Hitting the Trail: The Best Foods to Take on Long Hikes
Fuel Your Body with the Best Hiking and Backpacking Foods
If you’re an outdoorsy-type of person, you know that nothing beats being one with nature on an outdoor hike. Lacing up your hiking boots and strapping the backpack on is what energizes and motivates you. But you also need sustenance to sustain you as well. When you’re out on a nature hike, you need energy and stamina to keep you going, especially if it is a long hike. Your body, like your vehicle, needs fuel. And you need fuel that will sustain you over mountainous terrain or through long paths. Here are a few suggestions on what to take to keep your body in motion and your mind alert when you’ve decided to spend the day hiking in the great outdoors.
So Many Great Choices Without Having to Break Your Budget
So what are the best foods to take with you when you’re on a long hike? The choices are many. From energy bars and liquid gels to homemade granola and a variety of snacks in between, it all depends on what your personal taste is, how much effort you want to put into making it, the length of time you’ll be out on your hiking trail and of course, making sure it’s affordable.
Homemade Quick and Easy Options
Some of the best foods to take on long hikes can be made in the comfort of your own kitchen by using staples you have right in your own home. Peanut butter, for example, is an excellent source of protein and will keep you energized for long periods of time. All natural peanut butter is best, (the less preservatives the better). Combine it with some honey or all natural jams or fruit preserves, sandwich it between two slices of whole grain, hearty bread and you’ve got an instant energy source that will not only fuel you, but also tastes delicious. (what good is food if it tastes like sawdust?)
Another quick and easy snack to make at home is trail mix. Combine nuts, granola, seeds, dried fruits like raisins and cranberries, blueberries, or whatever your preference, along with some sesame crisps and you’re set. (most of these things can be found at the grocery store, either in the fruit aisle, or, if you prefer organic, they can be found in that section.) While there are prepackaged versions of trail mix, these often cost more money and you can purchase these items in bags and they’ll go a long way, vs. one “grab and go” bag.
Check Out Your Local Grocery Store or Farmer’s Market
However, if time is not on your side, there are a variety of all natural energy bars, granola, (both loose and in bar form) from which to choose. Again, most grocery stores sell these, but if you’re into Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, they have a great selection as well with a variety of flavors. Outdoors shops also sell a variety of trail mixes and granola type snacks, however you will most often pay more for these vs. purchasing them in a traditional grocery store. It just depends on your personal taste, preference and budget.
Staying Fueled Will Help Sustain Your Energy from Start to Finish
Water is always the best choice when it comes to selecting a drink. You need to stay well hydrated, even more so than food-wise, so pack plenty. Additionally, all natural beef jerky, meat sticks and dried meat snacks are also excellent sources of protein. You can make your own beef jerky or meat sticks or purchase them from a grocery store or local farmer’s market. Between peanut butter and beef jerky, this should give you an adequate amount of protein for your trip, along with adding in other fuel-based snacks like granola, energy bars and trail mix. When you fuel your body with these types of food items the next time you take to the trails, you should have more than enough energy to get you from start to finish with energy to spare.