We are blessed with a country and an outdoor environment that allows us to move our bodies close to nature. Whether it be hiking in the bush, up a mountain or along a coastal track, mountain biking on a trail or kayaking down one of the many rivers, fueling your body with nutritious foods before, during and after is one of the most important things you can do to maximise your adventure or training session.
Active people have higher nutrient needs. Carbohydrates contained in food are converted by the body into glycogen. Glycogen is stored primarily in the liver and muscles and is then used by our muscles and the brain as fuel to operate efficiently. Protein is needed to build and repair muscle tissue, while vitamins and minerals help to protect and support the body. And of course, fluid needs are higher because during exercise we tend to sweat more and lose fluid.
Annies air-dried fruit contains 100% fruit and nothing else. They provide a source of carbohydrate to fuel both our muscles and our brain. Annies fruit strips, jerky or flats are light and fit easily into packs, bags and pockets making them a portable and convenient snack to have on the go. As with any dried -fruit, the key is to enjoy it once a day alongside other wholesome foods and to be mindful of brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride-containing toothpaste.
By eating Annies with other protein-rich foods such as a peanut butter slug, seed bar or a handful or nuts, they provide a nutritious nibble to keep energy levels up. As the duration of exercise increases, so do your nutrient needs. So the longer you are on the go, the more food and fluid you need.
If you were planning to be out hiking for a few hours for example, you could try packing the following:
- Nut and seed bar
- Fresh fruit such as a banana and/or apple
- Annies fruit flat or bag of jerky to share
- Salami, cheese, salad and pesto sandwich (one or two defending upon hunger levels and time exercising)
- Fluid of choice
- Crackers + hummus
- Morale-boosting foods such as dark chocolate!
By packing a variety of foods that contain a variety of nutrients, you will be ensuring your body has a steady supply of nutrients while exercising. The key is to stop and refuel frequently so that energy levels don’t get too low and to ensure you keep well hydrated by meeting your fluid needs.
Recovery is also of upmost importance so the aim after exercise is to eat a carbohydrate and protein-containing snack or meal within the hour. As well as making sure you take on board enough fluid to off-set any sweat loss.
Some recovery ideas include:
- Smoothie made from milk, frozen berries, banana, tablespoon of peanut butter (plus greens if you wish)
- Porridge topped with Greek yoghurt, fresh fruit and nuts
- Ham and cheese toasted sandwich + fresh fruit
- Eggs, avocado and pesto on wholegrain toast
- Yoghurt bowl made with Greek yoghurt and topped with nuts, seeds, granola and a handful of Annies air-dried fruit
The key to enjoying activity in the outdoors is to be prepared, know your body and what foods make it feel great. Understand what you need and when to stop and refuel.
So, here’s to many years of enjoying the great outdoors fuelled by delicious and wholesome foods!
Written by Emily Hope, a New Zealand Registered Nutritionist. You can find out more over at www.hopenutrition.org.nz.