Take a Hike – Pack a Snack
By Dr. L. Lee Coyne, the Healthy Professor
A favourite fat burning summer activity, suitable for all age, is hiking. To support this heart healthy activity it is wise to optimize your nutrition choices. That means strategic planning to avoid sugar/insulin spikes, dehydration and fatigue. Choosing snacks that help to maintain energy, fluid balance and contribute to rather than hinder your health can be a challenge. I am frequently asked for advice on appropriate snacks for a 5 mile hike, a 5 hour hike, or for my kids or for a weekend backpack trip.
There are some common rules to follow regardless of who you are or how long the hike. Then there are special considerations depending on the duration, relative intensity (hills, rough terrain, smooth terrain), outdoor temperature and the load you carry.
High sugar snacks create “sugar highs” and insulin disasters leading to frequent energy “crashes” and “light headedness”. Chronically elevated insulin also contributes to a host of other problems – many have been referred to in previous columns (remember – insulin stores fat and inhibits the availability of fat for energy).
High outdoor temperatures and a lot of hills will lead to more water loss and electrolyte loss and that leads to muscle cramps, and mental disorientation in extreme cases. The “unfit” and elderly may experience cardiac stress when dehydration is allowed.
The secret to successful longer hikes lies in frequent snacking on low glycemic index high protein, moderate fat foods and drinking enough water. Electrolyte drinks, when temperatures are high and the terrain is difficult, are wise choices for hikes lasting more than 2 hours. (Choose such drinks carefully - maltodextrin should be the primary carbohydrate – just sugar , there should be 6 or more electrolytes in the mix - not just sodium and potassium, and it should satisfy, not create, thirst. You can call me if you need help here)
I support a meal and snack plan known as 40-30-30 eating. This is 40% of Calories coming from complex carbohydrates, 30% from protein and 30% from good fats.
Here are some snacks that find favour with me.
- Beef or Turkey Jerky (choose the variety with no msg, and the fewest added ingredients or make your own) Naturally you need to drink water with it.
- Soy protein supplement in milk or water (never juice) – in a thermos of course.
- Trail Mix containing primarily unsalted nuts and seeds. – a SMALL amount of dried fruit may be added.
- Protein bars (again, you may need help here)
- Meal Replacement bars with cheese.
- Ham wrapped around orange or melon segments
- Any of the following home made items.
Peanut Butter - Protein Balls or Bars
- Peanut Butter (Organic) 1Cup
- Honey 1Cup
- Skim Milk Powder 1 Cup
- Soy Protein Suppl 30 TBSP
- Blue Berries ½ Cup 30 TBSP
- Water (Pure) as needed .
Mix together with a spoon until no longer "gloppy", then mix with hands until uniformly crumbly. Add water by tablespoons (3-4) until mixture holds together in balls. Form into balls or spread in cake pan and cut like bars. Divided by 30.
- Wheat Flour (Or your choice) 2 Cups
- Soy Protein Suppl. Mix 10 TBSP
- Orange Juice (Fresh) ½ Cup
- Orange Peel (Grated) 2 TBSP
- Eggs Large 5
- Wheat germ 1 TBSP
- Baking Powder 1½ tsp & salt ¼ tsp
- Olive Oil -2 TBSP & Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
- Blueberries (Unsweetened) ½ Cup
Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately then combine and fold in Blueberries. Fill muffin cups ¾ full & sprinkle wheat germ over each muffin. Bake at 400 for 17 min. Makes 15 muffins.
Blueberries & Oatmeal Cookies
- Blueberries - 2 Cups
- Oatmeal (large flake) - 3 Cups
- Soy Protein Supplement Mix - 20 TBSP (10 servings)
- Applesauce, unsweetened - ½ Cup
- Oil - 4 TBSP
- 2% Milk - 1 Cup
- Eggs Large - 3
- Baking Powder - 1tsp, cinnamon -1 tsp & ½ tsp salt
Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Bake in 9-inch square baking dish at 350 for 1 hour (approx. watch carefully). Cut into 16 bars, or bake as 12 to 14 muffins.
- Rolled Oats (Large Flake) Cup dry
- Honey 3 TBSP
- Skim Milk Powder 1 Cup
- Soy Protein Suppl. Mix 8 TBSP
- Almonds Chopped ½ Cup
- Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
Cook Oats to firm consistency. Cool. Chop nuts & add to oatmeal vanilla Extract. In separate bowl combine fructose, protein and ¾ Cup skim milk powder. Stir oatmeal into dry mixture (May add water in small amounts - it should become stiff & difficult to mix). Roll 12 small balls and roll each one in the remaining dry milk. Store refrigerated. Can be frozen.
Lee Coyne, Ph.D. is a nutritional consultant, lecturer and author of Fat Won't Make You Fat and the Lean Seekers coaching program. He may be reached at 1-800-668-4042 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org