Tasty Trail Treats
With Spring right around the corner in the North Eastern United States, I’ve been itching to get out on the trail again for some extended overnight hikes! All of my hopes and dreams were crushed this week when Stella blew in leaving over two feet of the white fluffy stuff in her path. The silver lining of the storm is that it allowed me to spend an entire hump day perfecting my favorite homemade trail snacks when I should have been finishing up my second period high school pickle ball tournament.
I love to eat just as much as I love to hike. Finding quick and easy snacks to eat on the trail is the key to a successful day; when I’m not fed, things don’t normally go well. Finding trail-worthy snacks is easy enough, any supermarket shelf will do, but making energetic, wholesome decisions that can withstand being squished into a bear can for days on end is slightly more difficult. Peanut butter is a daily staple in my diet; by the spoonful, spread across toast, on a protein bar or alongside fruit are just some of my favorite ways to consume this protein rich, fatty nut butter. No Bake Energy Bites are my go-to peanut buttery trail snack and take no more then 25 minutes to prepare and serve.
In a large mixing bowl, combine
- 1 cup dry old-fashioned oats
- 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
- 1 tbs chia seeds
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
with a spoon. I usually don’t have too much trouble using a spoon, however, if it’s giving you a hard time, hands work well too! After the the ingredients have been evenly dispersed, cover and refrigerate for 10 -15 minutes. Cooling the ‘dough’ makes it easier to ball; you can ball into whatever size works best for you and store in a sealed container in the fridge for ultimate staying power.
There are many ways to alter this recipe as well! Using vegan chocolate chips, cinnamon chips, dark chocolate chips, or simply cocoa powder is an easy way to satisfy your specific sweet craving. You can also change up the nut butter, make it chunky or test different sweeteners depending on what your personal preferences are when consciously snacking. For the trail, pressing the mixture into parchment paper and creating ‘energy bars‘ is sometimes easier to wrap and store for the long haul but bite sized dollops have their perks as well. The recipe above creates between 20 and 25, 1″ no bake, energy treats!
Another daily favorite is granola. I often eat it with fruit in my cottage cheese, sprinkled atop yogurts, with almond milk or sprinkled on top of cinnamon, peanut butter toast! On the trail I like to mix it into my oatmeal in the morning for some addition nutrients and flavor and to sprinkle on a PB and J ‘summit’ wrap for a little extra something. Granola is another one of those items that can be found in any supermarket but it is going to cost you an arm and a leg and/or be loaded with unnecessary sugars. Making it at home is incredibly easy and you can easily personalize it to your liking.
Start off with
- 4 cups of raw, whole old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans, almonds, cashews, etc.)
- 1/2 cup raw seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, chia, etc.)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dried fruit, chopped (optional)
- 2-3 tbs maple syrup or honey (or a combo of both!)
- 2 tbs coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or almond extract
in a large bowl. Use your hands to combine all of the ingredients. Your hands will help to melt the coconut oil if it is in solid form and will really be the best tool to work all the ingredients into one another. Spread across a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes use a spatula to flip and spread the mixture before baking for an additional 5 minutes on the reverse side. Let the granola cool before storing in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. This amount of ingredients fills a mason jar and I do not include dried fruit; I also use a combination of maple syrup and honey. I drizzle an additional tablespoon of honey over the mixture before baking as well. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, try using local, organic honey in your recipes to help lessen the sensitivity to your local pollen and ultimately, experience less allergy symptoms which will certainly help you on the trail as well!
As much as we all want to be as natural as possible and know exactly where our food came from, anyone with a chaotic schedule knows that it’s just not practical to be on top of your game 24/7, 365. There are plenty of times where I run out the door for a relatively last minute, unplanned hiking adventure or just didn’t have the time to make tasty trail treats before my departure. I am also a full time teacher and a 3 season coach with a very busy schedule that keeps me away from home for a majority of the day with intense snacking needs. In these cases there are a few specific brands and items that I turn to: #1Clif Bar.
My significant other loves Clif Bars on the trail; regular cliff and cliff builder bars are his go to trail snack when he needs some sustenance and energy. I really don’t like how they taste and don’t love the high sugar content and the high number of calories associated with something I’m not thoroughly enjoying. They have a ton of potassium, protein and fat which your body needs on a strenuous multi-day hike though so if you enjoy Clif Energy Bars , this is a great grab and go option. You can often find Clif Builder Protein Bars in his pack with all of 20 grams of protein while maintaining a low glycemic-index food, which is ideal for prolonged levels of energy.
Personally, I prefer the Clif Nut Butter filled bars which contain approximately 7 grams of protein in a USDA approved organic, non GMO, delicious, easy to handle snack. They do have a high fat and high caloric content but they’re still considered a low glycemic-index food and they’re especially delicious while also nutritious on the trail. Especially when you may not have consumed very manny sweet-tooth-satisfying items in a few days. Clif crunch bars and the Clif Kid collection are also some of my go-to trail or on-the-go day options. Pre-wrapped and easy to stuff into any nook or cranny, near or far, Clif Bars are a no brainer for my adventures!
#2OATMEGA grass fed whey bars are my second favorite option. Oatmega not only has a really touching story behind its creation but amazing ingredients; Omega-3s, grass-fed whey, and non-GMO all in one amazing nutritious bar. My favorite flavor, brownie crisp, boasts 14g of protein, 7g of fiber, 300mg of Omega-3s, and only 5g of sugar in less then 190 delicious calories. I even go as far as to dip my brownie protein bar in natural Peanut Butter if I’m really looking for a treat and a meal substitute all in one!
Happy Trails & Happy Snacking!