Preparing For A High-Altitude Trek? 5 Food Groups To Add To Diet

Heading off for a high-altitude Himalayan trek or a particularly difficult hike in the Sahyadri ranges or in the Purulia hills means a feat that requires endurance of both, body and mind. The pre-trek phase, especially if you are planning on walking a long trail, is extremely important to build healthy muscle and fat stores in the body that will have dramatic effects on enhancing stamina while on the trek route. 

The pre-trek phase can be in two stages, one which is a week just before the trek begins and the other, which starts a couple of months ahead of the arduous days of climbing. Exercise regimens that strengthen leg and back muscles are upped during the pre-trek phase. As well, some dietary changes need to be made to ensure that the body is healthy and fully fit to cope with the rapid rise in altitude and sharp fall in mercury. 

So, along with keeping away from alcoholic beverages and junk foods, there are some other nutritional requirements that will keep the body in top shape. Read on below for some foods that can help to load up carb and fat stores and strengthen healthy muscle:

Complex Carbohydrates

Foods rich in carbohydrates are excellent sources of energy. In the last week before heading off for the trek, load-up the body with carbs that will help to increase glucose levels. Trekking is a high-endurance activity which demands tremendous amounts of energy. Having the right kind of carbs which are low in calories and prevent a rapid insulin uptick a few days prior to the trek can help fuel the body while on the trail. In fact, the best dinner before travelling into the mountains is a plateful of warm khichdi, dahi and papad.

Lean Protein

Having a slice of chicken breast for dinner or an omelette for breakfast will help to build healthy muscle in the preparatory phase of the trek. When you start working out your leg muscles and back for building strength, it also becomes imperative to consume the right amount of protein for healthy muscle recovery. Consuming lean protein can go a long way in helping the body keep-up its fitness levels while on the trail.


A healthy stomach promises a healthy trek. Stomach flu, constipation or IBS can have an impact on stamina and increase overall fatigue while on the trek route. For a clean stomach and healthy gut bacteria, include foods rich in probiotics like curds and buttermilk in your diet for at least a fortnight before the trek begins. 

Fibre-Rich Foods

Eat legumes, vegetables and dals right before the trek to make sure that your fibre intake is at its optimum. This will give the body enough roughage to prevent constipation making you feel light and energetic. Fibre-rich foods take time to digest so have them in moderation during the preparatory phase.

Healthy Fats

The body burns a high number of calories on the trek route, most times resulting in both, fat and muscle loss. On high-altitude treks, it is especially important to have adequate fat stores in the body that not only help to maintain stamina but also boost overall health. Having ghee with rotis and rice lubricates the digestive tract, enhances overall strength and rids the body of harmful toxins. Incorporate healthy fats all through the preparatory phase for boosting strength.