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Fueling up for a day hike
Posted by JulieLau on 2012-06-18 14:01
The warm weather is here and for some of us, that means heading out into the beautiful hills and mountains around us and making our way to a spectacular viewpoint.
Water - Don't even think of starting on a hike that is longer than a kilometre without bringing along a bottle of water. Take enough to drink one-half to one cup every 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how much you are sweating. Keep drinking even if you don't really feel very thirsty. If you are hiking, you are losing moisture and you need to replenish it. Keep drinking even after the hike. Your body will thank you.
Trail Food – is not the same as trail mix. Most trail mixes are high in fat and fat takes longer to digest than carbohydrates. What you need to keep your energy up during the hike is carbs, not fat.
Pretty much any snack that provides energy is a good trail snack, but we may not need as much energy as we think we do. So, fuel up but don’t overdo it. We generally burn 400 to 500 calories per hour of cross-terrain hiking; the more you weigh, the more you burn. Therefore if you are also carrying a pack, add on another 50 to100 calories per hour depending on how heavy your pack is. Terrain and elevation may add some to the calories burned, but it is also a function of how quickly you climb or slowly trudge up the hill. Listen to your body to gauge how much and when you should be eating.
Crackers, energy bars and dried fruit will all help fuel up during a hike. Again go easy on the high fat and high salt crackers – better options include rusks, water crackers, unsalted soda crackers or baked whole-wheat crackers.
Dried fruit is light and easy to stash in your pack just in case you stay out longer than anticipated. There are so many varieties to choose from, so don’t just stick to “GORP” (Good Old Raisins and Peanuts) – try dried apricots, cranberries, blueberries, apple rings, even dried mangoes and cherries (albeit a little more expensive).
I like fresh fruit too on a hike as it is thirst-quenching; fruits that pack well are apples, mandarins, Asian pear (also known as ‘apple pear’), plums, cherries and grapes.
Instead of store-bought energy bars and trail mixes, try some homemade healthy snacks from the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s recipe file:
Or from Health Check Recipe Helper app:
- Oatmeal Bites Trail Mix
- Applesauce Bars
- Granola Bars
If you don’t have our Recipe Helper app, click here to download.
If your hike is more than three hours, take a little protein along to stave off hunger. A little goes a long way – tuna (available in foil pouches), nut butter, hummus, roasted chickpeas (from Recipe App), cheeses, or a hard-boiled egg. If you like to stop and have a lunch break, then pack a sandwich or wrap on wholegrain breads or tortilla. Throw in some cut-up veggies to round out the meal and you are set for a nutritious lunch while taking in the sights.
Have fun hiking this summer and getting some great exercise. Maybe I will see you on the trails!