You’ve finally made it to the trail. After a busy morning of packing, preparing a big breakfast, and traveling up to Colorado’s Four Pass Loop, you’ve found yourself eager to begin your family’s latest hiking adventure.
You know the day will be tough, but you can’t wait to experience the Maroon Bells wilderness for yourself. With numerous waterfalls, impressive mountain lakes, and fields of wildflowers, you know it’s going to be a trip well worth the challenge.
But there’s a problem. How do you squeeze out the best performance possible so that you can feel incredible with energy to spare? It’s a long journey, and you know you’re gonna need the right food.
So how do you do it?
Keep Your Energy Stores Primed
Think of your energy-producing body as a fire. You can add a lot of fuel at once, making the fire burn super hot, but then it’ll die down quickly as the fuel is depleted. Or, you can feed it a log or two at a time, making the fire hum consistently with strength and energy.
The same is true with how you fuel your body. Keep your fire burning at a consistent rate to be sure that you’ll have enough energy for a big hike or adventure.
Glycogen is your body’s stored energy, but it doesn’t last forever. According to sports medicine expert Elizabeth Quinn, glycogen can get used up in as little as 30 minutes. You’ll need more than that for most outdoor adventures.
And as we’ve mentioned before, refilling that tank of energy depends upon consumption. The sooner and more often you refuel, the faster you’ll regain the energy that’s been lost.
Fueling Through Small Breaks is the Way to Go
Fueling throughout the day is the best way to keep you moving and maximize your performance. That way, energy will be readily available as you go and can be burned once it’s needed.
Thus, it’s incredibly important to choose the right foods to snack on that will provide you with the constant flow of energy necessary for ongoing physical activity.
But how do you know what to bring with you?
Your Day Food May Be More Important Than Your Dehydrated Dinner
It’s important to bring adequate food with you out on the trail.
As we’ve mentioned before, a large portion of your calories should come from carbohydrates since these convert more quickly into readily available energy. The sooner and more often you refuel, the faster you’ll recover and regain the energy that’s been lost.
And, as noted by Sally Hara, a board certified specialist in sports dietetics and owner of ProActive Nutrition, carrying high energy/high carbohydrate snacks and sport supplements that you can eat along the trail is essential. Foods like energy bars, dried fruit, and mixed nuts can all work to keep you adequately fueled between formal stops and are relatively convenient to eat as you hike.
While you’ll definitely need to consume some fats, (which contain a lot of calories per ounce of food) Hara also mentions that it’s advisable to steer clear from foods with high amounts of fat while hiking, since they are difficult to digest and take longer for the body to process. These foods should be consumed during formal breaks like breakfast and dinner and not while you’re out and about.
Clearly, snack foods are essential. Not only do they provide the energy necessary for ongoing activity, they also serve to make the whole process much easier and worry-free.
But, What If I Prefer a Longer Lunch Break?
If you’re like us, you go on adventures because you want to have fun. So, it’s important to do what you enjoy. If you decide you’d rather have a longer sit-down lunch, then go for it. Just follow these tips:
- Choose foods you don’t have to cook. Otherwise, you have to break out the camp stove, carry extra water for boiling, and deal with a clean-up effort after you eat (not fun).
- Make the lunch a little smaller than you would normally eat so you don’t direct too much of your body’s energy to digestion. Supplement that with a few smaller breaks with good energy food to keep your energy levels high.
- Opt for “shelf stable” foods that don’t need refrigeration. Or, store the food along with some freezer packs. Most sandwiches can last unless it’s really hot, but be careful of ingredients that are likely to spoil, such as mayonnaise.
Our aim is to get you out on the trail much faster, without any hassle, and with the best food for the job.
We’re dedicated to bringing you new, healthy trailfoods each month that are packed with nutrition. And while they can be eaten separately as snacks throughout the day, our trailfood is hand-picked so that they can go together as a meal if you choose to eat them in one sitting!
Learn more here about how you can sign up for Trailfoody today.
Will You Like Trailfoody?
My husband and I love trailfoody. Our favorite part of getting the box is trying new things. He is very adventurous in what he eats and I'm more hesitant to try new things. We have really enjoyed learning about new brands and in the process we'...Read More
My husband and I love trailfoody. Our favorite part of getting the box is trying new things. He is very adventurous in what he eats and I'm more hesitant to try new things. We have really enjoyed learning about new brands and in the process we've found new favorites!Read Less
Trailfoody has yet to disappoint! I've been a subscriber for a few months now and haven't gotten a snack that I didn't like. Packing my goodies on hikes for refueling has been cinch with the orange Trailfoody pouch. Delicious, healthy snacks th...Read More
Trailfoody has yet to disappoint! I've been a subscriber for a few months now and haven't gotten a snack that I didn't like. Packing my goodies on hikes for refueling has been cinch with the orange Trailfoody pouch. Delicious, healthy snacks that taste great gives me the fuel I need.Read Less
I love trailfoody. The ease of having new and healthy snacks delivered to my house saves me so much time and allows me to focus on my adventures. I also love that the ingredients are simple and whole. I am a dietitian and really appreciate the ...Read More
I love trailfoody. The ease of having new and healthy snacks delivered to my house saves me so much time and allows me to focus on my adventures. I also love that the ingredients are simple and whole. I am a dietitian and really appreciate the quality of product, especially if it's something I have never had before. Trailfoody opens me up to so many companies I wouldn't have otherwise heard of.Read Less
Trailfoody has been everything my girlfriend and I have been searching for in a subscription box! It comes in a fun, lightweight, bright orange bag that fits perfectly with the rest of our outdoor gear. Every month we get 8-9 items, and for two...Read More
Trailfoody has been everything my girlfriend and I have been searching for in a subscription box! It comes in a fun, lightweight, bright orange bag that fits perfectly with the rest of our outdoor gear. Every month we get 8-9 items, and for two people (and a yellow Lab!) each bag supplies us for 3-4 day hikes. The food tastes great and the reason why our bags usually last through several hiking adventures is because the items are packed with nutritious ingredients. A little goes a long way, literally! We also admire how Trailfoody has sought out local and start-up brands that make delicious and nutritious trail treats! We've followed quite a few of them on Instagram. Thanks for keeping us fueled (with a dog drooling over our shoulders)!Read Less