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,

Water Is Essential for Good Health

Glass of water

Water makes up about 50% to 70% of your body weight. It is essential for maintaining body temperature; lubricating and cushioning joints; and getting rid of waste. Drinking water during or after a meal also aids digestion. The amount of water your body needs depends on many factors, including your health, how active you are, and where you live.

You are likely getting enough water if you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is colorless or light yellow. You will need more fluids to keep hydrated during exercise or on hot summer days. To make sure your body has the fluids it needs, make water your beverage of choice. It’s a good idea to drink water with meals; before, during, and after exercise; and when you feel thirsty.

Source: Mayo Clinic,

Refresh Yourself with Water for Summer Exercise

Water bottle

The human body is 60% water. Our cells need water to:

  • Remove waste,
  • Control body temperature,
  • Lubricate and cushion joints, and
  • Protect sensitive tissues.

Water is vital to regulate body temperature during exercise in the summer heat. Lack of water can lead to extreme thirst, fatigue, and dizziness. Dehydration is particularly dangerous for young children and older adults.

How much water do we need to be drinking? Adults should get 9–14 cups of fluid a day. Generally, if your urine is pale or colorless, you are getting enough.

Remember, you can also drink and eat other things besides water to get the fluid you need.

  • 100% juice (no more than 1 cup a day)
  • Milk
  • Fruit
  • Nonstarchy vegetables
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Sports drinks (if sweating a lot)

For more about your water needs, visit Mayo Clinic,

Is Your Fruit-infused Water Safe?

Fruit-infused water

Fruit-infused water has become popular in recent years. It’s a great way to drink more and stay hydrated. With no added sugar, it’s a good alternative to juice or soda. The endless flavor combinations are tasty and refreshing. There are some important food safety tips to remember, however. To avoid increased bacteria growth and foodborne illness, follow these tips:

  • Start with clean hands; wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds.
  • Wash produce thoroughly under cool running water. Use a clean produce brush on firm items such as oranges or lemons.
  • Use clean cutting boards and utensils to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Store infused water in the refrigerator at 40°F or below in a sealed pitcher.
  • If you are taking your infused water on the go, make sure to drink it within four hours. Infused water at room  temperature must be used or discarded after four hours to prevent bacteria growth.
  • For best results, drain fruit solids within 24 hours and refrigerate water up to three days.
  • Always start with clean equipment for new batches; avoid refilling the same pitcher.

Source: Michigan State University Extension,