For safe and successful hiking, you should eat healthy and nutritious foods.
You must intake proteins, carbohydrates, and fats and drink enough water to fulfill your body’s needs. For a better hiking experience, you should ensure the food is easily digestible and what to eat before, during, and after the hike.
In this guide, we have discussed everything that will help you to eat healthy before and after a hike while keeping your body fully hydrated. Read out to learn more.
Is It Ok To Hike On An Empty Stomach?
Hiking without eating anything isn’t a good idea. As your body needs fuel to work, you should eat carbs and proteins to fuel your body before hiking. Though most people include coffee in their breakfast meals, replacing coffee with healthy foods is better for hiking.
Exercising or getting involved in a strenuous activity on an empty stomach causes energy and stamina loss. Low sugar levels in the body cause nausea and lightheadedness.
Note: If you want to hike on an empty stomach to lose body fat, visiting the gym instead of the trail is better.
What to Eat Before the Hike?
When you wake up in the morning, drink plenty of water before breakfast. Your body will be better prepared after proper hydration. Start with small meals enriched with nutrients.
Eat Protein Riched Meat
Protein is highly significant for hikers to help enhance their metabolism rate and repair tired muscles. Lean meat is the best source of protein for hikers.
You can get this meat by eating fish, chicken, or turkey.
Get Energy With Carbohydrates (Oatmeal)
Oatmeal is part of almost everyone’s diet, which offers several benefits to the body. Before picking up anything else to eat, it is better to eat oatmeal for a long hike.
Your body gets energy, carbohydrates, and fibers from oatmeal. Mix it with peanut butter or protein powder to get extra proteins.
Pasta is another source of carbohydrates that is good for providing energy. You can also eat chicken, shrimp, and vegetables for extra protein.
Note: Do not eat too much sauce in your meals, as it will cause an upset stomach during the hike.
Eat Eggs For Protein
Like oatmeal, eggs are also part of a healthy breakfast enriched with proteins. Being a hiker, you can increase your metabolism and repair your sore and tired muscles by eating proteins.
Eat eggs with any other food containing carbohydrates to stay energized during a long hike.
Strengthen Muscles With Nut Butter
It is great to have some food before hiking rich in protein, fiber, and magnesium that all you can get in nut butter. Your muscles and bones will gain strength with these nutrients. Nut butter is best for preparing muscles and bones for a long grind.
After eating properly for hiking, you must hydrate yourself to deal with the summer heat. Drink at least 4 cups of water to keep your body cool and to regulate body temperature.
Water also helps convert food into energy your body will need during hiking.
How Much Should You Eat Before Hike?
Make sure not to eat too heavily before hiking. Eating heavy food will not let you hike, and you will feel lazy. You should eat at least 1 to 3 hours before hiking for better energy and easy digestion. Eating an entire feast before going out on the trail is not good, as you will only want to sleep then.
Prepare a pre-hike meal of 300 to 500 calories before departing to digest your food. Within this less time, high calories will not digest. You can keep some snacks to eat after every hour to maintain optimum energy levels.
What To Eat During A Hike?
You will expend a lot of energy during hiking, so you will need to eat something to add fuel to your body. Once you start hiking, eat one snack after every hour, looking at the body’s energy requirements.
You should pack high-energy snacks such as beef jerky, peanut butter, trail mix, granola, dried fruits, bananas, and peanut butter.
Don’t Forget Hydration
Whenever your body feels exhausted due to a hike or sweat, drink water but keep the electrolytes balanced by intaking salts. For proper balancing, you can also keep electrolyte supplements and water additives.
What To Eat After A Hike?
Once you are done hiking, eat healthy food to replenish the body's energy and stamina. Your body muscles will tire after hiking, so eat protein-rich food, i.e., Salmon.
Salmon For Protein
- Your body will convert proteins into amino acids, which are then further broken down into nutrients your body can absorb. Eating salmon will also add Omega 3 fatty acids to your diet, relieving inflammation and reducing the joint's pain.
Bananas For Potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium
Bananas are the best source to relieve muscle cramps after a long hike. You might have noticed athletes and players eat bananas to relieve muscles and ease cramps.
You will get essential nutrients with them, and the carbs in bananas will also help restore glycogen in the body.
What Not To Eat Before A Hike?
In the morning, you shouldn’t eat heavy food to load your body to feel bogged down during hiking. Eating heavy or too much food will make you lazy, and instead of going out hiking, you will move toward the bed to nap.
Here are some foods and drinks you should avoid eating when hiking:
- Carbonated beverages or Soda
- Excessive dairy
- Greasy, fatty, and deep-fried food
- Sugary beverages
- Candy or candy bars
People often ask about drinking coffee before a hike. We suggest you drink coffee only if it’s part of your daily routine; otherwise, do not drink it before hiking.
What Should I Eat For A Long Hike?
If you are getting ready for a long hike, add some lightweight but nutrient-dense foods to your backpack. You can eat trail mix, seeds, nuts, fresh fruits, dried fruits, energy bars, granola bars, ready-made tuna salad, friend jerky, and whole grain tortilla.
What Is The Best Thing To Eat Before A Hike?
Eating peanut butter, white bread, berries, yogurt, banana sandwich, peanut butter, nuts, and apple is the best way to energize your body during hiking.
What To Eat For Breakfast Before A Hike?
You should eat carbs to fuel your body. For breakfast, eat eggs, non-sugar cereal, or oatmeal. You can also eat fruits, brown rice, whole-grain pasta, and vegetables.
You should know that hiking requires the body to have sufficient energy, fuel, and stamina to walk and climb constantly. Therefore, knowing what to eat before, during, and after a hike is crucial to maintain energy levels in the body.
Eat foods containing carbs and proteins such as oatmeal, nut butter, and lean meat. You should also drink water to maintain hydration in the body. We hope the information will benefit you during a long hike while keeping you energetic.