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Nutrition tips for keeping kids fuelled up during a long hike

Planning a hike this weekend? While bringing along a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses may be obvious, you may be less certain of what to pack for lunch! We’re going to go over the best nutrition tips you’ll need for a long moderate hike.

When to “fuel up”

Do your kids relentlessly cry out that they’re hungry until they’re blue in the face? To motivate your young hikers, take out the map and decide with them where you’ll break for a snack. Plan on stopping for a snack every 45 to 60 minutes of exercise.

If you planned to picnic, set it up at the peak. It’s always a winning option. You’ll also have more time to take in the beautiful scenery! Finally, don’t forget to bring a post-hike snack for the car so you can recover properly and calm the kids’ tired stomachs after their long day.

What to bring

Choose snacks that contain carbohydrates (our fuel of choice) and protein, which helps repair muscles (*see our savvy ideas). Avoid foods that are high in fat because they take longer to digest (sorry, no chips in between climbs). To make life easier, choose snacks that are easy to eat and not messy.

Stay hydrated

Even before you set off, make your water bottle your best friend and start hydrating yourself. During the hike, you should take a few sips (approximately 125 ml) every 15 to 20 minutes. If the hike lasts longer than an hour at a steady pace, opt for sports drinks. You can make one yourself by combining 400 ml of water, 500 ml of juice and a pinch of salt. Children become dehydrated more easily so it is especially important to encourage them to drink. That’s why children’s backpacks with a hydration system are very practical (and fun!). Finally, don’t forget to hydrate after, even though the hike is finished

A few easy-to-bring snack ideas

  • A mix of dry fruit and nuts
  • Grapes and pieces of low-fat cheese
  • A flavoured soy beverage
  • Homemade wafers, muffins or granola bars
  • A banana wrapped in a tortilla with peanut butter (2 servings)
  • Fruit and yogurt or soy pudding
  • Fruit and milk or soy beverage
  • Fruit and small homemade muffin
  • Mini pita and hummus
  • Rice cake and tofu spread
  • Fruit and soybeans, lentils, roasted chickpeas or edamame, cucumbers, carrots or celery and ricotta cheese, cottage cheese or hummus

    Cucumber and tuna rolled sandwiches (that won’t make a mess)

    4 servings - Preperation time: 15 minutes

    It’s often the small details that make all the difference in hiking. Say goodbye to the mess by rolling your sandwiches like a sushi roll. They’ll magically become easier to transport and fun for your hungry little ones to eat.

    Ingrédients:

    • 4 to 8 slices whole-wheat bread
    • 2 English cucumbers, peeled and cut into sticks
    • For the tuna and white bean filling
    • 190 g (1 cup) canned white beans (i.e., 1/2 a 540 ml/19 oz. container), rinsed and drained
    • 3 80 g cans of tuna in olive oil (keep the oil from 1 can, approximately 15 ml (1 tablespoon))
    • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) lemon juice
    • Lemon zest
    • Side dish
    • Sliced veggies of your choice

    Preparation steps

    • For the tuna and white bean filling
    • In the food processor bowl, reduce the white beans into a smooth puree with the oil from the tuna can and the lemon juice. Pour into a bowl. Add the tuna and mix well. Add salt and pepper.
    • To assemble the sandwiches
    • Flatten the slices of bread using a rolling pin. Cover with the tuna mix.
    • Place a few cucumber sticks along the length of the bread, then roll the slice of bread around it. Repeat until you run out of ingredients.
    • Place the rolled sandwiches in a transportable airtight container. Keep cold with an ice pack.

    For a well-balanced meal, bring your favourite raw vegetable sticks as a side for this sandwich that won’t make a mess!


    Annie is a nutritionist, doctor of pharmacy and founder of ScienceFourchette.com. Énergique, créative et allumée. She has a unique way of expanding your nutritional knowledge and simplifying your diet (a lot!).