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Comment bien s’alimenter et s’hydrater en randonnée ?

How to eat and hydrate properly while hiking?

If you are a hiker, you may have already experienced this craving, this heatstroke or worse, dehydration. Mishaps which, beyond ruining a day in the mountains, can prove dangerous. The pleasure of walking also requires well-managed nutrition and hydration. Your energy resources are not unlimited, a regular nutrient intake will help your body fight against muscle fatigue. Eating and hydrating yourself throughout the effort are the keys to a successful hike!


What are the body's needs when hiking?


Eating and drinking seems simple, yet when hiking, it is not always easy to find the right compromise between adequate nutrition and energy expenditure . Because that's what it's all about: calories that you will burn to generate effort. Sports activities such as hiking, whether intense or moderate, require excess calories from your body. For example, 1 hour of moderate, flat walking will cause you to burn 200 to 400 calories depending on whether you are a woman or a man. Walking at a brisk pace or in the mountains with some elevation gain (and sometimes a lot of D+!) can make you burn a minimum of 2000 calories . Knowing that the average daily needs for a woman are between 1800 and 2300 calories and 2300 to 2700 for men. That's almost all of your calories that can be burned! and therefore your energy.


How to eat well while hiking?


It is therefore essential to eat well while hiking. But be careful to choose the right foods and not overload your body. Eating on the trails is an art! There is a simple principle that the most experienced hikers apply to their hikes: choose foods that are light , compact , non-perishable , and have a high nutritional content.


-Breakfast: first meal of the day, it should represent 20 to 25% of your energy intake. In order to cope with the effort, your body needs carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. Ideally, you will find these contributions in muesli, dried fruits, chocolate and dairy products. Energy MX3 muesli, for example, completes these contributions. Good and delicious, just rehydrate it to start your day!


-Lunch meal: throughout the morning, your energy reserves decrease, it's time to recharge your batteries. To do this, choose foods that provide maximum energy value without weighing you down. Digestion itself requires a lot of energy from our body, it would be a shame not to start again! Proteins like lean meats, plant proteins or fish are ideal here. A source of carbohydrates is also essential to provide the energy your body needs: they participate in the storage of glycogen. You can, for example, compose your lunch with vegetables and starchy foods prepared in advance and finish with a fruit or dried fruit. Freeze-dried meals are real assets, they allow you to tick all the boxes of your nutritional needs, in a light and practical format to take away. Let yourself be tempted by our chicken korma, our freeze-dried paella or our tabbouleh salad starter!


-Dinner: it’s the last meal of your day and not the least! now it’s about recovery. You can start with a Chinese soup, which will allow you to warm up if necessary and rehydrate you easily. Protein and starch are a great source to help your body's muscles regenerate. You will find these nutrients in lean meats, plant proteins, eggs, fish as well as pasta, rice or potatoes. Freeze-dried meals allow you to have easy-to-prepare, complete and nutritious rations on hand. It’s also time to treat yourself! Will you go for a freeze-dried vanilla dessert cream?


-During exercise: in order to avoid cravings during your hike, it is advisable to eat regularly every 2 to 3 hours without overloading your body. To regain your strength, fuel up with a cereal bar, energy bar or dried fruit.

To summarize, for optimal nutrition during your hikes, choose light foods with a high nutritional intake. We therefore avoid anything that is too bulky, perishable or even too fatty and too sweet. We eat regularly and we favor small quantities with a high caloric intake such as dried fruits and freeze-dried dishes so as not to saturate our digestion.


How to stay hydrated while hiking?


We have seen how to eat well, but know that eating well is not everything. Good hydration is essential to the success of your hike. During this effort, your body will lose more than a liter of water per hour and with the heat this quantity increases. However, the human body is made up of 65% water, which plays an essential role on several levels. It is what allows the proper transport of nutrients to our cells, it is also what allows us to regulate our body temperature and avoid “heat stroke”. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, cramps, nausea, fever and much more serious problems that will require hospitalization. Yes, hydration is not to be taken lightly.

Here are some rules for good hydration management:

  • Drink before you leave, this helps prevent water loss.
  • While hiking, don't wait until you're thirsty. Being thirsty is a signal to your brain that it is lacking water.
  • As with food, drink little, but often so as not to saturate your stomach (for example 3 sips every 15 minutes).
  • For moderate efforts of less than 2 hours, plain water is sufficient. For more intense or longer efforts, consider supplementing with an energy drink to benefit from a supply of energy (carbohydrates), vitamins and minerals.
  • In the heat, remember to hydrate more often; it may be interesting to supplement your intake with drinks containing minerals such as salt.
  • Avoid drinking water that is too cold, which can cause digestive problems. When it's cold, a thermos of tea can help you stay hydrated.
  • Avoid consuming too much water-intensive fiber.
  • Drink well after exercise to optimize recovery.

Good hydration is one of the keys to a successful hike! Also remember to plan your water reserves carefully so as not to be caught off guard. As you will have understood, these simple rules on nutrition and hydration are nevertheless essential for the smooth running of your hike. The greatest mountaineers and explorers fuel themselves in this way during their exploits. Don't forget that Mike Horn consumed 12,000 calories per day for his Arctic ski crossing! To your freeze-dried products!

Food and hiking MX3 Nutrition

Edited by: Delphine Danielou

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