4 Nutrition Tips for Outdoor Adventurers

Since the beginning, I’ve wanted The Adventures in Parenthood Project to provide some hands-on resources and a well-rounded scope of the challenges and circumstances unique to outdoor adventurers.

Some of these adventurous parents, such as Caroline George, are exerting themselves at very high levels. But they don’t often have a team helping them keep their own health in check, particularly their nutrition. Proper nutrition is an important key to staying happy and healthy in our lives, as individuals and as caregivers.

Enter: Samantha Peris of nu roots nutrition over in The Netherlands. Having lived in the mountain community of Canmore, Alberta, Samantha is well-acquainted with providing nutritional information for outdoor enthusiasts who exert themselves at high levels, in both energy and altitude.

Holistic nutritionist Samantha Peris of nu roots nutrition. Photo by Kirstie Tweed of Orange Girl Photographs.

Samantha says that when it comes to good nutrition, there are some recommendations she provides to everyone. From there an outdoor adventurer needs to adjust his or her own nutrition to their individual needs, activities and levels of exertion. Adventurous parents will need to take these factors into consideration for their children.

The Basics

The basic foods that Samantha recommends in anyone’s diet are high quality, whole foods:

  • whole grains (quinoa, millet, buckwheat, brown rice)
  • fruits and vegetables
  • nuts and seeds
  • high quality, organic meats and eggs
  • healthy fats (coconut oil, olive oil, hemp oil, butter)
  • superfoods (check out Sam’s Favourite Superfoods)

Tip: Bringing a whole piece of fruit or a vegetable on an outdoor activity is often inconvenient. But, you actually retain a lot of nutrition in foods when you dehydrate them. I use the Excalibur.

4 Nutritional Tips for Outdoor Adventurers

1. Eat and drink enough – Sam says her clients are spending crazy amounts of energy outdoors and aren’t replenishing their bodies. Their bodies can function like that for a long time but will start to break down. Be mindful of just how many calories you’re burning on a long mountaineering or backpacking trip and how much you’re losing fluids.

2. Take care of your adrenal glands – Outdoor adventurers often end up burning out a lot of the nutrition stores that they need to run the stress gland. Our adrenal glands are important for many reasons, and adventurers who enjoy riskier activities often rely on their adrenals to regulate that ‘fight or flight’ reaction that comes up in stressful situations. Be sure to eat superfoods, seaweeds, crunchy/chewy foods (like carrots, which stimulates the pituitary glands), and electrolytes.

At 23 hours, my climb of Mt. Sir Douglas was one of the longest days of sustained climbing, down-climbing, rappelling and hiking I’ve ever had. I think I drank about half a liter of water and ate a granola bar or two along the way. Not good. Photo by Paul Zizka Photography.

3. Slow down– Avoid using coffee and sugar to keep you going. “Take breaks and stop when you eat when possible,” says Samantha. This may not always be easy if you’re on the side of a mountain or eating a bar out of your armpit. When you have the chance, though, sit and be conscious of what you’re eating.

4. Consider the Conditions: You can use your nutrition to optimize your performance in varying conditions. Eg:

  • cold climates – drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty, eat extra calories and warm foods (heat them up, if possible) and also eat warming foods
  • sun exposure – eat foods high in antioxidants, carotenoids (leafy greens, spinach, kale, carrot, mango, pumpkin, sweet potato) and lycopene (watermelon, tomatoes red bell pepper), which will increase your skin’s ability to tolerate to UV radiation
  • altitude – eat foods that are high in carbohydrates and increase oxygenation with blood-building foods (high in iron)

To Conclude…

If you’re interested in taking all this a step further, consider arranging a Skype consultation with Samantha. I also recommend you check out her Facebook Page, Tweets and blog posts for great nutrition tips. If you’ve got any questions for her, post them below and I’ll be sure to ask her in a follow-up interview.

Here are links to some of her recipes:

Thanks, Sam and nu roots nutrition, for sponsoring the project! 

How do you keep yourself fuelled on outdoor adventures?

Author: Meghan J. Ward

Meghan J. Ward is an outdoor, travel and adventure writer based in Banff, Canada, and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Meghan has written several books, as well as produced content for films, anthologies, blogs and some of North America’s top outdoor, fitness and adventure publications. She has a forthcoming travel memoir (Fall 2022), to published by Rocky Mountain Books.

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