Go strong on hydration
Before we dive into our hiking snack stash, let’s talk about how to stay hydrated. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advises drinking four cups of water before you hit the trails. This is a way to start off on the right foot. Plus, it will reduce the amount of water you have to carry around (1L = 1kg). Then, consume roughly two cups of water for every hour you’re out hiking. Days on which it is sunny and hot or when you’re sweating more, increase your water intake.
Snack to pack
One of the biggest challenges with backpacking is knowing what to pack, and just how much. If you want to reach the summit without feeling completely drained, you’ll need to take in the right combination of nutrients during your hike. This includes the three macronutrients: fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. The first two are important energy sources. Healthy fats provide the sustained fuel your body needs to keep moving. Complex carbs from whole food sources are converted to glucose, which fuels cell and brain activity. Strenuous hikes will burn calories faster, so it’s important to give your body enough energy.
As for protein, this isn’t your body’s first choice as an energy source, so you don’t necessarily need to pack lots of protein-packed snacks for a quick afternoon hiking trip. However, long hikes and extended backpacking adventures place extra demands on your system and carrying at least one CaliBar Protein bar for each day will be helpful. As your muscles start to ache after hours of trekking, CaliBar will jump in to help repair them. CaliBar gives you healthy fats and protein, which helps keep the tummy grumbles at bay.
It’s also helpful to include salt in your hiking snacks. Salt will help replenish the electrolytes in your system so you can safely march onward without getting bogged down or sick. My favorite and most effective is an orange with rock salt. It gives instant energy while I am running a marathon. A modest amount of sugar can also give your body a quick energy boost. You should also keep in mind not to carry snacks or food items, which require other accessories (like hand sanitizer, napkins, or cutlery). Hand-held snacks that come prepackaged or can be stored in small reusable containers are better to avoid unnecessary weight in your bag pack. Trail snacks are a big deal for me. The key is making sure they are compact enough to fit in my hip belt storage, but hearty enough to satiate my hunger. Enter CaliBar 10g protein bars. Every bite always puts a little extra pep in my step. They’re just so yummy. This smaller bar which is 40g can be consumed quickly with 170Kcal packed energy; its light on the stomach which helps you to keep going without taking it slow, just because your stomach feels full.
7 hiking snacks you can hit the trails with (excluding protein bars)
What to load up for your next big adventure? I am sharing some popular hiking snacks — along with some tasty tips for sprucing them up.
- Trail mix
This snack has an outdoorsy name for a reason. Store-bought and homemade trail mix can be a great high-energy source of healthy fats and salt. Here are a few ingredients for homemade trail mixes that are also great as solo snacks:
- Dry fruits
- Nuts and seeds
- 2. Theplas and rolled paranthas
Theplas will last a couple of days and are a great way to fuel you for the trek. They are readily available in supermarkets while you’re better off cooking paranthas at home. Paranthas are a great food to fill yourself up and give you lasting energy, but they will be fresh only for a day so it’s better to consume them on the first day of your trek.
- 3. Fruits
Bananas, apple, pomegranate (last for a few days)
Potassium in bananas is an important nutrient for preventing muscle cramps. Apples give you much needed iron and energy and pomegranates help with vitamins and digestion and are powerful anti-inflammatory sources. Bananas can also be made into a nice dessert by adding nut butters to them.
- 4. Dates
Dates are naturally sweet and can be incorporated into sweet, spicy, or savory meals. Their stickiness and sweetness make them an ideal base ingredient for natural energy bars. Of course, dates make for delicious snacks as is, and can be a healthy way to satisfy a sweet craving. Consider getting dates in bulk.
- 5. Veggies
We can’t leave vegetables off this list. They might have been the things you avoided on your plate when you were a child, but vegetables have great health benefits that boost immunity and help digestion. When packing your veggies, choose heartier ones like carrots, celery and broccoli that may withstand long periods without refrigeration. You can also bring along cucumbers, which have high water content and can help keep you hydrated.
- Olive oil:
Dense in calories and fat, olive oil is an excellent source of energy. Try drizzling olive oil on your chapatti or rice dishes for added flavor and moisture. If packing light for a backpacking trip, bring a small bottle of olive oil in a plastic baggie so it does not spill.
- Nut butters
Nut butters are an excellent source of protein and fiber for healthy energy and muscle strength. Nut butters are available in many different varieties including almond, cashew, pecan and classic peanut butter, so you can find your favorite flavor. Nut butters can be spread on whole grain toast or mixed into your morning oatmeal for a perfect combination of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
For long backpacking adventures, you can carry a smaller jar to reduce weight or you can toss a whole jar into your pack.
It should come as no surprise, but proper eating and drinking on the day of, and even from a couple of days before a hike can impact whether you have a pleasurable time or you hit a wall on the trail.
Not all calories are created equal. As per the American Heart Association, the most fuel for your muscles comes from carbohydrates. Select easily digestible carbohydrates to eat before your trek so you don’t feel sluggish. The act of hiking can suppress your appetite, so attempt to feed yourself anyway as calories play a very important role in regulating temperature.