When you’re spending time outdoors the last thing you want to feel is run down or tired. Eating the right food can help prevent a zap of energy, but doing so away from home can be difficult.
The most important way to make sure you’re ready to hit the great outdoors day after day is to consume enough food and water. This can be hard due to lack of space in a backpack or a cooler, but if you don’t consume enough calories and stay hydrated, your body will surely feel run down. The amount of food and water you require will depend on your activities: are you relaxing around a sandy lake or hiking twenty miles across a mountain range? It is estimated that hikers burn about 400-500 calories an hour!
For backpackers, calorie-dense foods (foods that have more calories per pound) are a must. Consuming 4,000 calories in one day would require a large volume of fruits and vegetables (even if they’re freeze-dried or powdered), but fewer candy bars and spoonfuls of peanut butter. You’ll need lots of snacks, like trail mix and granola bars, to keep you going throughout the day. While this may not be a nutrient-rich diet, it will provide enough calories to get you back into town where you can enjoy a nice salad with a side of lean meat. After high-calorie foods, try to pack foods with protein, like pouches of meat, nuts, cheese or (again) peanut butter. To ensure you’ll have enough water, check trail maps ahead of time to be aware of all of the water sources. Carry a way to filter or purify water and never walk away from a water source without first drinking as much as you can and filling your water bottles. Always know where to expect the next water source. (water filters)
For car campers, what to eat is less of a conundrum. With more space and even potential access to restaurants and stores, car campers are often able to eat similarly to how they do at home! Just remember to prep your food ahead of time to make it easier to consume at camp. For example, wash and cut any fresh vegetables and consider bringing small jars of condiments and spices. Be sure you have a way to keep perishables cool and enough ice, too. If you’re planning to cook meats, remember a thermometer as open fires and portable stoves are harder to control than a stove top. Also, bring an environment-friendly way to wash your dishes and remember to get rid of your waste (both water and trash) in approved areas. Take advantage of your resources and have plenty of water available at all times.
What to eat and drink is more important than ever when you’re away from home and with a bit of planning, it’s easy to keep yourself feeling satisfied, whether you’re climbing mountains or relaxing at a campground.
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