by Virginia Cunningham
Hiking can burn a lot of calories and use up a considerable amount of your body’s energy reserves. While you might not need extra energy for a short hike, taking a snack if you’re going on a long or particularly strenuous hike is a smart idea.
However, not all foods are ideal for hiking. Some foods just won’t keep on a hiking trail, and those are particularly obvious. Other foods simply don’t have the nutritional content to be beneficial for hikers that need quick energy.
If hiking is part of your regular workout routine or you just enjoy the scenery, carrying any of the snacks below with you can provide you with the energy you need to finish your hike feeling good and in record time:
Energy bars have expiration dates, but as far as short-term storage goes, almost nothing can destroy an energy bar, making them an ideal snack for hikers going a particularly long way or on an intense hike; however, you should avoid certain energy bars that are high in sugar content, partially-hydrogenated oils and artificial ingredients.
When choosing energy bars for hiking, look for bars made with natural ingredients, like fruit and nuts. These ingredients will give you an energy boost for a fairly long period of time since your body won’t convert them all to glucose right away.
Ideal for a quick energy burst, dried fruits, like apples, apricots and bananas, are excellent for short hikes or as part of a snack that contains more protein for a longer hike. If you do choose dried fruit as a snack for your next hike, either make your own or look for a brand that doesn’t contain excess sugar, which could make you feel like you need to sit down and take a nap about 30 minutes after you eat it.
Usually consisting of some dried fruit, nuts, seeds and chocolate, trail mixes provide a little bit of everything that your body needs for energy. You’ll get long-term energy from the nuts and seeds and a short-term pick-me-up from the dried fruit and chocolate.
Trail mix can be pretty high in calories, so if you’re only going on a short hike, watch how much you eat or pack a different snack. After all, calories are energy, so you don’t want to be consuming much more than you burn.
Beef jerky is packed with protein, and if you choose lean varieties, it can be relatively low in saturated fat – at least when it comes to red meat consumption. Best of all, beef jerky will give you long-lasting energy, and it’s something you can eat while you’re hiking without feeling like you’ve just swallowed a load of bricks like you might with something starchy.
Turkey, chicken and even venison jerky are also options if you don’t particularly enjoy beef.
Hiking, whether you do it on a short trail near your home or on long trips in national forests, is an activity that can help you burn fat, build muscle and enjoy nature.
However, hiking can be strenuous, and if you don’t have enough energy, it can even be dangerous. Pack a snack to eat when you feel lethargic or after a few hours of activity. You might also want to take a multivitamin or performance drink with electrolytes for extra energy.