Trekking is exciting till you know how to keep yourself energized all the way. It requires a lot of energy to complete trekking and so, your body requires enough fuel to jazz up with the right food for trekking. While it is indeed exciting as you gear up for the challenging journey ahead in the group, it is equally challenging to maintain your energy. Your system will be in continuous need of food since it’s more of an exercise. At the same time, you cannot afford to eat too much while you are trekking, as this will slow you down.
So, how to maintain your diet while trekking?
Trekking is an adventure and hence, requires consumption of a lot of calories. Although it does not require rocket science to understand that fact, however, there are many who overdo things because they think that they are not served enough food. What we need to understand here is that we need to replenish the calories that are lost in the process and not get overloaded when there’s a lot more walking left. Therefore, one must make sure that your tummy is full with the right kind of foods. Let’s see what to eat while trekking in the below food tips we shared especially for you.
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What to Eat before Trekking
According to experts, you must make logical decisions on the intake of calories. While carbs are good for increased energy, you should make sure that you eat the right kind of carbs, for example, porridge/dahlia or oats make for the best food for trekking since it gives an instant boost. Porridge/dahlia, oats falls into the category of complex carbohydrates since these are known to break down slowly into your system and keep you going for hours. You can even have fruits, granola bars, dried fruits in your breakfast.
That being said, you must start with a filling healthy breakfast. However, if you are going for hiking towards the afternoon, you can have a healthy lunch. The lunch or breakfast can include whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, and some good quality protein, for instance, lean meat, eggs, nuts, or peanut butter. Along with a wholesome meal, it’s extremely important to drink ample water. This is to avoid dehydration while hiking at elevated heights.
Best Food for Trekking
Snacking every two hours is recommended during the trekking activity. This will keep you full at all times and save you from that untimely craving. Make sure that you carry mountain trail foods that are lighter in nature and compact to avoid burdening yourself with that extra baggage weight.
While you must grab some light snacks, you can also munch on fresh fruits like apples and pears, seeds, or veggies like carrots and celery. Additionally, you can also stock up some shredded wheat (spoon-sized), granola bars, and crackers as food for trekking and for that instant boost in energy.
Before we get to other aspects like things to carry while trekking, we must also keep a few things in mind.
- Avoid carrying pasta recipes in plastic containers, since pasta is not only a high-fat food, but the plastic container will capture more space than you ever wanted.
- Remember to refrigerate your pre-cooked food before going on a long hike.
- If you are cooking your meals on trek, carry the best backpacking cookware that is lightweight and a saviour during the treks.
- While you planning for your snacks, you should also keep a water bottle handy. It’s important to keep sipping on water, about 125 ml every 20 minutes to keep you hydrated as you hike.
Now, let’s take quick round-up of the energy food list.
1. Eat a healthy wholesome breakfast
As discussed earlier, eating a full and healthy breakfast is the best way to give an energetic start to your hiking. This will help you prep up for the day. However, it’s advisable to avoid those early morning caffeine shots to stay away from dehydration.
2. Keep some dry fruits handy
Dry fruits make for the best source of the right nutritional elements and are perfect as light snacks and perfect food for trekking. You can include almonds, cashews, raisins, walnuts, pistachios, dates, and apricots in your food kitty. These are rich in proteins, minerals, fibres, and vitamins. You can also expect anti-oxidants, Omega 3- fatty acids, and more from these dry fruits. So, stock up enough of these to keep you going for the rest of the day.
3. Say no to sugar candies
Sugar candies are a big no-no during trekking as they tend to cause a sore throat on heights. You should also avoid cream biscuits that cause the same effect. You can perhaps try an energy bar as food for trekking as these are calorie dense and provide the right nutrition. These bars are preferred due to the less sugar content, healthy option offers good nutrition, and are made of natural ingredients.
4. Drink plenty of water (4-5 Lt.)
Needless to mention how important is drinking water, especially during hiking. You should have at least 4 to 5 litres of water in the entire trekking process. Drinking enough water keeps you hydrated and keeps you off from getting cramps, however, this needs practice as we are otherwise not used to drinking so much water on a daily basis. Moreover, the oxygen in water compensates for the low oxygen level when you are gasping for air in the high altitudes.
5. Avoid proteins as they take a long time to get digested
Proteins take longer to get digested because the oxygen levels are low at high altitudes. Therefore, it’s best to avoid any non-vegetarian food such as lean meat or fish. Yes, you can eat eggs since it helps keep you off from sore muscles. It is also known to replace the muscle protein that has broken down. For proteins, you can eat stock up nuts and snack on them, these light snacks will give you right energy during the strenuous trekking activity. This is the best source of protein during your hiking activity.
6. Lunch and dinner must consist of carbohydrate-rich food
Carbohydrates take time to get digested and so, make for the best source of energy. It keeps you going for the day if you had the right carbs. You can also include whole-grains for the added energy. Overall you should consume about 50% to 65% essential carbs.
7. Keep off chocolate and energy bars from your luggage
Although some would prefer carrying chocolates and energy bars for that instant boost (also better than sugar candies!), however, these are best avoided due to the sugar content. These are made of sugar and corn syrup, and hence, may cause a reduction in the energy cycle and an overall unhealthy condition.
8. Sip on energy drinks
Stock up on these magic drinks as much as you can, as these turn out to be extremely useful for those long hiking activities. You can also stock up on glucose, salt and sugar to prepare those instant energy drinks on the way. These solutions are known to provide the required nutrients to the body. However, while you buy the energy drinks make sure that they come in sealed packs to avoid any contamination thereby, causing health issues.
9. Carry tea and coffee bags
While you should avoid any caffeine before breakfast, you can surely enjoy that cup of tea or coffee during your breakfast. Along with the essential things to carry while trekking, don’t miss out to carry tea bags, powdered milk, or instant coffee sachets for convenience. These can be useful for a refreshing break in the evening as well. You can prepare a cup for yourself any time you feel the need of that boost. Sipping on your favourite tea or coffee will help you relax and add up to your energy.
10. Eat peanut butter with bread
Wondering how peanut butter can be a healthy food for trekking? Yes, it’s an extremely important ingredient to carry on your hiking activity. Among the energy food list, peanut butter stands tall. While this makes for a delicious food option with some of it generously spread over a bread, it will also give you that instant boost for completing your trek. Peanut butter consists of healthy fats, calories that will provide you with the right energy for trekking. Also, it’s easy to carry and a much lighter option.
11. Keep clear of alcohol
If you want healthy food tips for trekking, then say no to alcohol! No form of alcohol should be consumed before or during the trekking activity. It is best known to cause dehydration resulting into AMS or Acute Mountain Sickness as you climb the heights. So, make sure you avoid alcohol for a healthy and energetic hike.
What to Eat after Your Trek
Once you are done with that hectic hike, it’s important to stuff yourself with the right foods within an hour and fuel up your body. Do not forget to finish with ample water. Having 500 ml water after you eat should be good.
Avoid certain food items
- Avoid any food items that includes high sugar levels like sugar candies,
- Junk foods like chips, burgers, or fries, as these take longer to get digested.
- Canned or tinned products since these do not contain any essential nutrients.
- Meat or chicken as these are high in fats and carbs that result in improper digestion.
You must also follow the basic hygiene by washing hands often, use of extra plates, keeping food items separate, and refrigerating food items below 40-degree Fahrenheit. Trekking is a fun activity that must be savoured with the right kind of foods and a healthy food habit before, during and after the activity. Make sure to prepare your body weeks before the trek by indulging in healthy eating. We hope you got a detailed view of the do’s and don’ts related to food, food habits and the food to carry while travelling while you are hiking. Make sure that you follow these health food tips to enjoy your hiking experience to the fullest.