Nicholas Napier from Bhu Foods writes this guest blog post filled with great advice for trail-hungry vegetarians. Bhu’s vegan Apple Chunk Cinnamon Nutmeg protein bar is featured in the November Trailfoody.
Hiking is a phenomenal way to safely enjoy the outdoors. But if you’re hiking for more than a couple of hours, then how you’re going to sustain yourself becomes a major concern. Obviously bringing your best water bottle is vital, but what about the carbs, protein, and fats that provide the energy you need to make it home? Explore how vegetarians handle this dilemma and how a plant-based diet can keep you well-fed, even during an adventure in the outdoors.
Macronutrients – A Brief Overview
Put simply, macronutrients are the three main groups of nutrients that the body needs to function. Often referred to as macros, these three categories are fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Luckily, the foods of a plant-based diet supply all of these crucial macros and there are even a lot of options you can take into the outdoors.
Examples of Vegetarian Foods with Each Macronutrient
To help you understand how each macro benefits you as a vegetarian, some excellent examples of plant-based foods that provide plenty of protein, carbs, and fat are detailed below.
Vegetarian Protein Sources
Soy products such as tempeh and tofu provide high levels of protein. Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of protein as well, as are certain veggies. For example, peas have 8g of protein per cup, and pea protein is often used in vegan energy bars and protein powders.
Vegetarian Fat Sources
Since vegetarians don’t ingest meat, there is virtually no saturated fat on a plant-based diet – which is good. But it’s still necessary to get the essential fats, and for that purpose, avocado, beans, lentils, coconut, flax seeds, and walnuts are all excellent choices.
Vegetarian Carb Sources
Many of the most popular fruits and veggies on the vegetarian diet are packed with carbohydrates, especially starchy ones like potatoes. While bread is packed with carbs, fruits like bananas and pears and veggies like sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts offer more nutritious advantages.
Concerns for Packing for the Outdoors
While there are a wide range of food choices for accomplishing whatever you want on a vegetarian diet, venturing into the outdoors comes with it’s own set of concerns.
Starting with the most obvious, you’ll have to carry whatever food you bring with you, so maybe that bag of giant coconuts isn’t a great plan for your hiking trip.
Portability and freshness are also factors in choosing the foods you bring on your hiking trip. While some foods like apples and oranges, are easy to throw in your bag and eat whenever you’re ready, foods that are more high-maintenance should be left in your pantry.
Finally, you’re going to want foods that don’t just claim to have a high nutrient content, but actually have the nutrients to sustain you for a grueling hike. This means being mindful that the packaged bars and snacks you bring aren’t just loaded with sugar. Sugar will make you crash hard, and that’s the last thing you need when you’re hiking in the outdoors.
List of Smart Vegetarian Choices to Bring on a Hike
With your hike planned and backpack sitting on the kitchen counter, empty and open, what exactly will you put in there? Remembering the importance of portable, nutritious foods that are low in sugar will make your packing experience easier. Here’s a list of some excellent choices:
- Any type of nuts due to excellent protein and portability
- Apples due to their carbs and fiber.
- Bananas are great to bring because they’re loaded with carbs and potassium.
- Seeds like pumpkin or sunflower are excellent options with high protein content
- Small tupperware containers with your favorite berries can be a great snack
- Baby carrots are excellent – they’re durable and scrub your teeth with each bite
- Sweet potatoes are a superfood with tons of benefits – consider preparing one
- Low sugar protein bars, protein cookies, and packaged snacks can work well.
Conquering the Outdoors as a Fully-Prepared Vegetarian
Now that your bag is packed with foods that will provide the energy you need for your hike, there’s no stopping you. Getting macros on a plant-based diet is easy and it can even be done during a day-long hiking trip – it’s just a matter of knowing which foods pack the most nutrients. Whether you leave with your favorite packaged bars or with several of your favorite fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds, embark on your journey with confidence that your vegetarian diet will keep you energized.
Helping Vegetarians Thrive in ANY Environment
Whether on a hike or while cooking for a date night, there is a perfect food for every occasion. By constantly improving your palette and experimenting with different plant-based cuisine, you can be prepared for whatever opportunity comes your way. Value based companies like Bhu Foods and Trailfoody do more than provide a valuable product or service for vegetarians – They promote kind treatment for all life forms and encourage clean, healthy eating.
Trailfoody offers vegetarian and gluten-free options.