Food, Snacks & More: Hiking edition
When planning for any trip, I always make sure to plan what I'm going to be eating and drinking for the activities I’ll be doing! It’s my #1 priority as I want to feel my best and also avoid being hangry!
I just recently went to the Adirondacks knowing I was going to be hiking, and packing the food for the trip was my job! Needless to say, I brought a whole reusable grocery bag in the car filled with food, snacks and beverages that we could choose from before our hike(s). I was so grateful I did this because our plan went from hiking Indian Head (a long, but easy hike with no rock hopping making it one of the most approachable day hikes in the Adirondack mountains) to hiking the 12th largest high peak, Giant Mountain (4627 foot elevation). Knowing I was going to be hiking for hours, I made sure we filled our backpacks with the food and drinks from the car! We packed lots of water, gatorade, fruit, granola bars, and sandwiches. Snacks I knew were going to keep us hydrated and satisfied!
In both of our bags we carried the following:
a half gallon water bottle filled to the brim of water with ice to stay cool
4 nature Valley granola bars
Four - 16.9 oz bottles of water
2 chicken sandwiches
Of course a few celebratory beverages!
Hiking Nutrition Tips:
Hiking Nutrition Tips:
Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate! Drink water before you are thirsty - being thirsty is an early sign of dehydration which needs to be avoided on a long hike! To prepare for a long hike, it is important to hydrate before, during, and after. Start your hike hydrated by consuming approximately 5- to 20 ounces of water about 2 hours before you begin. During the hike, a good goal is to drink 6 to 12 ounces of water and a sports drink every 20-30 minutes. Recover by drinking 16 to 20 ounces of water or a sports drink every hour for a few hours after the hike to fully rehydrate. Or in other terms, drinking roughly 16-24 oz of water of every pound lost during the activity! Water is going to be the most important thing you pack on your hiking trip! It will also be the heaviest thing you pack with you so try and leave any unnecessary items out of the backpack/bag you carry!
Eat Every Hour! Your body needs the fuel during this energy draining activity! However, everyone is different with their tolerance to food during activity. Some people may be able to handle eating just about anything and continue to hike on, while others do better with gels or other carbohydrate drinks. I am someone that senses when I was running low on energy and needed food; while on the hike, this happened to me about every hour or two. This is when I would split a nature valley granola bar. Eating half of the bar was the perfect amount for me so I had some energy from the carbohydrates but not over stuffed where I wanted to sit (even thought there were plenty of times I needed to stop for a break because I was exhausted)!
Consume Electrolytes When Hiking In The Heat! As the heat rises and the longer we exercise, the more we sweat and lose electrolytes that benefit us! In order to perform at our best, we need to maintain our electrolyte levels by replenishing those electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, and more). These electrolytes are there to hold on to water we intake to help keep our bodies hydrated! To avoid electrolyte imbalance, you can replenish by consuming salty snacks (pretzels, goldfish, or salted nuts), electrolyte replacement drinks, or even electrolyte supplements depending on the amount of time and intensity of your hike. In our case, we had gatorade which helped us replenish our electrolytes and truly was a lifesaver when I was feeling really thirsty and could tell my body needed something more than just water!
Recover as Soon as Possible! After an extreme workout, in this case hiking, our body is in dire need of nutrient replenishment, especially to repair our muscles! Carbohydrates are essential to replenish our lost energy but, more specifically, protein is needed to repair our muscle tissue that was just broken down and used for strenuous activity! I will tell you, after this high peak hike, I downed a full burger (which is very unlike me, but it was necessary)!!
For being as unprepared mentally as we were to hike a high peak, we were very prepared physically with the food and beverages we brought with us! If I had to change anything or add to what we packed for the hike, I would add an extra one or two more water bottles, one more gatorade and next time pack some energy gels/chew tablets for that extra boost! If you go hiking regularly, I would love to learn more about what helped you get through your long day of climbing!