Many people underestimate the importance of a correct nutrition when hiking, climbing or mountaineering, thinking that simply eating more is the way to go. A heavy meal in a mountain hut and our energies will be restored…. Alas, this is wrong.
First of all, as with nutrition in general, each person is different – in terms of build, metabolism, training – so the following guidelines are of a very general nature. Proper sports nutrition is also not covered here, so if you plan a competitive race or or are keen on endurance sports, look elsewhere for more specific advice, for instance this website http://www.wildbackpacker.com/backpacking-food/articles/all-about-food-nutrition/
As a rule of thumb, our bodies need energy when on the hills, and carbohydrates are a source of this. These are divided into simple carbohydrates, which offer quick-release energy (such as honey, sweets and sugar in general) and complex ones (dispensing slow-release energy, such as pasta, oatmeal, rice). We need to focus on them if we plan to hike or climb, and so, for instance, an ideal breakfast would be oatmeal-based, and not too heavy, otherwise all our energies will be devoted to digestion. Ciasa Salares offers an exceptional choice of homemade jams, breads and various products to suit all tastes. Just ask if you have any allergy and you will be attended to. It is also advisable to eat pasta or rice the night before a long outing, to make use of the long-term energy these offer.
What to eat on the hills? Bring with you snacks such as dried fruit, nuts and chocolate, which are full of “good” fats (those which are good for our arteries), biscuits and also fruit – depending on our tastes. These fill us up quickly, and we need not eat too much of them. Fats and proteins will make us go from A to B, and should not be omitted. If you plan to hike to a hut and then get back, then you may well have a good meal there – most people endure the effort just to enjoy this reward!! –otherwise do not indulge too much. You will need to be vigilant and not sleepy on your way back – that is when most accidents happen. This does not mean avoiding a good old sandwich… just do not overfill it with cured meat, cheese, salami…
A good idea may also be that of making frequent stops to refuel. Some people eat nuts or an energy bar every hour or so. You may find that this works for you, too. Little but often is a golden rule.
Do not forget to drink. This is most important. Dehydration is a dangerous enemy. Do not wait to be thirsty, but drink every half hour. Despite what many people think, alcohol is not recommended, as it is a vasodilator, especially at low temperatures.
You should also remember that, on hotter days, we tend to sweat more. This means losing minerals and salt, which can be reintegrated with a soup or broth.
Keen to find out more? Speak to a sports nutritionist.
Always bear in mind that we go to the mountains to enjoy ourselves… and food ought to make this ex