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How To Eat Well While Hiking
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How to Eat Well While Hiking

Hiking can be quite strenuous and uses up a lot of calories. You need fuel to sustain you on your hike whether on a short day hike or a multi-day hike. Water is the most important thing to take on your hike but don’t forget that if you don’t eat properly and eat often while you are out on the trail, it won’t take long before you run out of energy.

Now you might ask “how hard can it be to plan food for your hike”? Well many would be hikers do a very poor job of ensuring that they have the right food and adequate amounts for their hike. Keep in mind that you must eat more than you normally would with lots of complex carbohydrates, fat and protein to keep you going. The key to how to eat well while hiking is to do a good job of planning out your meals and snacks. Plan out each meal on your hike and take extra just in case you get back later than planned.

You want to choose foods that are high in energy but are not too heavy. Don’t expect to be able to pack a lot of foods like fresh fruit and canned goods. They will prove to be too heavy and too bulky to fit in your pack. When you are backpacking you have to carry everything on your back so weight and volume are an important consideration. You will want to keep the weight of your pack as low as possible. Not having too much food is just as important as making sure you have enough. Give your meal planning some good thought and you can be sure to have some great food and adequate nutrition for your hike.

Once you know what hike you are doing and how long your hike will take (how many days) plan your meals accordingly. Plan to have at least 3 and possibly 4 meals each day you are hiking and lots of snack foods like trail mix or dried fruit and nuts that you can eat while you are hiking. Plan to take extra if you are hiking in cold weather as you will lose more heat in the winter. Write it all down before you go shopping to make sure you will have everything you will need for all your meals.

Freeze dried meals should be seriously considered if you are planning a multi-day hike as they not only light but they are really quite nutritious and full of energy and protein. They are also easy to prepare. You can also make some great meals yourself at home for a lot less money. Just prepare at home and put in a sealed plastic bag like a Ziploc. You can get some awesome recipes online for making your own trail meals. Just Google “hiking or backpacking recipes”.

Some other foods that are great for hiking are, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, trail mix, granola bars, protein bars, meal bars, energy bars, dried milk, cheese, beef jerky, dried soups (the kind that only require that you add water), rice dishes, crisp breads like rye crisp, melba toast, canned fish (a couple of cans are OK because they are not too bulky), powdered eggs (or fresh eggs in a sealed container- use these the first morning) pasta (eg. Kraft Dinner), cereal or quick oats, instant coffee and/or hot chocolate mix.

You can also save a lot of money by investing in or making your own food dehydrator to dry your own food for hiking

Many seasoned hikers brag about how they can cook up some fantastic gourmet meals while on the trail. You can too. Just bring along a few spices, some oil or clarified butter in a small container, a few sauce mixes in foil packages, salt and pepper and some creativity and your meals on the trail will taste fantastic. I always find that food tastes 100 times better after a day of hiking.

So remember, if you want to eat well while hiking, plan well and use these simple tips. You will be glad you did because you will not only be full of energy, your food on the trail will taste fantastic!

See you out on the trail.

Street Talk

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