The crunch of sticks and pine needles beneath my boots, a rocky trail ahead of me, there’s no better time to take a hike and to drink in the gorgeous wonder of the natural world. Some of my oldest, most cherished memories are of hiking the White Mountains of New Hampshire with my parents, exploring the seemingly distant peaks that made up our horizon line on a deeper, more personal level. Before I could even walk, I was placed in a fishing basket with a pile of blankets and allowed to jostle along down the trail on my mother’s back (I have the photo evidence to prove it). Yes, by now it’s in my bones. I feel like myself when I’m outside, away from the confines and containment of city life, where it’s just me and my hiking companions, a canopy of foliage above, and an incredible view awaiting our arrival at the peak. Hiking is exploration and discovery, excitement and serenity all rolled into one.
Of course, there’s always the question of what, exactly, to pack. And to eat for that matter. As a lover of food and all things snack-related, today I’m sharing a few healthy tips for packing the perfect snacks for your day hike, food that will keep you fueled and feeling healthy from the trailhead to the peak, and back again.
Coconut water – Along with your bottle of water, throw a small container of coconut water in your pack for extra hydration. Think of it as the natural — and way healthier — version of a sports drink, helping to replenish lost electrolytes and providing a healthy dose of potassium, which helps aid in muscle recovery.
Organic chocolate – Chocolate is such a treat to have in your pack during a day on the trail, but one that also packs numerous benefits, especially for longer backpacking trips. One of the most energy dense foods, chocolate — especially dark chocolate — can give you a much needed boost if you’re feeling exhausted and help you recover at the end of the day.
Dried fruit & trail mix – Dried fruit and trail mix are great alternatives to processed energy bars. High in fiber and dense in nutrients and healthy fats, when paired together these foods are the perfect portable fuel for a day on the trail. Check out our trail mix recipes for your next go-to snack.
Homemade granola bars – I gave up on packing sandwiches for the trail long ago, as they always ended up flattened by the time I got hungry. Instead, I’ll toss a few homemade granola bars in my bag, the oats provide a healthy, gluten-free source of fiber and carbohydrates, and help satisfy hunger.
Personally, I don’t bother with fresh fruit and vegetables when I’m out in the woods, instead I make sure to include those things in my breakfast, along with plenty of protein, and as part of my dinner once I return home. While some fruits are highly portable — bananas and apples especially — they tend to not withstand the wear and tear put upon them throughout the day.
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