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Backpacker Magazine – March 2010

Trail Nutrition: Eat For Recovery

Double your trail miles–or just boost your energy–with protein-rich snacks.

by: Berne Broudy

Clif Shot Rocks (Marie Gordon)
Clif Shot Rocks (Marie Gordon)

“Carbs are critical to recovery, but they can’t do the job alone,” says Stacy Sims, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist and sports nutritionist at Stanford University. “To get glycogen into your body and repair the muscle microtears that occur during any strenuous workout, you need protein.” To reap the benefits, Sims recommends eating 20 grams of protein immediately after a hike or workout (also snack on protein-rich foods throughout the day, aiming for a total of .6 gram per pound of body weight on high-exertion days). Whey, egg, and soy sources are easiest to digest. We tested 10 recovery products to bring you the three best new choices—plus one old favorite.


Best for workouts Hammer Nutrition Recoverite

Testers reported noticeably less next-day fatigue when they downed a Recoverite after a tough hike. This milky drink hits the sweet spot with a 3:1 ratio of complex carbs to whey protein isolate (an easy-to-digest protein derived from milk) and it’s full of antioxidants and electrolytes. Best flavor: strawberry. Calories 170 Fat 0 g Carbs 33 g Protein 10 g ($2.69 per packet; hammernutrition.com)


Best for the trail Clif Shot Roks

Crunchy on the outside and nougat-soft in the middle, these malted milk ball-like bites are easy to pop on the move and contain two grams of highly digestible protein per piece. Testers reported that the Roks prevented bonking on long days and reduced muscle fatigue the morning after. Bonus: Roks never melted, even in the hottest summer weather. Best flavor: peanut butter. Calories 270 Fat 
4.5 g Carbs 38 g Protein 20 g ($3; clifbar.com)



Best for a sweet tooth PowerBar Recovery 

This caramel-filled, chocolaty bar may taste like junk food, but its 12 grams of highly digestible whey and soy protein isolates 
elevate it above typical vending machine fare. It’s like a candy bar with nutritional value and full recovery benefits. Best flavor: peanut 
butter caramel crisp. Calories 270 Fat 10 g Carbs 30 g Protein 12 g ($1.60; powerbar.com)


Best value Eggs 

This favorite meets all our essential amino acid requirements and packs six grams of easy-to-absorb protein per egg—and is also an excellent source of antioxidants like choline and selenium. Carry them in a reusable plastic egg crate, crack a few into a water bottle and scramble them in camp, or hard-boil a few and stash them in a plastic bag (in cool weather, they’ll last for 48 hours). Calories 78 Fat 5 g Carbs .5 g Protein 6 g ($.25 per egg)




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READERS COMMENTS

Waffles
May 15, 2010

Put eggs, ice cream, bananas, and strawbeerys in a blender and put on chop then wait about 2 min. then add cocolate suyrup and... enjoy!

Phil
May 06, 2010

I knew the eggs would be subject to message board debate. Ohh well. It is a good article and I am interested in trying out the Clif Shot Roks.

Anonymous
Apr 29, 2010

Egg beaters makes single servings, 2 egg equivelent per serving. I freeze them and take them, by the time they are defrosted it's time for breakfast, wrap in a small towel and they're good till the second moring. Better then carrying eggs.

JH
Apr 11, 2010

Consider a course in nutrition before giving advice... the yolk contains 50% of the protein, all of the vitamins/antioxidants/minerals, and is nearly 100% HDL. There is very little LDL in eggs.

HDL decreases LDL and triglycerides and is a precursor to androgens, something I can appreciate while hiking/backpacking.

But please, by all means, continue wasting the true nutritive potential of the egg and enjoy your albumin.

tim
Mar 30, 2010

Mix eggs to scramble and pour on sheet to dehydrate. When dry osterize and put in a baggie. [they turn to powder] Store in your freezer until you're ready for your trip.

majortrauma
Mar 29, 2010

Or....you could just enjoy the entire egg and not stress out about the yolks. What a waste of food.
C'mon folks...are we hikers honestgly that health conscious that we're throwing away perfectly good food?

Tim
Mar 24, 2010

but the yolks are the best part, lol..

Gregory
Mar 18, 2010

For a more healthy egg protein ditch the yolks and eat only the whites. Six whites are about 100 calories and contain almost 40 grams of protein.

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