When preparing for a hike or climb, having the right gear is important but equally important is fueling your body properly to have an enjoyable journey.
Since not all calories are created equal, we want to ensure our body is supplied with enough carbohydrates to keep us going because this is the most efficient fuel when doing any physical exercise.
What you eat a day or two before a hike will prepare your body with proper energy stores. Include whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, quality protein such as bean/lentils, nuts/seeds, eggs or lean meat.
Hydrate appropriately the day before especially if you’re going to be hiking at higher altitudes as that can easily cause dehydration. Drink plenty of water and stay away from alcohol or too much caffeine.
The morning before an excursion, eat a light breakfast such as oatmeal, eggs and toast or fresh fruits with yogurt. Don’t eat anything too sugary as this will cause a spike in your blood sugar and later an energy drop.
During the Hike
Maintaining stable blood sugar levels will help prevent any energy crashes or spikes. It is best to avoid any processed foods that are too sugary and sweet. Some nutrient dense snacks that are high carbohydrate and provide high energy include: energy bars (look for ones that are not as processed or sugary), dried fruit, nuts, trail mix, granola bars and electrolyte replenishers for the water.
Plan to snack every 1.5-2 hours and drink plenty of water on hikes 2+ hours and longer especially in hot weather and higher altitudes.
It is best to refuel within one hour of a strenuous hike to replenish your energy stores with proteins and complex carbohydrates. You can pack a cooler in your car filled with fresh fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds or sandwiches. Also make sure you re-hydrate with plenty of water.