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by Diane Spicer
Hiking nutrition for day hikers and backpackers may not be the first thing you consider when planning your hike.
Eating the right food for hiking, regardless of length of trip, is a big deal.
One concept underlies all of the types of hiking food which female hikers can choose:
food as fuel
Hiking nutrition is just one big umbrella term to cover all of these hiking nutrition buzz words:
Your body needs fuel before, during, and after the hike.
So that explains the big appetite that goes along with big hikes.
Think of it as "refueling"!
Do I hike to eat?
You bet! And so should you.
And if you winter hike (also known as snowshoeing), you'll need even more calories to keep yourself warm and fueled.
Trail food selection is a vast topic, so use that link as an overview.
But it's a smart idea to break it into the type of hiking you're planning to do.
Some hikers rely upon tried and true portable foods such as jerky and bags of gorp (good old raisins 'n peanuts - although they get pretty fancy these days!).
But there are many creative ways to pack proteins, carbohydrates and fats in a hard working hiker's lunch sack, without overdoing it.
If you've never done one before, use these overnight planning tips first.
Then turn your attention to your menu.OVERNIGHT FOOD:
As you plan, don't neglect taste, nutrient content, and ease of preparation after a long day on the trail!
You need these great backpacking tips related to specific aspects of trail nutrition:
HIKING RECIPES: I may not be able to create a great backpacking recipe, but I know one when I taste one!
Snacks every so often along the trail are important bribery components of any hike.
I myself use them to keep my motivation, as well as my energy level, as high as possible on a hike.
Here are my favorite hiking nutrition tips for hiking snacks!
If that luscious red berry or glistening mushroom looks tempting, then you'd better know what you're doing, right?FORAGING:
all provided by Mother Nature.
Sometimes you just can't carry enough of the right types of food to keep yourself out of a nutritional hole.
That's when lightweight supplements and supportive nutrients can play a big role in keeping your stamina high.
Take a look at this plant based option:
You mean water is cellular fuel?
Water is a required daily nutrient, biochemically speaking.
Your trillions of cells are water-based chemistry labs.
Without adequate water, it's harder for your body to
The right type of clean water, in the right amount, is essential to feeling good on the trail.
That's why staying hydrated should be a top priority on the trail.
And what about water in the form of sports drinks?
Have you ever heard the expression "You are what you eat?"
Words of wisdom, tied to another expression:
"Garbage in, garbage out."
The reason I bring up these cliches is to urge you to consume the best quality carbohydrates, proteins, and fats you can afford (see above).
But we need to go a bit beyond that.
You are what you digest and absorb.
And that requires a bit of knowledge about the human digestive system.
If you're getting feedback from your gut (pain, unease, gas, bloating, weird stools), listen to another tried and true saying: "Go with your gut."
When your body sends you a message, heed it or ignore it, but it won't go away.
Guess which choice makes sense for a smart, savvy hiker?
Maybe you only want only the best ingredients in your hiking food. I agree!
Here are a few suggestions:
And if you're an older hiker (at least 45 years and approaching menopause), you might find this hiking nutrition information useful.
I happen to like reading medical research articles on nutrition and fitness because it might contain a nugget of wisdom to make me a stronger, happier hiker.
I never know what I'm going to stumble across, on the trail or in the library!
So send me your questions about hiking nutrition, or hiking in general, and I'll do my best to find answers.
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I've pulled together lots of useful detailed information to answer your questions about which trail foods to select for day hikes, overnights, and longer trips.
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