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Trail snacks: as if hiking itself isn't reason enough to put your boots on!
These yummy mouthfuls of snacking goodness don't have to be expensive or complicated, unless you want them to be.
You can cruise the aisles of any grocery store and find plenty of companies who want you to try their latest & greatest snacks.
But be careful!
You want food that works with you, not against you, on your hikes.
So avoiding nastiness is definitely in your best interest as a hiker:
I want only the 3 basic fuel molecules (along with great taste, of course): carbohydrates, proteins, fats, plus flavor.
No words I can't pronounce, please!
Even if you're not a label purist like me, there are a few other things to look for in your trail fuel.
Are there any trail snacks on the planet that deliver all of that??
Actually, yes. Read on for a glimpse into the wonderful world of Hiking-For-Her approved best trail snacks!
Sometimes I crave chocolate, other times I want a fruity chewy morsel.
Nuts and raisins can satisfy me, too.
Ever wonder why you crave certain things on the trail? Here's the answer!
If you're a devoted chocolate fan, let's get right to the best chocolate covered trail snacks.
CaveMan Bars are currently satisfying my chocolate longings. I can't decide if I love the dark chocolate almond coconut more than the dark chocolate cashew almond.
But I definitely love the ingredients: non-GMO, dairy free, gluten free and peanut free.
They are chewy, satisfying, not gagging-ly (is that even a word?) sweet, and fairly priced when you buy in bulk.
And while I do not love the fact that they leave out cave women (who were hikers, no doubt), I definitely love these bars because there's an option for the days I crave fruit.
While I dearly love the blueberry bars, the apple and cranberry bars are also yummy. Take a peek here...
If you want to cover all of the bases (chocolate, fruit, AND nuts) while keeping the price to a minimum, dabble a bit.
What do I mean?
If you're all about the fruit, FruitSource bars are just the ticket. No preservatives, colorings or weird flavorings.
The ingredient list is short and sweet: only fruit concentrate, pectin, and fiber (an important consideration on multi-day hikes).
Note that you are ingesting naturally occurring fruit sugars
only - no sugar rush but plenty of energy flowing through your legs.
I can't pick a clear favorite flavor, which is why I buy a variety pack of bite sized morsels.
Then I don't have to fight off my trail buddies for the "best" bites. I have been known to share my tasty trail tidbits ;)
More good news: these resealable bags keep forever in the pantry, if you can keep your hands off them on your non-trail days!
Another tried and true favorite: LaraBars.
These have really short ingredient lists, too:
There are enough flavors to keep your taste buds entertained for many hikes.
And if you need to avoid gluten, dairy, soy, animal proteins, peanuts (except for 1 bar, clearly labeled), these trail snacks are just what you need.
They're also Orthodox Kosher certified, and vegan.
I have several current favorites: cocoa mole, chocolate coconut (detect a trend?), cashew cookie, and ginger snap.
But there are lots of
other flavors to try, and more developed all the time.
That's a great thing about these bars: no boredom.
Zing Bars are designed by nutritionists, and thus pay close attention to what a hiker really needs.
The flavors are great, they're easy to bite into even when it's cold outside, BUT they are a bit pricey.
You get what you pay for, right?
The blueberry variety is highly recommended for snack breaks while hiking, because it does a great job of replenishing your blood sugar without being hard to digest.
Here's one more suggestion: KIND Fruit & Nut Bars.
Here's a sample ingredient list:
This particular example provides 200 calories, 17g of carbs, 7g of protein, and geez is it TASTY!
Best of all, it combines protein with carbs for slow-burning fuel.
There are lots of other flavors, and I'm having a great time sampling them.
Fair warning: These run a little on the sweet side. If your taste buds are easily offended, skip these.
But if you need to pull a long, steep section of the trail, eat one of these before you do.
My current favorite is (wait for it!) ...chocolate peanut butter.
Sometimes you just gotta have something salty, and pretzels get to be boring after a while.
Ever try seaweed hiking snacks?
They deliver the salty goodness of the sea, along with other surprising benefits for day hikers and backpackers.
Find out all the details here.
This cheat sheet gives you options for an endless variety of tasty trail mix.
For a simple recipe for a delicious "heart healthy" trail mix, along with nutritional info, go here.
Put together a high performance trail mix as fuel using these tips.
Interested in making something like a trail bar, maybe your own "energy spheres" ?
That link provides a fast, easy, and totally delicious recipe.
Or maybe you'd like more information on hiking food in general.
Hikers love to think about, talk about, and eat trail food, that's for sure!
If you're really serious about maximizing your energy and stamina on
the trail, I've written inexpensive e-booklets packed full of nutrition information, just
for the type of hiking you do (or plan to do soon).
Heads up: If we ever meet on the trail while you're taking a snack break, I'll be the one asking "Whatcha eating?"
Rest assured, I will refrain from asking for a bite.
But if you offer, that's a whole different story.
Instant trail friends!!
(The resemblance to dogs is not lost upon me.)
Happy Trail Snacking.
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