For most people, the idea of eating healthy while hiking sounds like a bit of a challenge. It's not as easy as packing some snacks and hitting the trail.
Not only is it hard to find healthy food options when you're out in the wilderness, but it's also tough to stick with your normal diet plan. You might end up eating more processed foods than you usually would, or worse - going without any food at all.
Pack snacks that are high in protein and fiber. Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks. Drink plenty of water. Eat meals that are rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These nutrient-rich foods will give you sustained energy and help your body recover from the physical exertion of hiking.
When you're out on a hike, the last thing you want to worry about is your food. You should be able to enjoy the views and the fresh air without having to stress about what you're going to eat next. However, if you're not careful, you can easily end up eating unhealthy foods while hiking. In this article, we will discuss how to eat healthy while hiking so that you can stay fueled up and energized throughout your trip.
We scoured the internet for the best tips on how to eat healthy while hiking, and we've compiled them all here for you. We also took feedback from our own team of hikers, so you can be sure that these tips are tried and true.
What Foods Should You Consume While Hiking?
When you're planning your meals for a hike, it's important to focus on foods that will give you sustained energy. This means that you should avoid sugary snacks and opt for complex carbohydrates instead. Good examples of complex carbohydrates include whole-grain bread, pasta, and rice. These foods will help keep your blood sugar levels stable and prevent you from feeling tired or sluggish during your hike.
In addition to complex carbohydrates, you should also make sure to pack plenty of protein-rich foods. Protein will help repair any muscle damage that occurs during your hike and keep you feeling full. Good sources of protein include lean meats, nuts, and beans. Let us take a look at a few examples of healthy meals that you can pack for your hike:
Nuts And Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great option for hikers looking for a healthy snack. Not only are they packed with nutrients, but they are also lightweight and easy to transport. Trail mix is a popular choice among hikers, as it typically contains a variety of nuts and seeds. Almonds, cashews, pistachios, and sunflower seeds are all common ingredients in trail mix, and each one offers a different set of vitamins and minerals.
In addition to being a healthy snack, nuts and seeds can also help to boost energy levels and sustain concentration. This makes them an ideal choice for hikes that require sustained physical or mental effort. So next time you hit the trail, be sure to pack some nuts and seeds to keep your energy levels up.
Dried fruit is another excellent option for hikers looking for a healthy snack. Dried fruit is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it a great way to fuel your body while on the trail. Additionally, dried fruit is easy to transport and does not require refrigeration.
When choosing dried fruit, however, it's important to avoid varieties that are high in sugar. For example, raisins or other types of processed dried fruit can be loaded with added sugars. Instead, opt for dried fruits that are lower in sugar, such as apricots or cranberries. These will provide you with the nutrients you need without the sugar crash later on.
Finally, unlike most processed snacks that are loaded with salt and preservatives, dried fruit doesn't require any added chemicals to help it stay fresh. So if you're looking for a better way to fuel your next outdoor adventure, look no further than dried fruit as a tasty, nutritious choice.
Jerky is a nutrient-dense protein source that makes for an ideal snack when you're on the go. It's portable and easy to eat with just your hands, making it perfect for active individuals who need a quick hit of fuel. And because jerky is naturally low in fat and carbs, it provides the ideal fuel for workouts or busy days spent running errands. Plus, jerky comes in a variety of flavors and forms, so there's sure to be something to satisfy any craving.
Whether you prefer chewy strips or tender bites, jerky is the perfect snack to keep you energized from dawn till dusk. Just make sure to choose lean jerky with minimal added sugar to get the most health benefits. So the next time you're in need of a burst of energy, reach for a bag of jerky instead of another carb-heavy treat. You'll feel instantly satisfied without sacrificing your health goals.
Nutrition bars are a convenient way to get the nutrients your body needs while on the go. They come in a variety of flavors and textures, so there's sure to be something for everyone. And because they're easy to eat and portable, nutrition bars make for an ideal snack when you're hiking or running errands.
However, when choosing a nutrition bar, it's important to read the label carefully. Many bars on the market are loaded with sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. So look for bars that are high in protein and fiber and low in sugar. These will help you feel satisfied without weighing you down. Additionally, check the ingredient list to make sure there aren't any artificial sweeteners or other unhealthy additives.
Canned fish is a great option for hikers looking for a healthy, protein-packed snack. Fish such as tuna or salmon are not only high in protein, but they're also rich in omega-three fatty acids. These nutrients are essential for maintaining heart health and preventing chronic diseases. In addition, canned fish is an excellent source of energy. The protein and healthy fats found in fish can help to sustain concentration and keep you feeling full for hours.
Plus, canned fish is easy to transport and doesn't require refrigeration. This makes it the perfect choice for hikes or other outdoor activities where you might not have access to a cooler. Just be sure to choose varieties that are low in mercury and other toxins. When it comes to canned fish, quality matters just as much as quantity. So if you're looking for a nutritious snack to fuel your next hike, be sure to pack some canned fish.
Trail mix is a classic hiking snack for a reason. It's easy to make, easy to eat, and packed with nutrients that can help you power through even the most strenuous hike. Plus, trail mix is highly customizable. You can add or remove ingredients to suit your taste or dietary needs.
When making your own trail mix, be sure to include a variety of healthy ingredients such as nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and whole grains. This will give you the energy you need to power through your hike while also providing essential vitamins and minerals. Just be careful not to overdo it on the sweets. Too much sugar can lead to an energy crash later on. So if you're looking for a balanced snack that will give you sustained energy, trail mix is the way to go.
Cheese is a dairy product that is made by curdling milk and separating the solid curds from the liquid whey. It is an excellent source of protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients, and it's also filling and satisfying. That makes it the perfect snack for hikers who need plenty of energy to make it up and down mountains. Just be sure to choose varieties that are low in fat and sodium. Hard cheeses such as cheddar or Swiss are typically lower in fat than soft cheeses like Brie or Camembert. And if you're watching your sodium intake, look for cheese that is labeled "reduced sodium" or "no salt added."
No matter what type of cheese you choose, it's important to eat it in moderation. Cheese is calorie-dense, so a little goes a long way. When snacking on cheese while hiking, pair it with other healthy foods such as whole-grain crackers or fresh fruit. This will help you feel satisfied without overdoing it on the calories.
Coffee Or Tea
Coffee and tea are both healthy beverages that can give you a much-needed energy boost when hiking. Both coffee and tea contain caffeine, which is a natural stimulant that can help to improve focus and increase alertness. In addition, coffee and tea are rich in antioxidants. These nutrients have been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
So if you're looking for a healthy way to fuel your next hike, reach for some coffee or tea. Just be sure to limit yourself to one or two cups. Too much caffeine can lead to side effects such as anxiety and insomnia. And remember that sugar can quickly offset the health benefits of these drinks, so drink them black or with just a splash of milk.
Of course, no list of hiking snacks would be complete without water. Staying hydrated is essential for any type of physical activity, but it's especially important when you're hiking in hot weather. When your body is exposed to heat, it loses water through sweating. This can lead to dehydration, which can cause a whole host of problems such as dizziness, headaches, and fatigue. So if you're going to be hiking in warm or hot weather, be sure to bring plenty of water.
A good rule of thumb is to drink about one liter of water for every hour that you're hiking. But depending on the temperature and your level of activity, you may need more or less than this. So it's important to listen to your body and drink when you're thirsty.
In addition to bringing plenty of water, you may also want to pack some electrolyte-rich foods such as sports drinks or coconut water. These can help to replenish the minerals that are lost through sweating. And if you're hiking in very hot weather, you may even want to consider carrying a small personal fan. This can help keep you cool and prevent heat exhaustion.
Oatmeal is one of the most nutrient-rich and fiber-packed whole grains out there. Not only is it loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but it also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and keep your energy levels high. As a result, oatmeal makes the perfect snack for hikers: not only is it easy to carry and pack on long treks, but it can also provide sustained energy throughout the day.
Additionally, oatmeal's thick and satisfying texture means that you won't feel hunger pangs as quickly after eating it, making it easier to hike longer distances without needing a break or stopping for food. Just be sure to choose instant oatmeal packets that are low in sugar. And if you're looking for a little extra protein, add some nuts or dried fruit to your oatmeal.
So if you're looking for an ideal trail snack, look no further than a bowl of wholesome oatmeal. It has everything you need to keep your energy up and stay fueled on even the toughest hikes.
Factors To Consider When Choosing Food For Hiking
When it comes to choosing food for hiking, there are a few things you need to take into account. Let us explore what these are.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing food for hiking is convenience. After all, you want to be able to eat your snacks without having to stop and prepare a meal. That's why it's important to choose foods that are easy to carry and easy to eat. Nuts, dried fruit, cheese, and crackers are all good examples of convenient trail snacks.
Another important factor to consider is caloric density. This simply refers to the number of calories in a given food. When hiking, you want to choose foods that are high in calories but not too high in fat. That's because fat is more difficult for your body to digest and can lead to an energy crash. Nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and whole-grain crackers are all good examples of caloric-dense yet relatively lightweight snacks.
Another factor to consider when choosing food for hiking is nutrition. You want to choose foods that will give you sustained energy throughout the day. That means picking snacks that are high in calories and packed with nutrients such as protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Oatmeal, trail mix, and canned fish are all great options when it comes to nutritious trail snacks.
You'll also want to take weight into account when choosing food for hiking. The heavier your backpack is, the more difficult it will be to hike. That's why it's important to choose lightweight snacks that won't weigh you down. Dried fruit, nuts, and seeds are all good examples of lightweight yet calorie-dense snacks.
Last but not least, you want to choose trail foods that taste good. After all, you're going to be spending a lot of time outdoors, and you don't want to have to force yourself to eat foods that you don't enjoy. That's why it's important to choose snacks that you actually look forward to eating. Some of our favorites include dark chocolate, dried mango, and roasted almonds.
Food Tips For Hiking
Now that we've gone over some of the factors to consider when choosing food for hiking, let's look at some specific tips.
One of the best things you can do when it comes to eating healthy while hiking is to plan ahead. That means packing your trail snacks in advance and bringing along enough food to last you throughout the day. It's also a good idea to pack extra food in case you get hungry or end up hiking longer than expected.
Bring A Variety Of Foods
Another good tip is to bring a variety of foods with you on your hike. That way, you'll have something to eat no matter what mood you're in. Some of our favorite trail mix ingredients include dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and chocolate chips.
Keep Your Food Safe
When hiking in bear country, it's important to keep your food safe. That means storing your food in a bear-proof container and keeping it away from your tent at night. If you're hiking with kids, make sure they know not to bring any food into the tent.
It's also important to stay hydrated when hiking. That means drinking plenty of water and packing extra in case you run out. It's also a good idea to bring along some electrolyte-rich snacks or drinks to help keep your energy up.
About THE AUTHOR
I’m a hiker, backpacker, and general outdoor enthusiast. I started hiking out of college while working for the National Forest Service, and have been hiking ever since. I’ve been solo hiking and leading hiking groups for two decades and have completed hundreds of small hikes and some majorones such as the Appalachian Train and the Pacific Crest Trail, and hiked on four continents. I’d love to share some of my insight with you.Read More About Peter Brooks