The Best Super Foods for Hikers
Adults usually require between 2,000 – 2,500 calories each day, but out on the hills you can expect to burn twice that amount! For this reason it is important to plan meals that will keep your energy levels up so that you’re ready to face whatever your walk has in store. Pack these foods in your kit bag today!
Rolled oats contain more fibre than refined ‘instant’ porridge. Start the day with a warming bowl of porridge with milk (for protein). You can also bake rolled oat flapjacks for a tasty mid-morning snack.
Lean white meat and fish
Lean white meat and fish are both packed with protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair.Vegetarians can get their protein from tempeh (a soybean derivative), beans and pulses, seitan (a form of wheat gluten) and peanuts.Serve in a baguette or wrap with plenty of leafy salad, or on pasta.
Unrefined or whole grain foods such as brown pasta, brown rice and brown bread will provide you with slow-release energy. This is because the grain fibre takes longer for the body to break down.
Be sure to end the day with a hot meal consisting of plenty of protein that will get to work healing fatigued muscles overnight.
‘Boil-in-a-bag’ dinners started life in the army, but were quickly adopted by the walking community as a no-nonsense way to meet their energy needs. Each foil packet contains a prepared meal that can be eaten cold or heated through. Though the packaging might not look appetising, the food inside is often surprisingly tasty, and with options including curry, full English breakfast, and even puddings, it is varied too.
When it’s time for a snack, resist the urge to reach for a chocolate bar, and instead opt for a handful of nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Packed with energy and fibre without the high sugar content of confectionery, trail mix is a walker’s secret weapon.
Bananas are great for a 30 – 45 minute energy boost. Rich in Potassium, which can help to regulate blood pressure, they also contain protein and fibre, making them an all-round healthy snack. Athletes are often advised to eat bananas to top up levels of the mineral lost during exercise. To prevent the fruit from getting squashed in your bag, store them in a plastic banana guard.
Kendal Mint Cake
The ‘classic’ walker’s nibble, Kendal mint cake is a peppermint flavoured snack bar. The first recipe was produced in 1880 in Cumbria, and because it is high in energy and takes up very little space in a kit bag, has remained popular in the outdoor community ever since.
Hot chocolate made with milk provides you with sugar and protein, making it a soothing and delicious way to recuperate after a long walk.
What to Avoid
Fizzy drinks will make you feel full and bloated without providing you with useful nutrients. Instead, sip water or fruit squash throughout the day. Likewise, sweets will give you an initial ‘sugar high’ followed by a sharp drop in energy levels, and may leave you feeling weak and tired. Stick to natural sugars, such as those found in fruit and nuts.