The 8 Perfect Snacks For Mountaineering & Trekking
Updated: Jun 6, 2020
The food you choose to take with you for your high altitude adventure always comes down to personal preference and what works for you. As long as you are getting sufficient calories in while at altitude, it seldom matters what form those calories come in, provided you read the following 5 helpful tips and important advice that can save you from potential bodily disaster at altitude:
Always test the foods you’re considering taking from the comfort of your own home. On the off chance that one of the foods gives you an upset tummy then rather find out at home than on the side of a mountain.
It goes without saying, but if a certain food makes you gassy or bloated at sea level then it will do the same at altitude but more than likely ten times worse. Your digestion system slows down as one of your body's responses to altitude, which simple amplifies being gassy or bloated. Another part to that i it is seriously uncomfortable to have your heavy backpack waist strap on while your bloated or gassy. It's just not fun and if you can avoid it then absolutely do!
Always take a variety of foods - some people’s taste buds change at altitude. I have a huge sweet tooth, but as soon as I pass about 5,000m above sea level, I can't even look at a chocolate bar without feeling queasy. Some people don't struggle with this but if you haven't been to high altitude before then it's a good idea to take a little bit of a variety, just in case.
Consider ways to get more fiber into your food at altitude. As I've already said, your digestion system will slow down at altitude and one of the side affects of that is a much slower bowel movement than what you'd normally expect at sea level. In all honesty, it used to take me three or four days before I'd need a poo (excuse the crass word, but it is what it is) until I started integrating a good fiber supplement into my mountaineering life. Fruit, coffee, greens and fiber supplements are a great consideration. If you tend to take longer to have a bowel movement at sea level then just assume that you will have the same problem if not worse at altitude.
Take into consideration chewing time for your foods. Take some that take longer to eat, like boiled sweets and others that you can chew quickly, like energy chews or gummies and swallow for the moments when you just need to get a bit of energy in you ASAP.
The 8 Perfect Snacks For Trekking and Mountaineering
Homemade Trail Mix
This is a great option because you can adapt it to the exact things you like. For example, I know peanuts make me gassy, cashews tend to make me bloated but almonds and pecans tick all the right boxes. I like adding a few peanut butter M & M's to my mixes too for the lower altitudes when I am more in the mood for sweet things. Checkout my recipe here for the Ultimate High Altitude Trail Mix - tried and tested on 4 different continents!
My favorite and a favorite of most of my clients is the GU Energy Chews, particularly the watermelon flavoured ones. They are quick to eat and are packed with BCAA's and amino acids to help with your recovery.
Chocolate bars and Granola Bars
The granola bars provide a good bit of fiber so try take a mix of chocolate bars and granola bars if you enjoy these kinds of foods.
Sticks of Salami
It may sound weird but this is one of the best foods for people who prefer salty things because it last long and its a good source of protein and fats. The other benefit is that it will more than likely make you thirsty, which will make you, drink more.
IMPORTANT TIP - Make sure you check the rules and regulations of what you can and can't bring into country. Some countries are particularly fussy about this and once they see your mountaineering or trekking bag, they will stop you and search you because it is a common error that rookie high altitude adventurers make.
I'm not sure what the equivalent of these are around the world but these Soreen Loaves are a type of malt loaf that I’ve found to be great for mountaineering and trekking trips. They can get squashed, smashed, and completely flattened but they will still hold together without crumbling and provide you with a delicious source of energy.
This one is again great for people who prefer salty foods.
Fantastic fiber but make sure you don't get bloated or gassy with the dried fruit you decide to take as that is often a problem with dried fruit.
Variety Of Sweets
Take a few different kinds in terms of flavor and consistency - boiled sweets, soft sweets, chewy sweets etc.
Remember, the food you take is completely a personal choice. Take the tips I've shared into consideration and enjoy taste testing before you leave for your high altitude adventure.