Trekking refers to a multi-day hike without the luxury of permanent accommodation, inter-continental foods, and widely available infrastructures like roads and technologies.
Most trekking activities involve hiking by walking, bicycle, and by canoe. Trekking in remote and sparsely populated areas is known as wilderness trekking.
Trekking is also popular as Backpacking, an outdoor recreation activity done by carrying a backpack with all the equipment like food, water, tent, clothing, stove, and other necessary items.
There are several reasons why people trek. Trekking is fun, but there are many physical, mental, and social benefits. At first, trekking improves your overall fitness, gives your body a complete workout, and improves strength and agility.
Trekking burns body fats and calories, maintain weight and keeps you physically fit. A well-planned trek reduces stress and helps to improve your cardiovascular strength.
Visiting remote places and meeting new people of varying cultural backgrounds helps improve socialization skills and enhances your cultural understanding.
A multi-day trek also improves your planning and management skills. The uncertainty of trekking helps in setting targets, planning, how to adapt to change, and developing mental strength.
Importance of Food in Trekking
Trekking is a strenuous activity and requires a lot of energy. Food is a major source of energy and so make sure to pack necessary food items for your trip.
Yes, food is the fuel for our daily activities, but foods to take while trekking differs vastly from what you prefer to consume on a regular basis.
Protein and Vitamins are a major nutritional component in our regular diet, but while trekking, Carbs (Carbohydrate) provides the energy needed to hike for about 5 hours a day.
There are several food items that you must carry when on a hike and some that you must avoid. The type of food you consume on the trek determines your ability to perform on long hikes and your health condition during the trek.
Also make sure that you bring a big litter bag that can hold the plastic water bottles, cans of energy drinks and other waste materials. Make sure to clean the site where you slept and cooked food.
Trekking is not just about travelling; it is about travelling responsibly. You must trek sustainably so that other trekkers also get to experience nature in its wilderness.
Foods to Consume on Treks
Some food habits to follow on your trek and food items to carry are:
Calorie-rich Food: You should not stick to your former diet plan while hiking in hills and mountains. Ample calories are lost in a long day hike, and carbs are the quickest source to replenish the lost calories.
Carbs help to fuel the body to fight off fatigue during the trek.
Some foods rich in calories that you must have during treks are bread, rice, cereal, legumes, and lentils.
Eggs, porridge, and starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn, also provide sufficient calories needed during treks.
Bakery Items and Peanut Butter: Bakery items consist of bread, oats, and other items that help replenish calories. Many hikers carry bread, salty cookies, granola, cinnamon rolls, and fruitcakes. They are easy to pack and provide a lot of calories.
Hikers widely carry peanut butter as a side snack. Peanut butter with bread boosts during treks when your energy is running low. Dehydrated and boiled eggs are also very good breakfast options during a tour.
Bottled Drinking Water: Trekking through hills drains your body of water rapidly. Water is as important as eating calories during a trek.
Two major difficulties in the trekking are fatigue and dehydration. Loss of excessive body water without replenishment can lead to a headache, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and fainting.
On average, you will need to drink 2-4 liters of water daily during treks. Drinking water found on the trail can cause sickness, so make sure you carry lots of bottled water. If possible, you can also take a water filter or a purifier.
Energy Bars and Energy Drinks: Energy drinks and bars are handy on long treks. They are an excellent source of quick calories that provides an additional boost to complete the tour—Pack energy bars and drinks in sealed bottles to avoid contamination and littering.
Avoid sweet drinks and energy bars. Sugar from drinks does provide calories but also increases thirst and can cause sickness and sore throat at high altitudes. So, pack glasses and bars containing less sugar and raw ingredients and provide the needed calories.
Dried Fruits and Nuts: Almost all trekkers carry dried fruits. It is easy to carry, has less weight, and provides a lot of calories.
In your backpack, you can include dried fruits like cashews, almonds, raisins, walnuts, dates, pistachios, and apricots. A quick snack of dried fruits provides tremendous calories. Dried fruits are one of the first items packed by a trekker in a trekking bag.
Tea Bags and Flavour Powder: Tea is a source of refreshment during a trek. Tea doesn’t have much nutritional value compared to eggs, rice, and lentils but provides a different taste other than that of water.
You will mostly drink plain water on long treks, and quite a lot of it. Flavor powders like Lemon, Mango, and Orange power will bring a new taste and keep you nourished during a trek.
Fresh Fruits: Fruits like apples, bananas, and oranges provide ample water and nutrients.
Bell Pepper, Radish, and Carrots don’t need much prepping and can be eaten raw. They provide nutrients and also help in digestion.
Spices: Carrying spices depends on your taste and preferences. Herbs can boost the appeal and flavor of backpacking foods. You can bring spices like pepper, garlic powder, basil, salt, cumin, cinnamon, and other spices.
Not all foods consumed during a trek soothe your trekking experience. There are also foods and habits that you must avoid during a tour. Some foods and drinks must be ignored during a walk.
Nepal is a prime trekking destination for tourists. Nepal is a complete package when it comes to a vacation.
Tourists can enjoy the scenic beauty of snow-capped mountains, trek to mountain base camps, climb mountains, visit famous passes and enjoy the cultural diversity of different religions and ethnic groups.
Nepal has a vast diversity of medicinal herbs. People living in the Hilly and the Himalayan region gather and sell different herbs as a source of income.
People use herbs and medicinal plants to cure diseases and other numerous benefits.
Herbs and Medicinal Plants of Nepal and their Uses
Ophiocordyceps Sinensis (Yarsagumba): Ophiocordyceps Sinensis is a rare parasitic fungus that grows on insects found in the mountainous region of Nepal.
It is a unique herb that has many medicinal uses. The global price of Yarsagumba is around $150,000/kg as of 2018.
The fungal plant is used as a tonic to gain strength and energy. The plant also strengthens the lungs and kidneys, stops bleeding, and decreases phlegm.
Local people use the fungal plant to cure asthma, impotence issues, and soreness of loins and knees.
The major medical use of Ophiocordyceps is to increase the strength of the immune system of Cancer patients who have received radiotherapy.
Rennet (Ashwagandha): Rennet, also called the winter cherry, helps improve mental functions and increases the body’s and immune systems’ strengthening.
Neem: Neem is a medicinal plant whose parts are used to purify the blood, for detoxification, and to cure fever and skin diseases.
Trikatu: It combines three savory herbs, black pepper, long pepper, and ginger. The mixture is a traditional herbal medicine to enhance digestion, respiration, and immunity.
Chywanprash: Chywanprash is a unique item made by mixing around fifty different herbs to increase strength and rejuvenate.
The herbs found in Nepal have very high medicinal importance, and tons of spices are exported yearly to foreign countries that are later processed and turned into medicine.
Some food habits to avoid during treks are
Avoid eating meat/chicken: Meat contains lots of protein and fat. At first, meat looks like a promising source of food during treks, but there are some drawbacks in having meat during your trek.
The excessive fats and proteins will take much longer time to digest and provide energy very slowly.
The body needs a quick source of energy, and meat does not fit the requirements. The longer digestion period can also cause indigestion problems and illness during long treks. So, meat isn’t the best option for food during a trek.
Avert Canned Food Products: Canned food products like fish, meat and vegetables is of no use during a trek. Canned goods are less healthy and can cause illness and indigestion during a trek.
Canned foods contain several chemicals that preserve the food. These chemicals when consumed can be the catalyst for sickness during the trek.
Don’t Consume Alcohol: Keep Alcohol items away from your backpack. Alcohol causes rapid dehydration when trekking to higher altitudes and stimulates higher chance of Acute Mountain Sickness.
Drinking alcohol during treks also decreases stamina. Alcohol restrains the circulation of glucose in the body and results in early fatigue and inability to proceed further in the trek.
Don’t Take Junk Foods: Junk foods are called junk for a reason. They do not provide needed nutrition for trekking. Junk foods like chips, burgers, fries and hot-dogs are difficult to prepare and digest. These foods provide calories but also instigate indigestion.
Avoid Sugar Products Like Cookies and Candy Bars: You should refrain from foods that contain excessive sugar as much as possible. Cookies and candy bars are made of sugar and cornstarch that may cause a reduction in the energy cycle in our body.
A reduction of energy cycle can lead to severe discomforts and cause health issues. Thus, you should not eat food items containing excessive cornstarch and sugar during your trek.
Your choice of food and the diet you choose decides how well your trekking experience enhances. A proper diet of calories and healthy fruits will serve your health better than a random and unorganised diet of foods.
A healthy environment contributes to a healthy mind and body too. Make sure you do not litter the trek trails with plastic waste and covers of junk foods.
A well-regulated intake of carbs and fluids is the success story of every successful trekking experience. You can create your own diet plans as per your taste and preference and can also contact us for guidance regarding food choices ideal in your trek.
Our company guides and medical staff are ever present to guide and answer your queries regarding availability of food, types of food to consume and other necessary information that you need to know.
Feel free to contact us if you need any additional information.