6 food hacks that will make your walk even better
From brilliant bakes to winter warming drinks
Along with incredible views, you can always count on food to motivate you when you’re venturing out on a long walk. Whether it’s a heavenly bake you’re hanging on to until you reach the perfect picnic spot, or a delectable flask full of hot chocolate that’s sure to make every step feel a little sweeter, food can be so much more than just fuel: it can be a real source of encouragement and another reason to smile during your adventure.
A good brisk walk is enough to give anyone an appetite. So, read on for some food hacks to elevate your next excursion…
1. Bake your breakfast
If your walk requires an early start, chances are you may not fancy your breakfast until you’re already out on your trail – that’s where baking something in advance can really come in handy. Breakfast bars can provide a great source of energy, and there are so many tasty combinations to choose from.
The night before your walk, try putting together a traybake using ingredients such as porridge oats, seeds (pumpkin and sunflower varieties are particularly good) and dried fruits like apricots or raisins. Golden syrup and peanut butter will also add an extra hit of sweetness. On the morning of your hike, simply cut as many slices as you need, pack them away, and you’re good to go.
2. A hug in a mug (or flask!)
Sure, a barista-style coffee is great and all, but few hot drink experiences live up to one that’s had at the top of a wind-whipped mountain or hill. With the right flask, your beverage should stay as hot as molten lava, so you can pour yourself a warming cup of loveliness whenever you feel like it.
Coffee and tea are of course popular choices, but hot chocolate has to be one of the best pick-me-ups. For a slightly more exotic concoction, make yourself a champurrado – a thick, warm water-based Mexican chocolate drink. For a superfood-infused brew, try turmeric tea. This nutritious drink is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and possesses a subtle heat that’s sure to power you through the rest of your walk.
3. The ultimate trail mix
When it comes to getting the most out of your walk, food really can make all the difference – especially if you’re out on a longer hike. While it’s tempting to hold on until lunchtime before tucking into whatever delights you’ve made, it’s best to adopt the ‘little but often approach’ to eating as this will help keep your blood sugar levels up and banish any painful cramps.
Trail mixes will provide long-lasting energy, rather than a short-term sugar rush, and they’re so easy to make. Simply add some of your favourite nuts to a bowl (almonds and cashews are ideal for this) along with some seeds and dried fruit and you’re away. For a little more indulgence, throw in some dark chocolate too. You’ll be glad you did.
4. The perfect welcome home
If you’re somebody who regularly enjoys long walks, you may already know just how much of a blessing your slow cooker can be. Just picture the scene. You’ve braved the cold, covered some major ground and now you’re back home, where a sumptuous stew or casserole is bubbling away, ready for you to enjoy.
This time of year calls for hearty dishes, and slow cooking promises maximum flavours and textures with minimum effort. Simply toss in your ingredients before you go, start the cooking process, and return home to a mouth-watering meal unlike any other. Think meat that falls apart with just the stroke of a fork and sauces that are enriched with the deep aromas of herbs and spices. From a succulent beef shin and ale ragù to a Normandy-style pork and cider casserole, the slow cooking possibilities are endless.
5. Smart storage
Often the best walks are those that take you deep into the countryside , where you’re free to really immerse yourself in the wonder of nature. Of course, it’s unlikely the road less travelled will be paved with endless cafés and lunch stops, so you’ll need to pack your own fuel.
This is where it pays to step up your Tupperware™ game. Both sustainable and convenient, a food grade BPA-free silicone bowl that’s collapsible will become your new best friend. Many of these containers are made with clasp lids that create a spill-proof seal for extra peace of mind and can be broken down into a small disk that’ll save room in your rucksack.
6. Hydration made simple
It’ll come as no surprise that staying hydrated during your walk is essential and the bottle you choose really can make all the difference. Refillable water bottles are the most obvious option – they’re easier to clean and are better for the environment than disposable bottles. They can be heavy however, so try packing yours in a separate water carrier, such as a lumbar or bum bag, to evenly distribute the weight you’re carrying, if needed.
Alternatively, you could choose a hydration bladder pack. These flexible containers are carried on your back or inside your waistband and allow you to sip through a flexible tube – extremely convenient if you’re carrying water on longer walks and need easy access to it! As a bonus, you can usually use the space saved in your backpack to carry other necessities, too.
We’ve got ideas for hundreds of wonderful walking routes across England, Scotland and Wales, long and short, easy and challenging. Search for routes on our website. Or join a guided walk with a local Ramblers group. Find your nearest Ramblers group and choose a walk that suits your pace, fitness and interests.
More inspiration for your walks
Choose a walking route that lets you take in spectacular sights and allows you to sample an array of delicious food and drink along the way.
Foraging for ingredients and snacks is a rewarding and wholesome way to connect with the land around us.