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Nutrition tips for hikers

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If you are new to hiking or an avid hiker, Karina shares some valuable nutrition information and tips to help fuel and prepare you on your next hike.

Registered Holistic Nutritionist Karina Beverly Ho (BSc, RHN) is an advocate for decreasing our consumption of packaged and processed foods and focusing on eating whole, sustainable, locally grown foods and ingredients. Karina’s inspiration in nutrition comes from her athletic background in gymnastics and circus acrobatics, using nutrition to achieve optimal training and performance.  As an avid hiker and snowboarder, she also receives inspiration from the West Coast Lifestyle, aiming to find healthier ways to stay energized on those long days on the mountains!

For those who want to hike for one hour as opposed to someone who is spending most of the day hiking Karina recommends, “As the length of your hike will definitely determine how much food you should bring with you. If you’re out for a full day, you’ll probably want to bring a lunch as well as snacks.  Sandwiches and wraps make great lunches that are easy to carry with you. Fill them with a variety of vegetables and include some protein, such as leftover meats or hummus. Pair with some fresh veggies (such as carrot and celery sticks, bell peppers or snap peas) and fresh fruit for a well balanced meal, and get ready to enjoy that meal in the presence of the beautiful outdoors.”

She continues, “Snacks are great for hikes lasting just a few hours, and for your longer days to eat outside of your lunch. You should avoid sugar filled granola bars and protein bars and stick with whole foods. These bars market themselves as quick, easy, and healthy but often include far too much added sugar. You’re better off opting for whole foods – think fresh veggies and fruit, and mixed nuts and seeds!  The veggies and fruit will give you some much needed energy, while the nuts and seeds will help you feel satisfied until your next snack break!

For hikes lasting just an hour, you should be fine without any snacks if you’re properly fueled before your hike. That being said, hiking is (literally) full of unexpected twists and turns and you should always be prepared in case your hike goes longer than you anticipated.  Always bring a snack or two with you in case you’re out longer than you planned.”

Eating breakfast before you go is a good idea. Karina suggests a well balanced meal with a mix of protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables such as a breakfast wrap with eggs, avocado, vegetables and salsa or oatmeal with fruit and nuts.

Don’t forget to hydrate.  Karina says, “Bring lots of water with you and drink regularly! Especially on those hot summer days, if you are hiking in areas without a lot of tree cover you can lose a lot of water from your body when you sweat.  Drink even more water on these days as it’s very important to replace that lost water and rehydrate. “

Before you go make a plan if you are going for one hour or longer, always dress for the weather conditions, wear the proper shoes; sunscreen, first aid kit, and don’t forget to bring some food for fuel such as lunch, snacks, and water.

Christine Blanchette is a TV host and producer of Run With It – a monthly running, fitness and health program. She is also an avid runner who is a running/fitness columnist.

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