Want to know some tips for properly fueling your adventure? We are here to answer the internet’s most asked questions about outdoor nutrition:
What does the diet of an outdoor enthusiast look like?
A lot of times we see people that are hiking or climbing, kayaking, biking... with "easy to carry items", like bars or gels or goos, and that’s great, but you can also have real food. You could make your own granola bars, your sandwiches, burritos, rice bowls. We advocate for real food substances, so if you can find things that are easy to carry, that consist of real food that you like, even like nuts and dates, fruit, or something similar.
What should you eat the night before a big ski tour, climbing day, long hike, trail run, etc?
Food is very important basically all the time, not just pre- and post-workout, but during your workout or leading up to the days that you’re going to do something. Real food, whole food, whole grains, vegetables, meat, things like that are really good, so let’s say you’re like going out on your big ski tour, the night before, having something like a chicken breast with steamed broccoli, even like kimchi, and maybe some millet or something like that, or a little side salad, that would be ideal. You don’t want to eat a whole bunch of simple carbohydrates.
How often should you eat throughout the day during your chosen activity?
We’re all different, so it varies how much each person should eat or might need to eat. It also depends on the exercise, but trying to keep your blood sugar under regulation, and keep energy at the same time. You don’t want peaks and valleys with your nutrition because it’s gonna hinder your performance and disrupt your energy levels. When you get home, make sure you prioritize getting some protein in there and some good carbohydrates and fat too.
What are the best foods to fuel a backpacking trip?
You want to think of light food. You can do your own dehydrated meals, you can buy bulk dehydrated meals. If you are going to be climbing, you are probably hauling all of your stuff with you, you need a lighter, haul bag, water’s heavy, you also don’t want to carry like cans and packs of wet food. So it’s a fine balance, you have to ask yourself like how much water am I gonna need for my meals, how much water am I gonna need for just general hydration. Also it’s important to have things that get you psyched, so like if you need a sweet treat, like sour gummies, bring it with you.
Is it better to eat a few large meals or should I graze throughout the day?
It’s gonna kind of depend on you and what your day is. f you’re just at home working, well maybe having breakfast, a snack, and lunch, and dinner is fine, but if you are going for a hike, maybe just having a like a little side pack of some trail mix, some nuts, you know, maintaining that fat, protein, carbohydrate ratio is really important. That keeps us at an even keel and powered throughout the day.
What can I eat for a quick burst of energy to get me through the ascent?
The two easiest forms of like fast-acting sugar, basically from real food are raisins and grapes. They’re amazing, they’re super easy to carry, especially raisins.
Isn’t a calorie just a calorie? Shouldn’t I pack for efficiency?
Yes. But it depends. For example, the sour gummies might have the same amount of calories as, say, an apple, but the sour gummies has no fiber and it’s all sugar, so we’re going to eat it, it’s gonna be very fast acting, like shot of straight glucose, our blood sugar’s gonna spike, it’s gonna be great for a little while, but later it's going to decline in our blood sugar. The apple has fiber, we’re going to tap into that fructose, it’s gonna take a little longer to process because of the fiber and it’s gonna keep our blood sugar more stable. Both affect our hormones. We’re trying to not affect hormones negatively as much as possible. You do want to think efficiency, but you need to think about the efficiency of your body also. You can be efficient with real food.
What are signs of not eating right while being active?
Fatigue is number one. Fatigue and not recovering fast enough. If you’re getting aches and pains, if you’re constantly sore, you feel like you just don’t have the energy, you don’t have the power to do it, you’re definitely not fueling enough.
How much food should I bring outdoors?
That depends on your objective, how long you’re going out for. If you’re going out for the day, maybe just bring about 1,500 calories with you, assuming that you’re going to be home for dinner or that you’ve already eaten breakfast at your house. If you’re going out for multiple days and you want to think with this minimum of 2,000 calories per day, it’s gonna be different per person, generally speaking because the bigger you are, the more calories you need. Also, the type of exercise you’re doing is gonna determine how much you’re burning.
Best advice for vegetarians who want to follow a high-protein diet?
Beans are very important. If you’re going with tofu or the soy route, it’s really important that you prioritize going for sprouted or fermented. Those are the traditional ways that soy was produced, that is the way that we digest it the best, otherwise we have a hard time. That’s basically with all beans and legumes, but soy in particular. And you know, you need to make sure you’re getting all nine essential amino acids, however you’re going to do that.
What are some of food staples you should always have with you?
We recommend pecans, apricots, dried apricots, dates, dried figs and cheese. We also recommend to bring your guilty pleasure treat.
What is good recovery food for your post-adventure?
It’s gonna go back to optimizing for real food, but prioritizing protein. So within the first hour after you’re done, it’s really good to have about 20 grams of protein, you also need vitamins and your minerals and your fats with it too, so getting that good source of protein, having some nice vegetables with and some good fat too is ideal.
What should I absolutely not eat while I’m adventuring?
Things that you don’t know what they are. That’s number one. Number two, we said it before , it’s fun to have like these sugary treats, but is not that great. Staying away from like the simple carbohydrates we think is what you want to avoid.
Should everything I eat be organic?
In an ideal world yes, but it doesn’t have to be. Ideally, you want good, organic produce because it has the most vitamins and minerals in it, it comes from the healthiest soil. If it’s not available, it’s okay.
How does nutrition affect performance?
Nutrition affects everything. It affects our energy levels, it affects our hormone production, it affects our metabolism, it affects our digestion, if we have poor nutrition, we’re not getting all of the vitamins and minerals, macronutrients that we need. We’re gonna suffer, we’re not gonna, we’re not going to reach kind of our optimal output or our potential.
Can I eat the mushrooms and berries I come upon during my hike?
No, unless you know what they are. If you don’t know what they are, then don’t.
Any tips for eating healthy on a budget?
Real food tends to be cheaper than prepackaged foods, so there’s this rule of shopping the perimeter of the grocery store because that’s where all the fruits and vegetables, the meat, the dairy is. If you can opt for organic produce, organic milk and eggs, grass-fed, pastured beef and lamb and chicken, things like that, great, but sometimes is expensive. Vegetables generally are very affordable, and then if you’re going over to your protein section and you just don’t have the budget to get this good meat, things like canned black beans, canned kidney beans, garbanzo beans, lentils in bulk, stuff like that is really, really affordable.