Physically training for your hunt is not going to be as effective if you don’t fuel your body with the right foods.
Proper nutrition is critical to get your body to perform to its optimal potential. Nutrition is something you need to focus on no matter the time of year, whether its during your training or during your hunt.
Our quest to provide you with the tools you need to prepare for your hunt led us to a local Montana business. Ivory Nutrition , based out of Bozeman, is run and managed by Alishia Zemlicka, a native Montanan and avid hunter and outdoorswoman. Alishia is a certified nutritional coach who focuses on proper nutrition and tailoring programs specifically for hunters.
Her philosophy of “We train hard to hunt hard, we hunt hard to eat good, we eat good to train hard” really resonates with most hunters who spend hours and days in the field to fill their freezer with wild game meat. We met with Alisha to get some tips for the best nutrition practices hunters can utilize in their preparation for their hunt.
What is a good place to start with changing your nutrition habits? First thing you should implement?
The first thing is to start cutting out as much processed food as possible. A good plan to strive for is to eat 80 percent whole foods and 20 percent processed, but if you can get to a point where you are eating 90 percent whole, and 10 percent processed that’s even better.
The Mayo clinic website has several more tips for cleaner eating:
- Limiting highly processed, packaged foods with a long list of ingredients, most of which are not natural. Ingredients listed on the food label should mostly be foods that you recognize.
- Cutting back on foods with added salt, sugar or fat.
- Avoiding foods that are drastically altered compared with their natural form, such as apple juice versus a whole apple, chicken nuggets versus a fresh chicken breast, or vegetable chips versus fresh vegetables.
- Also, frozen fruits and vegetables are OK because they are minimally processed and can sometimes contain more nutrients than fresh varieties since they are frozen at their peak.
- Preparing and eating more foods at home. Start with simple meals to help you get into the habit
She also mentioned that you can’t forget to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, preferably a gallon a day.
As you begin changing your habits you should also start looking into portion guides which advise you on how much of each food group you should consume in each meal, this ensures that you are not eating too much or too little, and helps give you a guideline to stick too.
Our bodies needs differ from one another depending on our lifestyles and goals, you should consider having your caloric needs assessed and find out what your macro numbers are and follow a food plan that fits your specific needs.
What is proper nutrition while hunting to keep your body fueled and have energy?
While we are out hunting in the mountains our body uses up a lot of energy and we have to keep fueling it in order to be able to feel good, energized, and performing to our optimal level. The best way to do that is to focus on consuming carbs and fats. Protein is great as well and you shouldn’t count it out but it will not provide the same source of energy, so don’t focus on consuming large amounts of protein.
Alishia recommends starting the day off with a carb dense breakfast – a bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter, or a sweet potato with eggs and bacon are some ideas.
Throughout the day it is a little harder to consume whole foods. Apples, nuts, and seeds are good options. Additionally there are lots of snack options available out there, some specifically geared for hunters and backcountry use. Alishia also mentions that you should plan ahead for energy, for example if you know you have a big climb ahead try eating a couple energy chews before you tackle that climb. Don’t wait until you are climbing and feel depleted because at that point it’s too late.
Lastly, she stresses, don’t forget about proper hydration. If you are not a fan of plain water or even for just an extra boost try mixing in hydrate powders.
Clients who are interested in having a customized nutrition program planned for them can contact Alishia, who is happy to work with you whether you are local to Montana or you are out of state.