What To Look For When Choosing Energy Food And Beverages

When you are doing outdoor activities, be it camping, cycling, or trekking, you will need to
replenish yourself with food and water. While regular food and water might do the job, energy food and
beverages win at being more convenient, easy to digest, and can be stored for a longer period. There
are so many varieties of energy food and beverages on the market, so today we will help you make your
decision by looking at a few points: nutritional information, when you want to eat these energy food
and beverages, varieties of energy food and beverages, and some extra features.

Nutritional Information

Whether you are just shopping for your daily groceries or buying energy food and beverages, it is always
important to know their nutritional information. Here are some nutritional information to be taken into
consideration:

1. Calories: while exercising, your calorie intake per hour will rely on a few factors such as the
duration and intensity of your work out, and the type of your body. As a general rule of thumb,
200-300 calories each hour is good enough, which is why lots of energy food and beverages
provide calories that fulfill this range if you consume them as instructed.

2. Carbohydrates: as carbohydrate is the primary source of energy, more is needed if you are
doing intense activity or if the duration of your activity is long. But be careful not to consume
more than 60g of carbohydrate per hour if you don’t want to end up with a stomach sickness, as
that is the limit most human body can process.

3. Fat: usually energy food contains low amount of fat unless it serves as a replacement for meals
or those particularly for sportsmen.

4. Sodium: it is crucial to help metabolize carbohydrate so that your muscles are able to function
well. It also helps to maintain hydration level.

5. Potassium: same as sodium, it is also regarded as a unit of electrolytes. It functions the same as
sodium to aid metabolize carbohydrate and maintain hydration level.

6. Vitamins and minerals: lots of energy bars are packed with vitamins and minerals as your body
consumes vitamins and minerals during workouts and activities too.

7. Amino acid mix: leucine, valine, and isoleucine are broken down proteins that are used to build
muscles and maintain their function. They are often being added to gels.

8. Sweeteners: it serves as a substitute for sugars. Examples are like stevia, honey, and agave.

9. Caffeine: some energy food and drinks contain caffeine to further pump up your energy. It will
be clearly stated on the packaging if the food contains caffeine.

When Should You Eat Energy Food And Beverages?

You will need nourishment in every part of your activities, which means you should consider energy
foods for each of that part, namely before, throughout, and after the activity. Here is what you should
look for in these different stages:

Before: it should include a balanced blend of proteins, fiber, and carbohydrate as it should deliver a high
and steady level of energy over a lasting period of time. It is always best to consume these food before
1-2 hours of your activity, especially if it contains fat and protein.

During: these food should be easy to digest and taken in by your body. Its main purpose is to strengthen
your energy in a steady manner. For intense activities, many will go for energy food and drinks with
calories and protein.

After: the main purpose for these is recovery, so they are packed with proteins, amino acids, and
components for muscle recovery so that cells can repair themselves faster. Some popular choices are
energy bars, beverages, and supplements.

Varieties Of Energy Food And Beverages

Energy bars: most bars are packed with carbohydrate while being low in protein and fat, which makes
them good to consume prior to and after your activity. They are also great for intense activities that last
for a long period of time as they help to restore our energy reservoir. If you want to maintain energy
level and are able to manage solid food during your activity, energy bars are great as they contain
protein and fat. However, if you can’t take solid food, try beverages that have calories and protein in it.
A tip is to take energy bars with plain water as it aids digestion. It shouldn’t be paired with energy drinks
though, for you might risk consuming too much carbohydrate. For post workout, try energy bars with a
huge amount of protein in it, around 10-20g, as it helps to reinstate muscle tissues.

Energy gels: its convenience make it a popular choice for individuals who are always on the move. It
often comes in small packets that are very easy to pack. These gels are often loaded with carbohydrates
and are very easy for the body to take in. However, energy gels are not ideal for activities that are long-
lasting. A guide is that if your activity goes on for more than 3 hours, pair your gels with energy bars and
beverages for some extra protein and fat. Same with energy bars, gels are best consumed with a few
sips of plain water.

Energy bites: it serves as an alternative to energy gels, for those who doesn’t fancy the gel texture.
Energy bites often come in the form of gummy drops or jelly beans. Function wise, energy bites are the
same as energy gels, which is to charge your body with more carbohydrate. They are best consumed
during your activities, and for longer period of workout, combine with energy bars and beverages.

Energy drinks: its main purpose is to replenish electrolytes that is lost when you sweat a lot. Primary
electrolytes in our body are like calcium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium. These electrolytes play
very important part that ensure our heart, nerve and muscle tissues function properly. This is why when
our electrolytes level drops, we will feel tired and can’t perform ideally. To provide sustainable energy,
some energy drinks have caffeine, carbohydrate and protein, while some others have substantial
amount of calories. If you can’t tolerate solid food during your activities, energy drinks are a great choice
for you. On the side note, if you are combining energy food and drinks, be careful not to consume more
than 60g of carbohydrate per hour, or you might risk having an upset stomach. As for post workout, try
drinks that contain a high amount of protein, as protein can help with muscle recovery.

Supplements: supplements are a good choice if you want the nutrients and vitamins minus the calories.
It should be taken as indicated on the packaging for you to reap all its benefits.

Extra Features For Energy Food And Beverages

Gluten-free: glutens are a composite of proteins that can be found in lots of cereal grains.

Vegetarian: these products are free from any meat, but may include eggs or milk.

Vegan: these products are not only free from meat, but also eggs, cheese, honey, and milk.

Organic: check the label to know how organic the product is. Products can be made with 100% organic
ingredients or just 70% of organic ingredients.

Non-GMO: which means there are no genetically modified organisms in the product.
In some cases, there have to be some trial and error to find an energy product that suits you.
Take your time to explore all the different varieties, and which combination works best for you, and you
will be delighted that you can enjoy your outdoor activities and sports even more!

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