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Wade on the Trail with his dog

LMQC Nutritionist blogger, Jeni Tackett, makes sure she packs the food the body needs when she hits the hiking trails this fall with her husband Nathan.

by Nutritionist Blogger, Jeni Tackett, RD, LD

Jeni Tacket shares her tips on selecting, preparing, and consuming healthy foods with LMQC readers every month.

My husband, Nathan, and I hike every week.  We are now exploring our favorite trails as empty nesters (including a trek in Wild Cat Den, one of our favorites).  But it was nearly 20 years ago, that we started the kids out young, hiking every weekend for a few hours exploring trails in the Quad Cities and beyond. 

Nathan even named our family the “T4 Adventure Club” in honor of all the hiking we did on weekends.

We’ve come full circle now, and once again, another fall is upon us and the perfect time of year to explore QC area trails. 

What you eat makes a difference on the trail

As a dietician, I have learned that you’ll have a better hiking experience if you plan for hydrating and fueling throughout the day.  Bring a cooler with water and snacks and make sure to eat and drink throughout your hike.

Five tips for proper hydration and fueling

Hydrate before you hike
Make sure to drink plenty of water and eat water-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, rice, and pasta the day leading up to your hike.  You do not want to hit the trail dehydrated.  Your urine should be a light straw color indicating proper hydration.

Hydrate during your hike
Bring water bottles or a hydration pack with you during the hike.  In hotter temperatures you will need to bring more water and enough for everyone in your hiking group.  A good general guideline is to drink 2 cups of fluid every hour of hiking.

Fuel before you hike
Make sure that the day before you hike you are consuming enough fuel.  You do not want to start a hike depleted of glycogen which is stored from carbohydrate in the diet.  A meal with adequate carbohydrate from pasta, rice, potatoes, fruit, or beans the night before a long hike will supply you with energy the next day.

Fuel during your hike
Bringing easy to transport foods such as trail mix, dried fruit, fresh fruit, granola bars, and peanut butter sandwiches will help you to stay fueled during your hike.  If you find yourself becoming frustrated with the hike you may just need some fuel. 

Refuel after your hike
A long day of hiking depletes your glycogen stores and breaks down your muscle fibers.  Make sure to have a meal or snack with a combination of carbohydrate and protein after your hike.  The carbohydrate will fill up your glycogen stores, and the protein will help to repair your muscles.  Adequate refueling results in less fatigue.

Now get out there and take in the beauty of our wonderful parks and trails throughout the QC!

by Nutritionist Blogger, Jeni Tackett, RD, LD

Jeni Tacket shares her tips on selecting, preparing, and consuming healthy foods with LMQC readers every month.

My husband, Nathan, and I hike every week.  We are now exploring our favorite trails as empty nesters (including a trek in Wild Cat Den, one of our favorites).  But it was nearly 20 years ago, that we started the kids out young, hiking every weekend for a few hours exploring trails in the Quad Cities and beyond.

Nathan even named our family the “T4 Adventure Club” in honor of all the hiking we did on weekends.

We’ve come full circle now, and once again, another fall is upon us and the perfect time of year to explore QC area trails.

What you eat makes a difference on the trail

As a dietician, I have learned that you’ll have a better hiking experience if you plan for hydrating and fueling throughout the day.  Bring a cooler with water and snacks and make sure to eat and drink throughout your hike.

Five tips for proper hydration and fueling

Hydrate before you hike
Make sure to drink plenty of water and eat water-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, rice, and pasta the day leading up to your hike.  You do not want to hit the trail dehydrated.  Your urine should be a light straw color indicating proper hydration.

Hydrate during your hike
Bring water bottles or a hydration pack with you during the hike.  In hotter temperatures you will need to bring more water and enough for everyone in your hiking group.  A good general guideline is to drink 2 cups of fluid every hour of hiking.

Fuel before you hike
Make sure that the day before you hike you are consuming enough fuel.  You do not want to start a hike depleted of glycogen which is stored from carbohydrate in the diet.  A meal with adequate carbohydrate from pasta, rice, potatoes, fruit, or beans the night before a long hike will supply you with energy the next day.

Fuel during your hike
Bringing easy to transport foods such as trail mix, dried fruit, fresh fruit, granola bars, and peanut butter sandwiches will help you to stay fueled during your hike.  If you find yourself becoming frustrated with the hike you may just need some fuel.

Refuel after your hike
A long day of hiking depletes your glycogen stores and breaks down your muscle fibers.  Make sure to have a meal or snack with a combination of carbohydrate and protein after your hike.  The carbohydrate will fill up your glycogen stores, and the protein will help to repair your muscles.  Adequate refueling results in less fatigue.

Now get out there and take in the beauty of our wonderful parks and trails throughout the QC!

Jeni Tackett

Jeni Tackett

Nutritionist Blogger

Jeni is a registered and licensed dietitian who works at Genesis Health Systems as a Health Promotion Coordinator. ​She has always been passionate about a healthy lifestyle and helping others live their healthiest life.