Something as simple as hiking can use around 300 calories an hour, and the right type of foods can boost energy levels and keep you in the game. Food that’s easy to carry, won’t get damaged in your pack, and that can be eaten without preparation is essential outdoors.
Fresh FruitYes, it’s part of your ’5 a day’, but fruit can boost sugar levels and give you that extra lift in the mid-term that can make a real difference. A banana (watch out for squashing) or an apple isn’t that filling and can be quickly broken down by your body to see you through an afternoon lull in performance. It’s also a great one for kids. As an added bonus the leftovers are bio-degradable and safe for wildlife.
Whether shop bought or home made, trail mix can provide essential fats, fruit sugars, and carbohydrates. It is energy rich and can offer a tasty combination of short, mid, and long term energy release. Easy to carry in a re-sealable bag, trail mix commonly contains dried fruit (ranging from raisins to dried banana chips), Granola, fatty seeds, hearty mixed nuts, even luxury chocolate chips. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids with any dried fruit mix to combat dehydration.
Most energy bars are designed to release energy gradually and there’s a fantastic variety out there to suit every palette. Available commonly in supermarkets, health food shops, or even service stations, they are easy to store and it pays to have a couple at the bottom of your pack just in case. Quality varies. The cheaper ones tend to be sweet and offer a quick energy solution, while the more long-term energy solutions tend to be bland but offer a more controlled release that will give you a steady supply of ‘get-up-and-go’. A good tip is to not eat them all at once, but to save half and eat them slowly for a more sustained energy release. As with a lot of outdoor equipment, you get what you pay for.
Sugary Treats and Glucose Tablets
In any outdoor shop you’ll see the obligatory bars of Kendal Mint Cake. An outstanding classic for instant energy, and easy to carry, they’re rich in sugars to give us that quick boost when energy levels drop. If you don’t like Kendal Mint Cake how about trying boiled sugar sweets, pressed fruit strips, or even Jelly Babies? When we eat sugars or starch our bodies change them into glucose. Glucose is used by our muscles as fuel. A pack of flavoured glucose tablets offers an instant solution which is easily digested and quickly absorbed into our blood to give us instant oomph.Lastly, don’t forget to drink plenty of water. If fluid levels drop then headaches (especially in the sun) and tiredness is common. If you’re eating dried fruit and exercising you’re going to need more than your usual litre and a half a day.
For those who enjoy romping through the countryside, take some tips from George Bentley, writing here for Winfields Limited