grab your comfy sneakers, healthy snacks, water bottle, and tiny life-saving tools, and hit the trail right away!
● It allows you to connect with nature
Hiking is an activity that takes place outdoors only, which is what makes it beyond perfect for all people who want to connect with nature once again. As mentioned above, our jobs and daily responsibilities often make us part ways with what’s important in life. Many people’s families suffer a lot because they don’t have enough time to enjoy each other’s company.
We no longer know how it is to sit in nature, surrounded by nothing else than grass, trees, and clouds. If this is what you miss, take a day off and go hiking with your loved ones. It doesn’t matter where you’ll go, as long as you’re together. This type of activity is a perfect way to unwind and spend quality time with the people you love most. This is a benefit that mustn’t be overlooked, so bear it in mind and you’ll do a great thing!
As you can tell, there are many essential things you need to know about proper nutrition and why hiking is so beneficial in general. First of all, you must understand why nutrition is so important when it comes to hiking. You should also be able to figure out your dietary needs and preferences, as well as what types of food to eat before, during, and after hiking.
Besides that, you must remember that hydration is vital here, too. Packing the right amount of food is crucial, so don’t go overboard with it. Also, bear in mind the types of food you should avoid on a hiking trip. When you remember all that and understand the overall benefits of hiking, we’re sure that you’ll enjoy your hiking trips more than ever before. It’s a promise, so go for it and you’ll see what we were talking about!
Contributor: Nina Simons
Nina is a lifestyle blogger, yoga aficionado, and travel enthusiast with a distinctive taste for home decor. She’s passionate about learning new things and sharing meaningful ideas. In her free time, she loves to design clothes and furniture. If you wanna see what she’s up to you can find her on: https://twitter.com/NinArtSimons“
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