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Nutrition on Hiking Trips
Efficient Food Management Tips for Hiking Vacations
To be able to enjoy a hiking trip to the fullest, it is important to eat the right kind of foods – not just on the trail, but from the day before itself. Since hiking involves long stretches of constant physical activity, eating the wrong kinds of foods can make one feel heavy and sluggish, making walking difficult and uncomfortable, often also causing stitches and stomach cramps. Ideal foods for a hiking trip – whether it’s an easy family adventure vacation or a challenging hike with friends – would be foods that satisfy feelings of hunger without making the body feel heavy, and are capable of providing high levels of nourishment and energy.
Nutrition Tip – for the Day Before a Hiking Trip
Prepare the body for the hike by avoiding fatty or highly spiced food that can place a strain on the digestive system. Rather, opt for a nutritious, fibre-rich balanced meal that combines a good mix of proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins. Eat only till comfortably full. Avoid a high carb meal as this is likely to get digested rapidly, resulting in early-morning hunger just before the hike.
On the morning of the hike, eat a moderate breakfast of carbs and protein like eggs and cereal, with enough fibre to stay in the stomach for a while and enough carbs to provide energy for the activity ahead. Some fruit would be good.
Carry High-Fibre, High-Energy Foods for Lightweight Hiking
It’s equally important to carry the right food on the hike itself. Since all stuff on a hiking vacation usually travels in a backpack, the lighter the food carried, the better. Dry, high-fibre protein snacks are best for the purpose, providing energy without the feeling of heaviness. Nuts, trail mixes and granola bars pack in the energy, are easy to carry and can be eaten on the go if need be.
If a picnic lunch is on the cards, think again of filling and easy-to-carry foods. Sandwiches are fine, but need to have substantial filling. Avoid spice and fats – best options are proteins and fibre-rich foods.
If there are plans to cook a meal during the hike, keep the same principle in mind. Carry a camp stove and canned supplies to provide a simple but nourishing meal.
The best way to carry food items on the hike would be to separate them according to time of usage and put them in compact containers that are air-tight, water-tight and insect-proof, to keep the contents safe from rain, ants and other unexpected wild visitors.
Stay Hydrated on a Hiking Vacation by Carrying Enough Water
Guarding against dehydration is most important on a hike, as this can lead to headache, fatigue, mistakes due to lack of concentration as well as more serious medical problems. It is important to carry enough drinking water and fluids: on long treks it would be necessary to find water points at regular intervals to refill supplies. Carrying fruit juices in cartons is also a good idea, only remember to be eco-sensitive and bring back the empty cartons, or carry them to a disposal point.
Whether the hiking trip is a simple day hike or a long haul, eating right and staying hydrated is critical to the enjoyment and successful completion of the adventure. Stay with proteins, high-fibre and plenty of fluids, and enjoy the great outdoors!