Aw that age old question, what do I bring on the hike to eat and how much will it weigh. How many cabs how much protein what’s going to slow me down what’s going to sustain me.
What you should be looking for is a mix of healthy carbohydrates that offer relatively quick energy and essential vitamins, and fatty foods filled with slow-burning calories. In fact, fatty foods are arguably the best hiking energy source. They pack the most energy of any food source.
A gram of fat contains 9 calories versus 4 calories per gram in carbohydrates and proteins. (This is, by the way, also why the body stores excess energy as fat and not as protein or sugar—it’s simply the most efficient energy source.)
Protein is the third main macro-nutrient, and should also have a (minor) place on your day hike snacks list. Conveniently, protein is often found abundantly in high-fat foods.
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Note: Proteins are your body’s building blocks, critical for the functioning, repair and growth of pretty much all body tissues. Your body usually doesn’t use protein as an energy supply (if enough carbs and fats are available) and it’s not an absolutely essential part of your day hike food.
No need to bring a bunch of protein-packed foods for a day hike, it’s better to focus on energy-providing carbs and fats. Having a protein-rich dinner after your hike should take care of your daily protein needs, and a lot of the best day hike snacks contain proteins anyway.
However, on longer backpacking trips, proteins do become a vital nutrient because they take care of repairs in your body and maintain muscle volume.