5 Tips for Hiking as a Vegan
5 Tips for Hiking as a Vegan
Going on a hike is one of the best ways to explore a new destination, and it also happens to be one of the simplest yet most nourishing activities you can do for your mind and body. But it also entails a bit of preparation, and as a vegan, one of the considerations you have to make is what to eat on the trail and at camp. Findings from the University of Florida reveal that you burn 28% more energy when hiking on slopes than on flat ground, and if you’re going on a multi-day hiking trip, you have to be careful with how you fuel your body. That said, here are a few helpful tips on hiking as a vegan:
When you go on a hike, you need to be self-contained and have everything you’ll need — meaning every meal — on your back. For overnight trips, breakfast is usually eaten before leaving for the start of the trek. That means you’ll need a packed lunch and dinner for the first day, as well as breakfast and lunch for the next day. Hikers usually eat dinner when they return to the city at the end of the trip. If you’ll be cooking your own food, you’ll need to have a portable stove, portable cookware, and fuel (usually butane gas) on top of your ingredients.
Think about your macros
Given that you’ll be burning more calories than usual, a hike is not the time to be restrictive. Be sure to think about balancing your carbohydrates, protein, and fat for maximum energy. Backpacker magazine emphasizes the importance of carbohydrates for sustained activities such as hiking, because it’s the body’s primary source of energy. Aim to eat healthy carbs such as dried fruit and plant-based energy bars to replenish your energy stores. Otherwise, your body will just burn muscle and fat instead, which is far from ideal. Eat a carb-heavy meal on the day of the hike and snack on bananas on the trail.
Pack energy-boosting foods
Bananas and other fruits are all well and good, but they can be cumbersome to pack on a hiking trip. Fortunately, there are other energy-boosting food items that are not as dense and bulky, such as dark chocolate, goji berries, and of course, trail mix. That’s why here at Mindful Wanderlust we always carry vegan snacks wherever we go — you never know when you’re going to need a quick jolt of energy.
Waking up at camp also gives you the perfect excuse to brew a hot cup of coffee or cocoa, as caffeine and chocolate are known to increase energy. If you’re not into rich and creamy drinks, you can also try adaptogen-based tea, like ginseng. Not only is it light and easy to pack, Parsley Health explains that ginseng is a natural energy booster as it adjusts cortisol levels in the body — a hormone that affects stress and energy levels. Adaptogens like ginseng help stabilize energy levels and also make for great companions in the mountains.
Pack your ingredients right
Packing fresh produce can be tricky, which is why it’s better to hike with dry food on your back. If you want to eat fresh vegetables and fruit, one go-to trick is to wrap your produce in paper so that they don’t produce too much moisture and end up rotting. After that it’s all about making sure that they don’t get crushed inside your pack.
Keep it light and simple
When meal planning for a hike, opt for energy-dense foods that are not heavy, like oats, pasta, and rice. Expert hiker and BC-based traveler Mikaela Gregory suggests making your own oatmeal packets, which is simply a mixture of uncooked oats and superfoods, like hemp and chia seeds. From there, all you need to do is cook it during the trail and you have a nutritious meal ready for you.