You are going on a one day hike, but if you don’t have/take the right fuel (food and drinks), you might not make it to the finish!
It’s important to eat a low GI breakfast to have sustained energy during the hike. Try to eat your low GI breakfast before you start out, as research has found that having low GI or slow carbs before exercise helps you to carry on longer. So have something like ½ – 1 cup muesli or low GI instant cereal e.g. Whole wheat Pronutro or FutureLife with low-fat milk, low-fat yoghurt and a low GI fruit like an apple or peach or some berries.
However, during the hike, you need to have higher GI or faster carbs in order to maintain sustained energy, as also found by research. Take along food and drinks like fresh or dried bananas and/or mango/litchies/pineapple/dates, etc. For the men and those who are not struggling with their weight, you could also take along some energy bars. Also take some energy drinks, as they contain higher GI carbs, as well as some much needed electrolytes, especially when it is hot. If you don’t like energy drinks, take some higher GI fruit juice e.g. grape juice, pure or mixed with water and add a bit of salt for electrolytes. It is important to stay hydrated, especially when it is hot. Try to consume about 500ml fluid per hour, but more if you are a taller person.
If your hike is going to go past lunch, pack higher GI carbs and some protein for lunch, e.g. crackers or regular bread or rolls with cheese and biltong, unless you suffer from high blood pressure, in which case the cheese or boiled eggs will be better than biltong. However, most people don’t know that one needs more salt if you are very active and/or during endurance exercise. If you don’t suffer from high blood pressure, you can also take along some pickled gherkins, onions and other vegetables, or if you have to be careful with salt, rather take some fresh tomatoes and/or cucumber, celery, etc.
If your hike goes on till sundown, have the same snacks mentioned above also during the afternoon and as you were active the whole day, you can have higher GI carbs e.g. potatoes for supper, as part of a balanced meal that also contains protein like meat/fish/chicken and salad or vegetables. You can even have a bit of dessert after supper, especially if you don’t have to watch your waistline. This is because research has also found that, if you have higher GI carbs with some protein after exercise, your muscles are able to replenish the glycogen lost during exercise
For precise amounts and a tailor-made diet for you, it is always better to consult a dietitian, as a short lady with a weight problem needs much less food and drink than a tall guy who is underweight and has a fast metabolism. Remember that, if it’s about nutrition, consult a dietitian.