Thru hikers of any distance trail are notorious for eating highly processed, fatty, best bang-for-your-buck calorie bombs for meals. If you’re an ultrarunner you definitely know what this is like. When you’re out burning thousands and thousands of calories per day and you’re supporting yourself by carrying all your own fueling options, you know that lightweight, high-calorie foods are king on trail. While the best way to get better nutrition on trail in remote locations would be to make your own food, here are some hacks to help you get in some better nutrition during your next long-distance adventure.
Chia seeds pack in some serious nutrition. With fiber, protein, and omega fatty acids, adding a tablespoon or two to oatmeal in the morning will pack in more punch to get you moving. You can also make your own chia energy drink at lunch time by mixing in some chia seed with your favorite electrolyte replacement.
I am a huge fan of adding chocolate protein powder to my cup of coffee in the morning on trail. While I personally use whey protein, you can chose your favorite and add it to your coffee or tea before breakfast for a quick nutrition boost. While chocolate in coffee is the most popular on trail option, you could also use vanilla or unflavored powder with coffee. Vanilla powder with green tea or chai powder with coffee are also amazing flavor combinations.
Nut Butter Packs:
Peanut butter on trail doesn’t have to be cheap store brands loaded with sugar and palm oil anymore! With more and more brands hitting the market, like Justin’s, Peanut Butter & Co., andBogg’s Trail Butter coming in single serve packets, it’s simple to get your fix on the go. Bonus nutrition points to you if you consume a pack with a fresh apple you’ve packed out of town!
Coconut oil comes in solid form and is super simple to add to any meal you’ll be making over your camp stove. Another great bonus to using coconut oil is the fact that it can also be consumed by the spoonful. Being high in saturated fat and easy to digest, this stuff is delicious to add to any Knorr Rice Side you’ll be eating for supper.
When all else fails, you can always add some adult gummy vitamins to your food bag. Chewing up two of these guys at the end of a long day after you’ve finished your supper on trail can help suppress that after-dinner sugar craving many hikers get after burning thousands of calories hiking.
Choose Healthier Options in Town:
Heading into town every few days to resupply usually means eating a meal in an actual restaurant - one you won’t have to cook over your camp stove! While images of greasy pizza and juicy burgers will dance in your head all the way down to town, adding a salad to your meal won’t hurt either. If you absolutely must have that whole large pizza, consider getting extra veggies as toppings. The same goes for your hamburger - ask for extra lettuce, tomato, and onions to go along with that delicious goodness! Consider a healthier appetizer as well - hummus is always a great option that is on many menus.
While many people joke about the thru hiker diet, it can actually be easy to work in some sneaky healthy foods. Do you have any tips for working in some healthy fats and proteins on distance hikes?