Hold onto your nutrition bars, fellow hikers, and get ready to dive into the world of pre-, during, and post-hike munchies!
Whether you’re about to conquer a long hike or tackle a strenuous uphill battle, knowing what to eat before hiking can make all the difference.
In this thrilling article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of staying well-fueled and hydrated, including what to munch on after you’ve triumphed over the trails.
So, fill up those water bottles, and let’s embark on this delicious journey together!
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Why You Gotta Know What to Munch Before a Hike
Eating the right stuff before a hike can make or break your adventure.
The perfect pre-hike meal will boost your energy, help you tackle even the longest or most strenuous hike well, and keep you from feeling pooped out on the trail.
What to eat before hiking?
Ready to dive into my delicious list of proven foods you will eat before a hike that actually tastes good AND keeps you energized?
#1 Whole Grain Pasta Party
Pasta is packed with complex carbs that’ll keep you going for the long haul. Add some nut butter for an energy boost that’ll have you climbing mountains like a champ.
#2 Bananas to the Rescue
Bananas are your hiking BFF—they’re loaded with potassium and natural sugars to keep those pesky muscle cramps at bay.
Plus, they’re easy to digest, so you won’t feel weighed down on your trek.
#3 Oat-standing Oatmeal
Nothing beats a warm bowl of oatmeal to kick off a day hike. It’s chock-full of complex carbs for long-lasting energy.
Mix in some dried fruit or nuts for an extra tasty treat.
What I personally like to eat before a hike is oatmeal with flavored yogurt.
I am a bit of a sweet tooth (promise you don’t tell anyone, since I am a personal trainer), and combining sweet yogurt with oatmeal gives me the perfect combo of sweet and nutritional value.
#4 Greek Yogurt for the Win
Greek yogurt is a protein powerhouse that’ll keep your muscles strong and happy. Add a drizzle of honey or some berries to sweeten the deal before hitting the trail.
#5 Trail Mix Magic
A classic hiking staple, trail mix has the perfect combo of healthy fats, proteins, and carbs to keep you fueled up.
Make your mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit for a custom snack that’ll put a pep in your step.
#6 Energy Bars Galore
Energy bars are your go-to grab-and-go snack for pre-hike fuel. Choose bars with whole grains, nuts, and natural sweeteners to avoid the dreaded sugar crash.
#7 Egg-cellent Hard-Boiled Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs are the perfect protein-packed pick-me-up for your hike.
Pop one or two in your mouth before setting off, and you’ll be ready to conquer any trail that comes your way.
#8 Sweet Potato Power
Sweet potatoes are the unsung heroes of pre-hike nutrition. Packed with complex carbs, fiber, and essential nutrients, they’ll keep your energy levels soaring.
Bake or microwave one and add a pinch of cinnamon for a deliciously sweet and satisfying treat.
#9 Lean, Mean Protein Machine
Lean meats like chicken or turkey are excellent sources of protein and amino acids to keep your muscles strong and help with recovery.
Whip up a tasty sandwich on whole wheat bread for a hunger-busting, hike-ready meal.
#10 Brown Rice Bonanza
Brown rice is a fantastic source of complex carbs and essential nutrients that’ll keep you fueled during long hikes.
Pair it with lean protein and veggies for a balanced and delicious pre-hike meal.
#11 Granola Bars with Gusto
Granola bars are a convenient and tasty way to get the nutrients you need for your hike.
Look for bars with whole grains, dried fruits, and nuts for a satisfying snack that’ll help you power through the most challenging trails.
Don’t forget to pack a few extras for those “just in case” moments!
Things to eat during a hike
Now that you’re all fueled up, let’s talk about the best snacks to keep you going strong during your hike.
These tasty treats will keep your energy levels high and your taste buds happy while you conquer the great outdoors.
#1 Jerky Jive
Jerky is the king of portable protein. Low in fat and loaded with lean protein, it’s the perfect snack to keep your muscles going and your tummy satisfied.
#2 Nut Butter Bliss
Squeeze packs of nut butter are a hiker’s dream.
They’re lightweight, easy to pack, and loaded with healthy fats and protein. Spread it on some whole-grain crackers for an energy-boosting snack that tastes good at the same time.
What more do you want?
#3 Energy Bar Bonanza
Do you know those energy bars I mentioned earlier? They’re just as fantastic during your hike as they are before.
Tuck a few in your backpack for a quick energy boost.
#4 Fruit Frenzy: Dried Fruits
Dried fruits are light, nutrient-rich, and perfect for hiking.
They’re loaded with natural sugars and fiber to keep your energy consistent while you’re out and about.
#5 Electrolyte Tablets: Hydration Heroes
Staying hydrated is key on any hike.
Pop an electrolyte tablet into your water to replace minerals lost through sweat and keep those pesky muscle cramps at bay.
#6 Say Cheese!
Hard cheeses like cheddar or gouda are protein-rich, calcium-packed, and just plain delicious. Perfect for keeping your energy up and your taste buds dancing.
As a Dutch native, I LOVE cheese. I usually pack some Gouda or Beemster cheese, put them on a cracker with mustard and pickles, and feel like I can hike onto mount Everest afterward.
#7 Crunchy Veggie Sticks
Carrot and celery sticks are both easy to carry and good for you. They are also a refreshing and hydrating snack.
They’re low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals, making them an ideal hiking companion.
#8 Tantalizing Tuna Pouches
Tuna pouches are convenient, protein-packed, and perfect for the trail. No refrigeration is needed – just enjoy a nutritious, tasty treat on the go.
#9 Divine Dark Chocolate
Studies have shown that a little dark chocolate can work wonders on a hike. It’s packed with antioxidants and healthy fats, so you can indulge your sweet tooth and get an energy kick.
#10 Pretzel Perfection
Pretzels are light, salty, and perfect for replenishing sodium lost through sweat. They’re easy to pack and even easier to snack on while you’re on the move.
#11 Water: The Ultimate Hydration Station
Last but not least, don’t forget to drink up!
Staying hydrated is very important if you want to keep your energy up, avoid cramps, and have a good time hiking. Keep sipping as you go to stay ahead of the hydration game.
Things to eat after a hike
Congrats, you’ve crushed that trail!
Your body’s now craving some TLC, and I’ve got just the grub to help those sore muscles to recuperate and pep up your energy.
#1 Smoothie Superhero
Whiz up a lip-smacking smoothie with protein powder, fruits, and veggies to give your body a superhero-style boost for muscle recovery and energy.
#2 Greek Yogurt Delight
Treat yourself to Greek yogurt, packed with protein, calcium, and probiotics to aid muscle recovery and keep those bones strong.
#3 Quinoa Bowl Extravaganza
Mix up a quinoa bowl with your favorite veggies and lean protein to fuel up and help your tired muscles to bounce back.
#4 Chicken or Turkey Sandwich Supreme
Sink your teeth into a lean chicken or turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread for a tasty, protein-rich, and nutrient-loaded meal.
#5 Sweet Potato Fiesta
Dig into sweet potatoes, which are brimming with complex carbs, vitamins, and minerals that’ll help you recover and recharge.
#6 Brown Rice & Beans Dream Team
The dynamic duo of brown rice and beans offers protein, fiber, and complex carbs, supporting muscle recovery and keeping you full.
#7 Fruit Hydration Station
Chomp on watermelon, oranges, or other hydrating fruits to quench your thirst and replenish essential vitamins and minerals.
I am a big fan of hydration foods. They contain lots of vitamins, are great for when I’ll feel thirsty, and are perfect for when it is a hot day.
#8 Nut Butter & Banana Sandwich Heaven
Savor a heavenly nut butter and banana sandwich on whole wheat bread, packed with protein, healthy fats, and energizing carbs.
#9 Salmon Sensation
Savor grilled salmon with a side of veggies for lean protein, omega-3s, and antioxidants that’ll help your body recuperate and repair.
#10 Choco-Milk Magic
Revel in the magical powers of chocolate milk, an ideal post-hike potion that provides extra protein, carbs, and electrolytes for muscle recovery.
#11 Nutritious Dates
Lastly, we got one of my personal favorites: Dates.
Dates are a great snack to have after hiking. They’ve got carbs to give you energy, fiber to help your digestion, and minerals that can help your muscles feel better.
Plus, they’re easy to carry with you on the trail.
All About Hydration on Your Hike
When you’re out on a long hike, it’s super important to keep your body hydrated, so you stay energized and keep that body temperature in check.
Here’s a list of some fantastic drinks to keep you going on your journey:
The star of the show! Remember to take small sips throughout your hike.
#2 Electrolyte-replacement drinks
When you sweat a lot, you lose the minerals that your body needs.
#3 Sports drinks
A tasty combo of electrolytes, carbs, and sometimes a caffeine boost.
#4 Coconut water
A low-calorie, natural source of electrolytes—fancy, right?
#5 Herbal tea (cooled)
perfect for those who want a caffeine-free option with bonus antioxidants.
Finding That Safe Drinkin’ Water
Staying hydrated is a must, but you also need to ensure you’re drinking safe water. Here’s where you can find some good old H2O:
Is it Better to Eat Before or After a Hike?
You’ll want to eat both before and after a hike.
Eating before gives you the energy you need to tackle that trail while eating afterward helps your body recover and refuel it.
How Much Should I Eat Before a Hike?
About 1-2 hours before hiking, eat a moderately-sized meal loaded with complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats.
Adjust the amount based on the hike’s intensity and your body’s needs.
Is Hiking on an Empty Stomach a Good Idea?
Hiking on an empty stomach can leave you feeling tired and lightheaded. So, snack up before you hit the trail!
What Should I Eat the Night Before a Hike?
The night before a hike, fill up on a balanced meal with complex carbs, lean protein, and healthy fats.
Think whole-grain pasta, brown rice, lean meats, and veggies. This will keep you fueled and ready for that long, strenuous hike ahead!
The Grand Finale
In the end, it is important to remember that your body needs fuel for long hikes and challenging adventures. I can even argue that the right food is just as important as the right-fitting hiking boots or insoles.
So, don’t forget to eat a meal packed with complex carbohydrates before tackling that trail. And, of course, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout your journey.
With these tips in mind, you’ll conquer every peak and valley like a true hiking pro!