Knightly Nibbles: How Medieval Knights Kept Up Their Strength

Battling is hard work. You’re marching around a battlefield all day long, up and down hills and valleys, and slashing and hacking people right and left. You might even spend some time riding a horse, and if you’ve ever ridden a horse, it can sometimes be more tiring than just walking. Many knights were also even required to dig ditches and battlefield trenches, as well as throw rocks at enemy soldiers. And they had to do all this in unbearably heavy armor – and usually holding a sword and shield as well. So how did knights keep up their strength all day, with all the hearty activities that they had to do? Believe it or not, they packed lunches and snacks just like you might for a hiking trip or a hard day’s work.

One of the most common snacks that a knight would pack was a chunk of hearty bread and several morsels of tasty cheese. They would often keep these snacks in a pouch slung around their waist – akin to our modern fanny pack. They would also keep a horn filled with mead or beer slung around their neck. It’s surprsing, but beer can actually be quite the energy drink under the right circumstances. It’s really packed chock full of calories – there’s a reson that old people get beer bellies.

If they had a break during battle, knights would often go back to their tents to fill up for the rest of the day. They would often eat preserved meats like sausages and bacon, along with bread and fruits, usually apples or pears. The protein in bacon and the sugars in fruit really help to keep you going, especially when you’re weighed down under several hundred pounds of armor. Hard life!