written by Brittany Scanniello, RD
Summer is in full swing, and if you are anything like us, your hiking boots are now part of your daily rotation; you keep your camping gear near to allow for a quick and speedy car pack and you are constantly looking for fun, new trails. When it comes to packing your backpack for tried-and-true goods to keep your energy level up while on these summer adventures (without sacrificing taste), we have you covered! At Supernola, we’re on a mission to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Our on-the-go superfood clusters are flavor-packed + nutrient-dense, keeping you satisfied and energized wherever the day takes you!
Summer vs Winter vs Fall vs Spring, the advice is still the same. Eating a balanced diet which includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains is what we need to keep our energy level high and our health in check. Different foods are converted to energy at different rates, which allows us to tailor our snacks for the performance we need. For example, a banana or handful of raisins is going to provide the quick lift necessary for that immediate boost you may be looking for, while whole grains and a nut butter will be more of a slow and steady energy pick-me-up. No matter the activity, there is a snack for you. Keep reading for tips and tricks on how to eat to not only boost, but sustain your energy, all summer long!
Eat Small, Frequent Meals
When you are looking for more sustained energy throughout the day, it is better to eat small meals and snacks every few hours instead of the traditional three large meals a day we are so accustomed to. When backpacking into a campsite or biking up a mountain knowing that you still need to come down, it is critical to keep your energy levels high.
More frequent eating of smaller portions is one way to satisfy your appetite, while stabilizing your blood sugar and feeding your body the nutrients it needs throughout the entire day. Research has shown that small, more frequent meals in your daily eating pattern may aid in a more efficient metabolism compared to a slower metabolism when meals are skipped.(1) When our metabolism is working properly, our bodies utilize the carbohydrates, protein and fat as fuel appropriately and more efficiently.
Keep in mind, frequent eating can go awry if you are more focused on the digital clock instead of your body clock. Listen to your body and eat when you feel you need to. Pay attention to your natural hunger cues to prevent falling into a pattern of overeating. After each meal or snack, you should feel satisfied, but not super full.
Hydration is essential to daily life. Drinking enough water each day is critical for so many reasons. Water helps ensure our body temperature is regulated – extremely important when on that 90+ degree summer hike, walk or bike ride. Water keeps our joints lubricated – another key factor to ensure peak athletic performance for all your summer quests. Lastly, being well-hydrated improves mood, cognition, and sleep quality. When we are not properly hydrated our muscles become fatigued, which in turn reduces our coordination leading to muscle cramps and possibly worse.
To maintain your energy level during a workout, drink an 8-ounce glass of water before you start and another after you finish. If you will be exercising continuously for longer than 30 minutes, drink small amounts every 15 to 30 minutes to ensure your hydration is maintained. Sports drinks combine water with vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes — substances that help regulate body processes. While vitamins, minerals and electrolytes are all necessary, especially on those brutally hot days when exercising for greater than 30 minutes, be sure to watch for added sugars. Many sports drinks available on the market are packed with sugar in addition to these body-necessary ingredients.
Use Caffeine to your Advantage
As a stimulant, caffeine can increase or decrease your energy level, depending on when and how much of it you consume. Caffeine can help increase alertness, so having a cup of coffee before going on that treacherous mountain bike ride or hiking trail, will arm you to be ready for what the day will throw at you. Caffeine is a popular aid, used widely by athletes of all levels. It is important to note, in order to get the energizing effects of caffeine (at the level you want), you have to use it judiciously. For many, it can cause insomnia, especially when consumed in large amounts or after 2 p.m. (2)
Choose your Meals and Snacks Wisely
Here are some of our favorite, go-to tips when we fill our summer packs to keep us energized on the trail.
- Ensure you have a balance of protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates.
Supernola’s Banana Nut Crunch will energize your day with it’s sprouted nuts, organic bananas and raisins and satisfy your need for fat, carbs, protein, vitamins, electrolytes and fiber to keep you energized pre-, mid- or post-trail.
- Choose whole food ingredients such as nuts, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Supernola’s Dark Chocolate Nut Crunch provides the highest quality fair-trade chocolate with zero refined sugar. Indulge in this healthy snack for crunchy clusters of organic bananas and sprouted nuts covered in smooth, dark chocolate.
- When able, pre-portion out each snack or buy pre-portioned snack packs.
Supernola superfood clusters are pre-packaged, organic, plant-based and made from whole food ingredients. Mindful snacking at its finest! Powered by health-boosting superfoods from around the world, Supernola comes in six delicious flavors: Triple Berry Vanilla, Dragon Fruit Lemon Zest, Honey Sweet Goji, Banana Nut Crunch, and Dark Chocolate Nut Crunch. Supernola is naturally dairy, gluten, grain, peanut and refined sugar free. Nothing artificial, just real food that's perfect for your lifestyle. Enjoy them on your next trail.
- Pack weather appropriate foods (minimize the melt-ability) if unable to bring a cooler with you.
We hope you can take some of our summertime snacking advice to the trail. Until next time, happy snacking!