Healthy Eating for a Hike

If you’re going to lead an active lifestyle and go on hiking trips, there are a few things to remember about your health. It is important to eat a healthy diet in any situation, but particularly when you are using your body to preform strenuous tasks like exercise.

My favorite place to shop for healthy food for a hiking trip is Trader Joe’s. Here in SLO, theres one about ten minutes away from campus on Higuera Street.photo 1

Trader Joe’s is great for finding good tasting gluten free and whole grain foods, and also the kind of food you would want to bring on your hike. The type of food you bring depends on the length of your trek. A short day hike would require a snack to refuel, whereas a longer day long hike over 5 miles would require you to bring more food in order to keep up your energy.

For some example ideas on what to bring on both kinds of hikes, check out The Hiking Dude‘s website which provides snacks to bring as well as the amount of carbs, protein, and fat in each food.

Avid hiker and and Cal Poly student Sylvia Lijewski says  “I always bring energy bars, trail mix, beef jerky, salami, chocolate, dried fruit, water, avocado, apples, and oranges. The fruits are mostly for hydration and taste. The rest are for high calories and quick energy while still tasting good.”

Fruit is always a good choice, because it’s light and won’t tip the scale of your pack. Fruit is also good, because it has many vitamins and is low in fat. Try dried fruit for a sweeter snack that’s more compact on longer trips, but make sure to consume lots of water with it so that you don’t become dehydrated.

“It’s best to have some potassium, so bananas are great.” Suggests third year Kinesiology major Taryn Davis. “Electrolytes, the sodium, and the potassium replenish you. Cuties are also good for a small amount of natural sugar that won’t give you the kind of crash coffee or refined sugar will.”

Energy bars can also be a good source of calories, vitamins, and minerals as well. Just make sure to pay attention to how much sugar is in them, as some brands can have as much as 20 grams of sugar per bar which is equivalent to a pack of candy.

My personal favorite energy bar is Clif’s Peanut Toffee Buzz. The peanut butter and toffee taste and texture is a satisfying mixture which fills me up, and the 50mg of caffeine (about a third of a Grande Starbucks latte or espresso drink) is a nice energy boost.

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“Choose my plate” is an excellent resource to find out your exact daily nutritional needs, specifically customized to your height, weight, and gender. It will tell you how much carbohydrate, protein, fruits and veggies you should ideally consume each day to keep your body running in tip top shape. Try to have a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein. Each person has specific caloric needs based on their bodyweight, height, age, and gender, which you can calculate by clicking on the hyperlink above, and then see a visual representation by clicking on the below chart and entering in your information.

Click here to see your chart!

With these tips, as well as knowledge on your specific caloric and nutritional needs, you can be confident to buy the right amount and right kind of food for your next hike no matter how long it is!

Healthy Eating for a Hike