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What To Eat When Hiking: Red’s Food Guide For Day Hikes

Posted by Alex Clasper

Fuelling your body with the right foods is essential for making your hike successful and enjoyable. Not too sure what to eat when hiking? The following guide contains advice on the best foods to eat before, during and after a day hike. 

What To Eat Before A Hike

When discussing what to eat when hiking, people often start with breakfast. However, your prep should actually start the day before you plan on making your trip. The day before, make sure you’re keeping yourself well hydrated, and the night before eat a meal full of complex carbohydrates like whole grain pasta, rice, sweet potato and beans. Your body breaks down complex carbs slowly providing a sustainable energy release which is why these types of carbs are among the best food for hiking. 

What about breakfast? The morning of your hike, again make sure to drink plenty of water, and consider a relatively small meal with complex carbohydrates and lean protein. Porridge with fruit or scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast are both great options. Avoid greasy, fatty foods and excessive amounts of dairy as this can make you feel more sluggish than adventure-ready.

What To Eat During A Hike

Knowing what to eat when hiking throughout the day is important for keeping your energy levels topped up so make sure to bring the right snacks in your backpack.The Red Original Cool Bag Backpack is perfect for day hikes. 100% waterproof with plenty of internal storage as well as 2 external water bottle holders, the backpack features a padded back panel, airflow straps and a removable chest strap. Alongside a main lunch meal, such as a peanut butter sandwich or tuna and egg salad, you want to choose easy-to-carry snacks that will help replenish your electrolytes as you exercise. When thinking about snacks and what to eat when hiking, a selection of salty foods are a must, such as nuts and trail mix, alongside snacks with carbs and protein such as granola bars. Fresh fruit is also good for fuelling your body with natural sugars - Avoid snacks that are really high in processed sugars as this will give you a short burst of energy, but a crash afterwards that saps your energy levels. As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to drink approximately 1 litre of water every two hours to keep yourself hydrated.

What To Eat After A Hike

When discussing what to eat when hiking, it’s just as important to know how to nourish your body after you’ve exercised as it is during the time that you’re exercising. Aim to refuel within an hour of when you’ve finished your hike as this is the time period in which your muscles are most susceptible to replenishment and repair. Pack a flask with a nice hot brew to enjoy once you’ve finished, particularly if it’s cold, and aim to enjoy a full meal soon after that. For your post-hike foods, look for complex carbs and lean proteins. Something like chicken pasta, salmon and sweet potato, or a turkey sandwich on wholemeal bread would be perfect. Carry on drinking water throughout the evening, to ensure you’re staying hydrated.