Food you can eat while walking: Nutritionist-approved tips

Heather Campbell
 min read

It’s normal to want to carry some food you can eat while walking. You’re burning up energy, especially on a hard walk, and so you will need to refuel more frequently.

Food you can eat while walking: Nutritionist-approved tipsGood walking shoes? Check. In good shape? Check. A raincoat to play it safe? Totally check. You’re ready to go on a long-distance hike. But wait! Don’t forget to watch your diet.

As a general rule, food you can eat while walking does not include refined sugars, alcohol or caffeine. Eat fruits and vegetables instead of sports bars, cookies, fruit drinks with added sugar, or other unhealthy snacks.

So get yourself ready with some handy nutrition tips. The tips below are guaranteed to improve your walking performance while stopping those hunger pangs.

Food you can eat while walking: Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are great to take with you as a snack or lunch on your walk. They provide energy and also contain vitamins.

Below we list the top 5 fruits and vegetables suitable for hiking.

Fruits and vegetables contribute to a healthy diet, and give you a natural energy boost.

And they’re easy to munch on the go.

If you’re going on a long hike, it’s wise to take food in addition to plenty of fluids.

Fruits and vegetables are ideal for taking with you as a snack or lunch. They provide your body with fuel and also contain numerous vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Therefore, fruits and vegetables are preferable to the sports bars, cookies, packets of fruit drinks with added sugar, and other snacks that we often tend to buy at the store.

Top 5 fruits and vegetables as food you can eat while walking

Fruits and vegetables are easy to carry, nutritious and delicious.

Here are our top five fruits and vegetables to use on a hike:

Nuts

Nuts are full of vitamins B1, E and iron and are a source of unsaturated starch.

Cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts belong to the fruit family.

In a healthy lifestyle, nuts are actually indispensable. Go for raw varieties, not roasted ones.

Snack vegetables

Snack vegetables are available in almost all supermarkets today. Cherry tomatoes, small cucumbers, but also think radishes and grated carrots.

Vegetables contain many vitamins, minerals, fiber and virtually no fats or salt in addition to water.

Unlike fruit, vegetables contain hardly any calories, so you can snack on these endlessly while walking.

Dried fruits

This takes some preparation and you need a food dehydrator for it, but then you are able to make the most delicious sweets without added substances from all fruits.

Banana, mango, strawberry, kiwi, etc. and you can dry it into a chewy or crunchy snack.

Just be careful with the calories though: fruit sugars can be high so don’t overdo it.

Dip lunch

Prepare some veggies to snack on, such as bell pepper strips, celery, and small cauliflower stems.

Bring a bowl of hummus for a delicious dip for lunch. Pick a spot with a nice view and double the enjoyment!

Dates

Dates are easy to carry and they contain a bomb of vitamins and minerals (preferably the Medjoul dates).

Besides being very tasty, dates offer several health benefits.

Dates have a positive effect on improving brain function and your immunity, they can lower your blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol and they have an anti-inflammatory effect.

In addition, dates can also function as a pick-me-up. For example, do you feel sluggish while walking? Then eat a handful of dates, they are rich in unrefined sugars, iron, potassium, fiber and vitamins and will give you an immediate boost without falling into another sugar dip soon after.

Nutritionist-approved tips for snacks on a hike

You don’t want your snacks wandering through your backpack or handbag and then you have to pick a sticky date off your other stuff.

The easiest way is to bring your snacks in reusable and sealable containers.

This keeps your snacks fresh and your backpack free of odors and any moisture.

An additional advantage is that you can easily hold a tray in your hand while walking. Nature will also thank you.

Using reusable containers reduces littering and does not pollute nature.

Food you can eat while walking

Healthy smoothie on the go

Still fancy something else? Then make your own healthy smoothie on the go with the following recipe:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 handful of blueberries or raspberries
  • 5.3 ounces spinach
  • Half a peeled cucumber
  • 1 glass of cold water
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds

Blend the blueberries with the banana in the blender until smooth. After this, add the rest of the ingredients.

Not sweet enough? Then add a little honey to taste.

Fact: the hemp seed contains essential fatty acids that may cause your joints to become more flexible.

Take the smoothie with you on your hike in a water bottle that is suitable for thicker drinks.

Whole wheat foods

Want to eat a substantial meal that is high in carbohydrates prior to your hike?

Then choose whole wheat pasta or high-fiber rice.

These slow carbohydrates are difficult for our bodies to break down, allowing us to rely on the energy for longer periods.

Tip: Your body needs carbohydrates when you go on a long-distance hike but don’t push it too far. Piling on carbs prior to a walk can affect your gut.

Still want to experiment with your eating schedule? Then practice with this while training.

What not to eat or drink when hiking?

What is better not to eat and drink before or while hiking? If you go for a walk, you can easily spend hours on the road.

But with proper preparation and some food and drink for the road, that shouldn’t be a problem at all.

There are some products that are best left out, so read on.

Avoid sports nutrition

Sports drinks, energy bars and gels are packed with sugar and are therefore really only applicable for top athletes who exercise long and intensively.

Don’t drink ice-cold water

After a long walk in the scorching sun, there is nothing better than drinking an ice-cold glass of water.

But beware of this. The temperature difference between the liquid and your body temperature can have adverse effects.

The cold causes your body temperature to drop temporarily, forcing your brain to send a signal to raise your body temperature. You will only get warmer.

Your organs will also thank you if you don’t too cold drinks. Drinking cold water slows down digestion, the mucous membrane in your airways can become inflamed quicker and increase the risk of respiratory infections and throat problems.

Also, the cold causes your blood vessels to contract, making it harder for toxins to be removed.

Do you still have a glass of ice-cold water to drink? Then hold the sip in your mouth for a moment to warm up before swallowing.

Limit your calorie intake

It remains to be seen whether your body needs extra calories while hiking.

Many people overestimate the number of calories burned during a hike, causing them to overeat.

If you have eaten well the day before your hike and have a nutritious breakfast in the morning, your body will have enough fuel to hike a good distance.

Your muscles can store energy for about 2 hours of intense exercise. Walking is less intense than, say, running or cycling.

We also often forget that we have a fat reserve that we can draw on.

Those who learn to tap into these fat reserves while walking will be less likely to reach for snacks along the way and have energy for longer.

Avoid refined sugar

Sugar and refined products should be avoided as much as possible. It’s easy to bring some bars and sweets for the road “for energy,” but watch out for sugar.

Not only is it bad for your teeth, but sugar causes your blood sugar to spike and then dip, which in turn increases your craving for sugars.

Rather, choose healthy snacks with a combination of carbohydrates and fats, such as dates, fruits, vegetables or unsalted nuts.

By combining these complex carbohydrates with some fats and proteins, the breakdown of sugar will be more gradual and a sugar dip will not occur easily.

Steer clear of caffeine

Some swear by a cup of coffee before stepping out the door while it makes others need to go to the bathroom immediately.

Caffeine has a laxative effect, which some people react to more violently than others.

Coffee was also said to be a diuretic, but recent research shows that is not always the case.

Those who drink up to two cups of coffee and then exercise will hardly need to go to the bathroom more often.

In addition, habit also plays a role. Those who drink coffee every day will notice less effect from caffeine.

Nowadays, you may count coffee in your daily fluid intake. Those who keep it to a few cups a day will not suffer any ill effects.

Those with a strong reaction to the laxative effect of coffee would do well to leave the thermos at home during a hike.

Don’t consume alcohol

You’ve heard it before: sports and alcohol don’t mix.

Not only does alcohol have a diuretic effect that can cause you to become dehydrated quicker but it also disrupts coordination.

A misstep is easily made and because you have less control over your muscles it can lead to serious injuries and falls.

You might need to dodge some traffic while getting to less populated areas, so you need to be alert out there.

Do not drink alcohol the night before a long-distance hike. Even a few glasses of beer can disrupt your fluid balance.

On your hike, drinking a few sips of water every fifteen minutes during your walk is a good guideline. It is best to drink only water.

Food you can eat while walking: Conclusion

It’s common sense really. Avoid sugars and alcohol, and stock up on nuts, seeds and fruit to munch on the way.

You could also go for some slow release carbs to give you some fuel for getting started.

More walking-related information:

About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More