When we think about packing for a walk, we think about what we are going to wear (and what extra layers to take just in case!); whether we’ve got everything we need to navigate, and whether we’ve packed enough basic emergency equipment should anything unplanned occur. We also pack things to eat and drink… but are the foods and drinks we chose the best for our walk?
We did a bit of a survey in the office of favourite walking snacks, here are our teams hiking snack preferences:
- Cereal Bars / Flapjack
- Chocolate Bars
- Sweets – ‘Emergency’ Wine Gums, Percy Pigs, Fizzy sweets
- Dried Fruit & Nuts
- Fruit & Veg – Grapes, Cucumber, Bananas, Berries
- Sports Gels
- Pastries – Sausage Rolls / Pinwheels
- Dried Meats
- Pasta Salad
- Flask of Tea
- Electrolyte Drinks
- Whiskey – a wee dram on a cold day!
- Blackcurrant Brandy – as a reward for getting to the top!
- Water (and a collapsible bowl)
- Mini Sausages
For a day’s walking it is recommended that you eat foods to keep your energy levels up and fluids to keep you hydrated. If it’s a day’s walk, take a light midday meal with you but also lots of smaller snacks – as one of our colleagues said, take more than you think you need and the same goes for fluids.
Carbohydrates give you energy, helping you to keep a good pace without getting exhausted. Before you start on the walk, think about what you should eat for breakfast, realising that you are going to burn up a lot of calories. Porridge is an excellent breakfast choice, with some dried fruit and honey.
Lunch could be a sandwich or wrap with a tasty filling – tuna or cheese but put it in a box, there is nothing less appealing than a squished sandwich! A pasta salad is also a yummy alternative if you don’t fancy bread. As you are burning lots of calories – you can have a sweet, flapjack or similar oaty traybake.
Fresh fruit is a great source of fluid, helping to keep you hydrated. They are also good for replacing essential vitamins and minerals lost whilst walking and this helps with the recovery process too. You can choose pretty much any fruit from apples and pears, bananas are great, grapes and berries, but again, just watch that you don’t end up with ‘juice’ at the bottom of your rucksack! Please take cores, peels and skins home with you for your compost bin rather than leaving them littering the walk.
Dried fruit and nuts to nibble – with a few chocolate drops for a treat, are great to give quick energy boosts and easy to eat as you go.
Even with the best intentions, sometimes you will be delayed on your walk, maybe a great view that you want to savour, you’ve got talking to a fellow walker enroute, who walks ‘slower’ than you, so it is always worth taking emergency rations. Kendal Mint Cake, which is pure sugar and mint oil, was good enough for Sir Edmund Hillary to take to the top of Everest, so a perfect choice to add as your just in case!
Keep drinking, even though you don’t always feel ‘thirsty’. If you feel thirsty, it may be because you are already getting dehydrated. Water is by far the best option to drink, no fizz, no caffeine, no sugar spike – and great if you need to wash your hands or face or rinse a wound etc. Be really careful with electrolyte drinks or sports gels – they may be great for replacing vitamins and minerals but can also lead to stomach upsets if you are not used to them.
And, if you are taking your four-legged friend with you, they need their energy treats and water too! You might find puddles, lakes and streams for them to drink, but fresh water is by far safer for them!
Oh, and don’t forget to put the casserole in the slow cooker for your evening meal, you will be ready for it 😊