Walking is one of the best forms of exercise. There is no need to sign up at a gym, and there is minimal stress put on bones and joints, as well as getting fresh air and some vitamin D along the way. Knowing what to eat before and during your walks can assist in adding that pep to your step which will help you achieve your daily step goals.
Try these before your walk
Eating a light instead of a heavy meal is optimal before a walk. It will help avoid weighing you down so you’re not sluggish when walking. Eating a large meal can also make you feel tired, which can interrupt your walking plans! Having a light snack consisting of easily-digested carbohydrates is a great idea.
Try experimenting with different meal types and sizes, as everyone’s body reacts differently. Give yourself a bit of time after you eat before walking so your body has some time to digest before exercise!
- Yogurt with fruit – Look for yogurt without the fruit already mixed in or on the bottom as these tend to have more sugar. Eating very sugary foods can cause your blood sugar to spike, then drop causing you to feel tired very quickly. Dairy can be heavy on the stomach, so don’t eat too much before walking.
- One piece of toast with peanut butter – this easy snack can be eaten quickly and is packed with energy.
- A small serving of oatmeal – Pre-packaged instant oatmeal is often full of sugar, but you can spice up plain oatmeal with a bit of honey or another sweetener. You may want to use water instead of milk prior to a walk (if you like oatmeal with milk).
- Small energy bar – Check the label for calorie and sugar content. Many energy bars are glorified candy bars that aren’t really healthy at all. In a pinch though, you can grab a small one (or even eat half).
What to Eat During Your Walk
During your walk, you will want to eat as light as possible and stay hydrated. While you’re on your walk, anything heavy or hard to digest can linger in your stomach and cause discomfort. It’s also better to carry something that’s physically small so you won’t need an extra bag! Try these ideas:
- Water – Make sure to hydrate, especially if you’re snacking while walking! Staying hydrated is very important for the body during exercise as you lose water through sweat and even breathing. Eating can make your mouth dry, and salty snacks can compound the problem. It’s great to drink water while walking anyway, but when snacking you don’t want to be caught without your H20!
- Nut mix – A small mixture of a variety of nuts gives you the protein and healthy fat needed to feed the muscles and sustain energy. Some excellent choices are almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews. You can also buy prepared nut or nut and fruit mixtures that are easy to carry and easy to snack on.
- Jerky – Beef, pork or chicken jerky can give you a quick boost of energy. It’s not for everyone, but some people simply crave protein! Most jerky contains high amounts of sodium, so this can be an occasional treat. Beware spicy or flavored jerky, which can give you stomach discomfort on a long walk.
- A piece of fruit – when in doubt, grab an easy carry, easy to eat fruit like an apple or banana. It can give you a burst of energy from healthy carbs. Just make sure there’s an easy place to throw out that messy banana peel or apple core!
- Powdered peanut butter with a few slices of apple or banana – Power up your fruit snack! Powdered peanut butter doesn’t even have to be mixed with water. It can be put into a sealable sandwich bag with a few slices of fruit. Shake the bag, and the powder will attach to the fruit which makes for an easy to prepare, quick snack on the run, or in this case, walk.
Make your next walk a heart-healthy one and treat your body to snack options that will help get you past the finish line. Fuel up to get more steps and get more active!