Food and Drink on the Three Peaks Challenge

01 November 2018

Knowing what to bring to the North Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge is crucial (you’ll be on your feet for up to 12 hours!). Our bodies rely heavily on the energy sources we put into them and, packing the correct food and drink is of equal importance. We’ll take a look at the best types of food and liquids you can pack for yourself and your NY3P companions to make the most of the experience, while at the same time ensuring that you can keep that motivation going throughout the challenge. Whilst packing snacks for the hike is something that should be carefully done, you should also ensure that you eat properly one to two days ahead of the walk as this can heavily impact the enjoyability of the overall experience. You should be packing more than a simple bottle of water and a chocolate bar. The good news is that selecting food and drink for this feat mainly consists of common sense.

THE “BONK”.

Perhaps you’re familiar with this term already, but the “bonk” is a word given to that feeling of hitting a wall. Walkers can be particularly susceptible to suffering from this type of energy crash (especially if the wrong types of food are consumed) which is caused by a total glycogen depletion in the muscles and liver. You’ll want to do your best to avoid this type of fatigue on the day of the NY3P Challenge and, there are many easy ways you can prevent yourself from suffering from the dreaded “bonk”. You don’t need to be a nutritionist to get it right either!

FIRST THINGS FIRST: BREAKFAST FUEL.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a reason! You’re going to need a nutritious breakfast before setting off on the NY3P challenge. Eggs are a great choice due to their protein values as well the fact that they are light and won’t weigh you down

in the same ways carby foods would. Other good options could include low-fat yoghurt and fruit if you really can’t bear skipping the carbs opt for wholemeal toast over white.

TRAIL MIX AKA SUPERFOOD.

Though it may not look particularly appealing (bearing a resemblance to animal feed, we know), trail mix is one of the most basic and convenient recipes that are regularly consumed by hikers, making it a great food candidate for the NY3P Challenge! Composed mainly of nuts which are rich in healthy fats and protein, dried fruit and tasty extras such as chocolate too, it’s easy to carry and will keep your energy levels high. You can make your own at home or even buy from a retailer. Either way, it’s kept in a small resealable, lightweight bag making it easy to throw into your backpack on the day. Depending on which types of fruit and nuts you use, the nutrient values in trail mix will vary, though it’s all good stuff really! A final note on this basic but energy-rich food source, trail mix provides all your essentials: carbohydrates, protein, fibre and sugar to keep you fully energised.

H2O (LOTS OF IT!)

Being dehydrated is not good. Especially if you’re situated miles away from the nearest clean water source. Common sense largely comes into play here but equipping yourself with lots of water is important. The thought of lumbering around bottles of water in your backpack may sound less than ideal when already taking part in a strenuous challenge, but you’ll thank yourself later. Dehydration can lead to unwanted troublesome situations and not only this but you’ll want to be safe rather than sorry at the end of the day. If the thought of packing extra water into your backpack seems to be too much of a chore, you may want to consider investing in a hydration backpack which is both comfortable and portable generally carrying up to 2 litres of liquid. Though it’s tempting to drink caffeinated drinks such as the various sports drinks available out there in supermarkets, it’s always advisable to stick to the good stuff (water in its natural form).

Even if sports drinks contain carbohydrates and offer a ‘quick fix’ in terms of recharging your battery, they are in fact high in both sugars and calories so should be avoided (ALSO, water is free!). You never know when you may need to offer a hiking pal a drink if they’re caught up in a situation without water to hand!

TEA, COFFEE OR AN ALTERNATIVE HOT DRINK.

Don’t be fooled by warm temperatures, even on the hottest summer day the further you ascend up a mountain, the windier and colder it gets. The North Yorkshire Three Peaks will see you set foot to climb the highest three peaks of England and trust us, it gets very gusty at the tops of them! This is where hot drinks can come in and save you. A must for any hiker, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one without their trusty Thermos companion. For those of us who struggle without caffeine, tea and coffee are a welcome addition to perking up energy levels. If you’d rather skip the caffeine, any hot drink is sure to warm you up.

Thermos flask containing hot drink being poured into lid to drink.

PROTEINS & FATS (THE GOOD STUFF).

Though carbs and sugar are great for a quick boost of energy, proteins are where your focus should be when out hiking. Unfortunately, foods high in good fats such as cheese, don’t tend to keep very well, however, there are still options! There are plenty of foods that will keep well and still have your essential fat/proteins such as sausage rolls, scotch eggs, nuts or meat that’s been smoked, cured or canned. If you’re in charge of packing snacks for your hiking crew, it’s important to keep in mind individual dietary restrictions by making sure there’s an alternative for those with allergies and intolerances to glucose and lactose.

DON’T LITTER, PLEASE.

Though it’s tempting to leave litter behind when you have a bag full of items already, you must take them with you. NY3P aims to be ethical at all times and conserve the environment in which the challenge takes place, as well as respect local communities. Keep your rubbish in your bag until you’ve found the nearest suitable rubbish or recycling bin which is generally near to one of the many village pubs, talk about perks!

FOOD CHECKLIST IDEAS.

If you’re making your NY3P Challenge food shop and need a checklist to ensure you’ve got all the essentials covered, look no further:

  • Tuna/other fish – packed full with good protein and fats, you can pick up handy pouches of tuna and other fish in the supermarket.
  • Peanut butter – spread it on your sarnies or take some along to eat with your apples. Peanut butter is high in good fats and will keep your energy levels peaked when you’re climbing the peaks.
  • Durable fruits such as apples – bananas may be tempting but more often than not they’ll get bruised and turn mushy in your backpack.
  • Granola bars/cereal bars and nuts – high in fibre, healthy fats and nutrients these type of snacks are easy to pack and will keep you going.  
  • Crackers and cheese – everyone loves crackers and cheese, so what’s better than a perfect excuse to indulge? While you may not be able to pack an entire cheeseboard, you can improvise.
  • Trail mix nuts, dried fruit and seeds. For an extra bit of jazz and sugar add some Jelly Babies and Haribos (AKA moralibos) to the mix, you’ll thank yourself later. 
  • Sandwiches nothing beats a good sarnie, spread it with peanut butter and jam, fill with cold meats, egg mayonnaise or even tuna. Make sure to cut your foot long subs up for bite-sized snacking as you walk!

Making sure you bring food and drink up to the North Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge can mean the difference between an exhausting, potentially dangerous trek and a fun day out, so remember to bring food with you! The North Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge gives yourself and your group the opportunity to not only experience the breathtaking scenery offered by the North Yorkshire Moors but also gives the opportunity to raise much-needed money for your favourite charity.

WHAT TO EAT AFTER A HIKE.

You did it! After completing the North Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge you’ll likely be relieved to be back in the comfort of your home and also hungry. After-hike care may seem a bit silly however your body will be looking to replenish and it can’t do it on its own, so you’ll need to be kind. Listen to your body: aches, pains and more aren’t just a sign of strain on your muscles. Though you’re going to be taking it easy and won’t be moving much further than the couch for a couple of days post NY3P Challenge, it’s important to still feed your body the good stuff in order for a full recovery.

The following foods are good options and will have you back to peak energy in no time:

  • Protein-rich foods such as salmon and chicken. A three-course dinner may not be on the cards, who can be bothered with all the fuss anyway? Especially not after an arduous hike! Think simple smoked salmon salads, grilled chicken or tuna salads.
  • Superfood: bananas. Bananas get their rep from nowhere, these superfoods are nutrient-rich and contain magnesium and potassium which helps to relax strained muscles. Add some peanut butter if you want to jazz up your fruit.
  • Turmeric. It contains anti-inflammatory properties and has been used for its healing properties throughout history. Whilst its naturally difficult for the good stuff to be absorbed by our bodies from turmeric on its own, try and pair it with black pepper or milk to aid your body. Try this turmeric latte for a tasty post-hike warmer.
  • Pasta. There’s never been a better reason to indulge in carb-heavy foods! After a big hike, your body will crave carbs. Get the boiling water on and make yourself a large bowl of pasta with some good sauce and veggies too.