If you go out on a long walk, it is important that you make sure that you take adequate provisions with you. Eating the right sorts of foods will keep your energy up whilst you are exercising, whereas drinking enough fluid will help to keep you hydrated whilst you are walking.
If you are planning on walking all day, it is a good idea to take a midday meal with you, but you should also take smaller snacks with you that you can eat whilst you are on the go. Your midday meal should be relatively light, as a heavy meal is likely to increase your risk of suffering from painful cramps once you start walking again.
Foods that contain carbohydrates are vital for giving energy. Eating carbohydrate rich foods will allow you to maintain a good pace throughout the day and can help to prevent you from getting exhausted.
If you plan on doing a long walk, you may want to start your day with a slow-release food like porridge, which will help to give you enough energy to keep you going until lunchtime. Sandwiches and wraps with a carbohydrate-rich filling are ideal for lunch, as long as you take them in a small lunchbox to prevent them from getting squashed in your rucksack. Alternatively, pasta salad is a good choice for a lunch that will offer a high calorie, slow-release of energy. In terms of snack foods, flapjacks are a great choice because they are delicious and they are carbohydrate-rich.
Fresh fruit is a brilliant choice when you are out walking. Most fruit has a high water content, which means that fruit can help to keep you hydrated during your walk. They are also rich in essential vitamins and minerals. Over the course of a long walk, a wide range of vitamins and minerals are used up by the body as part of essential reactions and processes. These need to be replenished to ensure that the body continues to function properly. They also play an important part in the rest and recovery process, such as the process of helping to heal the muscles and replenish dead cells.
Different fruits have different nutritional values, so you can mix and match when you are choosing what to take on a walk.
Apples and pears are an excellent choice for walkers because they are easy to pack and require no additional onsite preparation. Soft fruit, such as berries and grapes, are a delicious choice but they should always be packed in a hard-sided container to ensure that they do not get crushed or leak out over the contents of your rucksack. Bananas are high in potassium which reduces the chances of developing painful muscle cramps after prolonged periods of exercise. Even though fruit peels, apple cores and any other skins are biodegradable, you must make sure that you take them with you when you finish your walk.
Trail mix is a great choice for a snack whilst you are out walking. Although pre-prepared trail mix is available to purchase, it can be far more fun to make your own before you leave. Ideally, the trail mix that you create will be a combination of high energy food which provides long-lasting energy rather than a short-term sugar rush. Nuts, seeds and dried fruits are all great choices. For example, sunflower seeds are high in calories to provide you with energy, but they are also packed full of vital nutrients. If you enjoy chocolate, you could add a few chocolate drops or M & Ms to the mix to give yourself an extra little treat.
You should always carry a few emergency rations with you, in case you begin to run low on energy. Kendal Mint Cake is a great choice for any rucksack, because it has a long best before date and it is a very high energy product. You only need to eat a small amount to give a high energy output. It is widely praised amongst expedition leaders, including Edmund Hillary, as an ideal emergency ration.
Staying hydrated can reduce tiredness, headaches and cramps. Dehydration will reduce the ability of your organs to function effectively and can even be fatal if not treated. Combat dehydration by drinking regularly throughout the walk. Do not wait until you feel thirsty before taking a drink, as thirst is an early symptom of dehydration.
Still water is the best option for rehydration when you are out on a walk. Fizzy drinks are not recommended as they offer poor rehydration and the gas can cause bloating and cramps. Fruit juices can lead to sugar spikes and are not as rehydrating as water. Isotonic drinks and sports drinks can help to replenish vitamins and minerals, but may not hydrate as well as still water.