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Posts Tagged ‘Hillwalking’

Nutrition for Hillwalking

The sun is shining, the days are long. After a stressful week at work, fresh air, exercise and good food can restore your body and nourish your soul! What to take to eat for a day in the hills will depend on many factors. Do you like to take food which you never normally eat during the week, or your faithful sandwich or soup you enjoy every day? Do you want comfort food, which will give you a mental boost and help you make it to the summit, or endure a day of rain and wind? Everyone will have their own needs, likes and dislikes, but we need to start somewhere.

One thing is certain, you need energy. How much will depend mainly on how heavy you are, how much you are carrying, and how far you are walking – in deep snow, heather, or landrover track. Most people take enough food with them, but forget about the minor nutrients which are needed for energy metabolism. These include the B vitamins. There are several B vitamins, but read the side of a cornflake packet and you may recognise names such as riboflavin, thiamin and niacin. These have a vital role in the release of energy, fron the food you have eaten. Unlike a sturdy rucksack, these vitamins are quite fragile and are not stored in your body to any great extent. It is best to eat a supply every day. The more active you are, the more important a regular supply of B vitamins will be. Luckily they are found in a range of different foods – including wholemeal bread, nuts, leafy vegetables such as spinach, bananas, oats, eggs, cows milk, and good old Marmite. So, a perfect sandwich for the hills which will provide energy as well as the energy releasing B vitamins would be a wholemeal bagel with peanut butter and Marmite. Try almond butter, or tahini (sesame seed paste) as alternatives to peanut butter and mix with mashed banana and dates.

Experiment with different breads – sourdough, rye, pumpernickel, gluten free potato, or wholemeal pitta. Turkey slices with a splash of chilli sauce, or pesto, and raw spinach leaves is a good source of B vitamins. Mashed avocado, Marmite and tahini can be messy to carry and eat, but is also a good choice to take for an energising day in the hills.