Nutrition on the Trails

Two women eating sandwiches on a hike

July is National Park and Recreation Month! If you like hiking, here are some simple nutrition tips:

  • Stay energized by eating carbohydrates. Carbs give you energy, especially for long hikes. Examples of carbs include dried fruit, cereals, or granola bars. Aim for 30–60 grams of carbs per hour for hikes lasting 1 to 2.5 hours, such as an apple, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or a cup of pretzels. For longer hikes, eat 60–90 grams of carbs per hour, like 2 bananas, 2 granola bars, or a bagel with cream cheese.
  • Eat protein to build muscle. Carbs are not the only thing you should eat while hiking—protein is also important to eat! Some examples of foods with protein are meats, nuts, and beans. Protein is important for muscle strength during hikes.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink water regularly, even if you are not thirsty. If you go on longer hikes or it is hot outside, you may need sodium. Sodium helps the body hold on to water. Aim for 300–600 mg of sodium during long hikes. You can get sodium from salty snacks or electrolyte drinks.

Take-along Trail Mix is a great snack option for hiking because it has carbs, protein, and sodium. Happy hiking!

Source: National Library of Medicine,

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