Planning what food to bring for your trip is a daunting task to do. You need to think smartly what’s good and what’s not to help your body stay on top during long days of chasing the horizon. Should you bring gluten or dairy-free products? Do you have weight and nutritional considerations? Should dehydrated meals do the trick? In this article, we’re going to explore the basics of back country nutrition along with meal planning tips to help you stay alert and fueled during your backpacking adventure.
Watch Out for Your Calories
- Knowing how much calories your body needs during your adventure is a must. Smartphone apps such as “MyFitnessPal” or “Fitbit” can help you track your daily calorie intake. Once you know your average daily calorie intake, you have to double that number while you’re in the back country. For example, you burn about 2,000 calories at home, consuming about 3,000 calories a day in the backcountry is needed. This is a great way to determine your backpacking food requirements.
Micromanage Your Macro nutrients
- Some backpacking explorers tend to stop their backpacking meal planning once their calories are accounted for. However, doing so will leave you fatigued and sluggish since your body lacks essential macronutrients such as healthy fats and proteins. On the other hand, going for about 10-20 miles a day can make your body feel weak and may lead to lethargy.
- The moment we consume food, it gets broken down into three categories of macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Carbohydrates such as bread, fruits, vegetables are all broken down into glucose. Protein such as meats, eggs, and dairy products on the other hand, are broken down into amino acids. Meanwhile, fats are processed into triglycerides, which is a very dense form of calories. Combining these three types of macronutrients can give you proper nutrition during your trip.
- Eating too much carbs can give you that bloated feeling even though you’re still hungry. This is because carbohydrates are broken down into fast burning glucose in our body. We can eat a lot of carbohydrates and still feel hungry thereafter. This is the way our body tells us that it needs protein and fats to pair with carbohydrates.
- When you’re on your trip, protein should be on top of your meal planning list. Consuming protein releases glucagon in our bodies which tells us that we’re full making us feel satiated. Protein is also rich in amino acids which can help build muscle mass. If you ever feel down and off during your backcountry adventure, then it’s time to maximize your protein intake.
- So many people are staying away from fat because of its bad and unhealthy factors. But in reality, fats are important if you want a balanced and nutritious diet. Of course, we have to choose healthy fats in considering this. Consuming fat helps our brain to build synaptic pathways for our bodies to store fat as fuel that can be burned later while on the trail. Healthy fats such as coconut oil, butter, and ghee can help you stay energized and alert during your journey.
Grain-Free Meals is a Must
- It’s important to consume grain-free meals when you’re traveling along the backcountry. But why do we need to? Well, consuming too much gluten-containing grains can lead to chronic inflammation and join paint which can turn into a lethargy that’s caused by too much consumption of carbohydrates. This is why grain-free meals are important so that you won’t wake up in the middle of your journey worrying about sore knees and back pain.