Mountain expedition is not like your normal walk uphill and downhill. Likewise, mountaineering food is different from what you eat daily.
To prepare a “healthy you” for your mountaineering, you got to prepare for it cautiously. You can do this by eating a carb-heavy balanced meal.
Such a meal is available hot and fresh before you come out of the facilitated area. But once you go through the alpine, your food items ought to be both: convenient and carb-enriched.
Here’s a list of some best mountaineering food to consume for your upcoming expedition.
I’ve divided the food chart for your expedition into 5 parts. These parts, in total, must give your body 2800 calories to 4000 calories per day. The 5 categories are:
- Last Supper
Following this food chart, you will be able to figure out what you should be eating during up there on what time.
1. Last Supper
You should prepare yourself an evening before for the mountaineering expedition begins. In the study of mountaineering, they term this process as “The Last Supper”.
Before the journey, you are most likely to be in an area where hot and fresh food is available with ease. Hence, you ought to make full use of this facility.
Carbs are the most essential element during heavy physical acts. You need to fill up your glucose need so that you can store it in the form of fat and use it for energy during your trek.
But make sure that the carbs that you’ve taken in are in the category of “easy absorption”. In short, you must consume carbs that your body finds easy to process, as well as throw out.
Although you need a lot of carbs on this evening, you should be considerate of which carb are you eating. Not all carbs are for consumption.
For example, White Sugar. It may appear beneficial but in the long run, it makes you feel drowsy and tired.
Hence, you need to consume carbs that give you energy for a longer period of time.
Want a straight to the point answer?
Consume food products enriched with “Healthy Carbs” like:
- Whole-Grain products
- Oats and barley
- Quinoa and brown rice
- Flattened bread made out of corn or buckwheat
- Whole fruits (Apple, Banana, strawberries)
- Seeds of pumpkin and chia seeds
- Nectarine or pear
- Dates and raisins
- A handful of mixed-nuts (Cashew nut, pistachio, walnuts, almonds)
Be aware! Your meal should not be 100 percent carbs either. You must consume at least 40% Protein in your food.
You can get protein from the consumption of the following food products:
- Any meat item
- Fish (All types)
- Berries (Raspberry, blueberry, cranberry)
- Pulses and legumes
- Beans and nuts
- Veggies like broccoli
- Dairy products for added iron
Along with it, you must consume some unsaturated fats as well. You can gain unsaturated fats from the products like:
- Avocado oil
- Vegetable oils
- Peanut products
During the climb, it can be so that you will walk for more than 3 hours at a time. When so, you will have to munch on something to refill the energy.
Rather than any kind of food for snacks, you should pick food items that contain at least 50% of carbs.
Some of the snacks you can consume during your mountaineering are
- Energy Bars
- Dry fruits (Walnut, Almonds, peanut, pistachio)
- Fruits (Figs and Banana)
Above all this, banana can be the best snack for your climbing because it has several positive effects like
- Little to no fat, sodium, or cholesterol
- Good source of Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6
- 27 grams of carbohydrates
- 14 grams of sugar
With only nutrients to give, banana is a top and popular choice of any climber during the climb. Opting for such a healthy brunch will make you healthy and productive for your climb.
70% of our body weight is water. Hydration is the most important aspect to check on during the climb. Apart from morning sickness, fatigue and nausea is also a symptom of dehydration. If you lose even 2% of the hydration, you will have bad symptoms of dehydration.
You must maintain body hydration. But that does not mean you should drink a lot of water at once. Instead, you should sip a little water in a time interval of 30 minutes to 45 minutes.
A nutritious breakfast determines the energy your body will meet throughout the climb. During the climb, you need a breakfast that is light yet energy-giving for your body.
See, let me tell you a fact:
Up there, you will start your expedition at around 1 AM to 4 AM. Now, who wants to eat almost anything at that time of the dawn? Hence, you will munch on something light and walk. And you will stop at a point around 8 AM or so and then do the breakfast.
Also, don’t expect too much on breakfast. Alpine-snow area is not sophisticated enough, you know. So you somehow prepare yourself to eat anything edible that you get in your hand too.
Yet, the following are the breakfast items you can opt for your unsophisticated climb:
- Whole-grain bread
- Pancakes with dry fruits
You can consume the food items mentioned above with tea or warm water. But, don’t exceed your tea/coffee intake from more than 2 cups. Also, don’t consume too much protein or fat.
And, yes, you need to hydrate yourself throughout your climb. But, the hydration level should be moderate. You got to consume light stuff to throw out less. There is super less number of toilets up there. Hence, you should focus on food that produces low waste but supply high energy with moderate hydration.
When climbing with tour guides, they already have a menu set for your consumption. If you don’t have a menu set, still you need not worry.
At this point, you must’ve already got an idea about what you should include in your climb diet. You must focus on easy to digest, nutritious food items.
An ideal climb-lunch is our very own Nepali Daal Bhaat set (Rice and Lentils set). It consists of:
- Healthy Carbs (Rice)
- Protein (Legumes, lentils, and beans)
- Fibers and vitamins (Salads and veggies)
- Animal collagen and protein (Meat)
A rice lentil set is only an option though. You can pick food items with benefits given above and consume in a rationalized amount. Be flexible!
By the end of the day, your stomach is sure to be empty. Hence, dinner is going to be your recharger. But again, don’t make your recharge meal to heavy. Make it energizing and easy to digest.
An ideal climb-dinner will contain veggies, fruits, milk, and egg or meat. These products are rich in proteins, carbs, and other nutrients. Such great sources of energy will help you regenerate your muscles. And with all that, you will wake up fresh and full of enthusiasm.
Some Extra Mountaineering Food
Some extra consumption also helps a lot to boost your climbing efficiency. Such extras can be:
- Sports drinks or Isotonic Drinks: To add up some hydration along with nutrients.
- Energy bars and chocolates: For a small push of energy in your body.
- Electrolytes: To restore lost sodium, potassium, phosphate, bicarbonate, magnesium, and calcium.
- Basic Medications: Paracetamol, cold and fever tablets, cough drops, anti-nausea pills, etc. to cope with small and temporary health problems.
No matter what you eat, focus on the following aspects while choosing your mountaineering food items:
- Know how your body works when it comes to food consumption and digestion
- High in energy yet easy to digest food
- Less output more absorption food
- Food consisting of healthy fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals
- Consumption of at least 2800 calories to maximum 4000 calories
Also, at times it can be so that you will not find the food that you are searching for because of the remote terrains. Hence, at times you might have to consume whatever you get there. So, prepare yourself for some local food items too.
If you are able to meet these requirements, you will have a healthy climb. Add a little bit of fun, a little adventure, and the beauty of nature. Doing so will make your climb fun and worthy too.