It’s no secret that hiking is one of the most intense physical activities you can engage in and it makes sense that you’d want to fill your body with the best fuel possible. Every hiker knows that setting out on an empty stomach or not packing any snacks for long hikes can quickly turn a fun outdoor adventure into an uncomfortable ordeal.
In a worst-case scenario, failing to adequately fuel your body for a hike could put you at a higher risk of injuring yourself simply because you lack the energy to safely navigate the environment. This danger is especially prevalent on hilly terrain where having a sure footing and a focused mind are essential.
While hiking may be your passion, meal preparation and cooking may not be, so it’s understandable if you don’t want to have to think too much about the nutritional science of an optimal hiking diet. With that said, there is a lot to be gained from looking into recipes you can rely on for fuelling your future hikes.
To make things a little easier for you, here are 6 nutritious meals you can prepare to give yourself the energy you need to get the most out of your hiking experiences.
Creamy Chicken Pasta
When it comes to fuelling your body for a long day of activity, carbohydrate rich foods like pasta is always a great way to fill up the tank. This creamy chicken pasta is a dish you’ll love for its simplicity and great taste.
If you’re going on a particularly long hike, double up on your ingredients and make a bigger batch so you can pack some to enjoy for lunch. This is also a great choice for group hikes where you want to ensure you make something you can be confident most people are going to enjoy.
Oatmeal is one of the simplest meals to make and it’s easy to prepare as much or as little of it as you want. It’s also one of the best sources of complex carbohydrates which are going to give you long-lasting energy that burns slowly over the course of your hike.
Oatmeal is also great because of its versatility – you can pretty much add any kind of fruit or muesli to make it even more nutritious. This also means you won’t get as bored of eating oatmeal since you can always experiment with a new combination of toppings.
Rice, fish and veggies
Rice is another great source of carbohydrates that goes nicely with a portion of fish and some seasonal vegetables. Whole-grain rice is better for you in terms of fibre content, but white rice is better if you want something that you can digest quickly before heading out the door.
If, for whatever reason, you want to avoid meat, then you can always replace the fish with tofu for an equally delicious combination. You can also get a good source of sodium-based electrolytes like sodium from toppings like tamari soy sauce.
Pancakes, eggs and fruit
Who said pancakes can’t be healthy? If you go for oatmeal pancakes, ditch the syrup and add some eggs or fruit. Then you can actually create an excellent pre-hike meal that’s packed with complex carbohydrates and protein.
Quinoa and vegetable bowl
Quinoa is another popular source of carbohydrates for athletes and anyone doing intense physical activity as it is relatively easy on the stomach, meaning you won’t feel bloated as easily. People who find it difficult to keep down a big meal during exercise might find salvation in a light but nutrient packed bowl of quinoa, vegetables and perhaps some tofu or chicken for protein.
Sweet potato curry
Sweet potato should be a favourite for all hikers, simply because of its high carb content. Mix it in with a light curry sauce, rice and some spinach to get a great supply of hiking fuel.
Hopefully you’ll get to try one or more of the above meals and see if they give you a satisfactory amount of energy to fuel your next hiking experience. There is no shortage of other recipes out there you can research to give yourself an even more diverse mix of ideal hiking meals to choose from.