backpacking nutrition

Backpacking Nutrition David R. Andersen Wauhawk District Roundtable Commissioner

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Backpacking Nutrition. David R. Andersen Wauhawk District Roundtable Commissioner. Overview Fat Protein Water Vitamins Minerals. Environmental Extremes Saving Fuel, Time, and Money Resources. Outline. Overview. How many calories do I need? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Backpacking Nutrition

David R. AndersenWauhawk District

Roundtable Commissioner

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Environmental ExtremesSaving Fuel, Time, and MoneyResources

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OverviewHow many calories do I need?

Load < 15% of body weight, gentle terrain needs not significantly different from normal – 2500 to 3500 calories for active female, 3000-4000 calories for active maleLoad 25-35% of body weight, difficult terrain requires 500-1000 extra calories per day

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Overview - continuedHow many pounds of food should I take?

Rules of thumbEasy/Moderate Hike – 1.5-2 lbs dehydrated food per day. 30-40% fat contentDifficult conditions – 2-2.5 lbs dehydrated food per day. 30-40% fat contentFor a long duration hike (more than 3 days) boost fat to 35-40% by selecting high fat foods

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Overview - continuedFat vs. Carbohydrate?

These two are the preferred fuels for muscle. Ratio determined by energy demands

ProteinEating excess protein stresses kidneys and is difficult to digest. Only 5-10% of diet should be protein.

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FatRecommended diet for long-distance hikers 50-35-15. 50% carbohydrate, 35%fat, 15% protein.Starvation robs you twice – less energy for the day’s work, plus your muscles are digested for fuel.Maintaining or losing weight means that the fat you eat will not end up on your artery walls.

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Protein4 servings per day of protein-rich foods are sufficient.No need to supplement protein or take amino acids.Excess protein is just digested as a carbohydrate with extra water required to remove nitrogen waste.

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Water and ElectrolytesDrink a minimum of 3 quarts of water per day – more in hot climates.No yellow snow! Clear to amber urine, not yellow.Dehydration can lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and hypothermia.

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Water and Electrolytes – cont.

Will I get enough salt? – YES! If you are eating sufficient food, you do not need to worry about salt intake.However, if you drink coffee/caffeinated beverages, the diuretic affect of the caffeine may induce electrolyte depletion. Water and Juice are best!

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VitaminsVitamin C – water soluble antioxidant. Spiced cider or tablets – dried food loses its Vitamin C content rapidly.Vitamin E – fat soluble antioxidant. Seeds/nuts, peanut butter, oil or margerine and whole grains.Omega-3 fatty acids ALA, EPA, and DHA – fish oils and plant oils. Good for what ails you!

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MineralsMore is NOT! better – stick to the RDA.Calcium – add powdered skim milk at every opportunity on the trail. Dried/fresh cheese and sardines also help. But if you normally take a supplement, continue to do so on the trail.Iron – unaffected by food dehydration so it is still present in all of the foods you normally find it in.

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Environmental ExtremesHeat, cold, elevation, moisture

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Extreme ColdTake 4X more fuel than you would for summer hiking.Avoid a high-protein diet. Eat frequent high-carbohydrate snacks.Pack no-fuss meals: instant hot soups or cereals, hot drinks.Prep work should be done at home.Add 250-500 calories per day.

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Extreme HeatTwice as much water as usual (6 quarts/day).Salty snacks/foods are encouraged.Avoid coffee and high sugar drinks.

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Extreme MoistureKeep smiling – mildew and all!Pack a special meal or treat just in casePrepare labor-intensive meals, preferably hot and spicy!Line stuff sacks with plastic bags before you set out.

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Extreme Elevation (> 10K ft)

Appetite is suppressed at these elevations so avoid high-fat foods (harder to digest).Eat at least 55% carbohydrate and 15% protein to avoid muscle loss.4 quarts of water/day to avoid dehydration.Get adequate Vitamin E.

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Saving FuelRehydrate on the trail – zip-lock bag in a tupperware bowl or peanut butter jar.Don’t simmer – bring water to a boil, add food, cover tightly, and turn off the stove. Let pot sit for recommended time. Contents will simmer.Choose the right cook kit – shallow broad pans and windscreens. Paint the bottom with flat black stove paint.Use no-cook or instant foods.

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Saving MoneyDehydrate foods when they are in season.Make your own fruit leather. I’ve got the recipe if you want it.Ready-made or dry it yourself?

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Saving TimeCombine ingredients at home.Get organized

3-bag method – put all breakfasts together in one bag, all lunches in a second, and suppers in a third.Series method – one day’s supply of food in a bag by itself.

Clean-upDrink your dishwater (don’t use soap).Reduce trash to the absolute minimum!

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ResourcesCampmor has an OUTSTANDING web page for menu planning at web resources are out there – e.g. search Google on “backpacking nutrition.”Backpacker magazine usually has food articles.Food dehydrator how-to books at your public library.Hippie friends!?!

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Campmor – nutrition information available