5 Trail Approved Snacks To Raise The (Granola) Bar

You never know when hiking hunger might strike and if you are anything like myself, direction impairment and the longing for new paths may find you stranded in the woods for hours. Though foraging is a breeze in the season of black caps, whose bushes line our local trails, with these berries gone for another year, scavenging in the wilderness may not be as easy and so we never hit the paths without a few stashed snacks!
Mounstburg
Yesterday my mother and brother and I packed up a lunch and hit the road for a day trip to Mountsberg conservation area. Home to wilderness walks, raptor shows and my favourite birds; Bald Eagles!! Approximately 80% of the birds found in the sanctuary are rescued from across Ontario and well looked after in captivity as they can no longer survive in the wild. It was just our luck that as I had to sneak another peek at these majestic creatures before we flew the grounds, it was their feeding time and we watched as they ran and flew around their spacious cages and feasted on the fresh meat.
bald eagle
We, ourselves, feasted on a picnic of egg salad sandwiches. I made mine using avocado instead of mayo and wrapped it with fresh spinach in a gluten-free rice wrap. For dessert we had my Raw  Cranberry Chocolate Macaroons: https://lifeofeden.com/2014/07/11/raw-cranberry-chocolate-macaroons/
dessert
And then came the snacks!
  • The criteria; quick, light, easy and energizing.
  • The common contender; grab and go granola bars. But is this the healthiest option?
The next time you go to grab a box of these from your local market, give the nutrition a once over. What has long been promoted as a healthy food option sporting refined oats and roasted (oxidized) nuts and seeds may have a little more unwrapping to do behind its shiny, enticing packaging. Conventional granola bars are hidden sources of sneaky sugars, preservatives and other less than ideal ingredients that counteract much of the beneficial health properties a walk in nature provides.
Instead? Take a cue from nature’s finest and come back to 5 real, whole foods that meet all of our hiking needs; quick, light, easy and energizing!
1) Trail mix / Nuts / Seeds
  • Pack raw, unsalted nuts and seeds which provide high nutrient density, protein, complex carbohydrates and energizing fats to keep you satiated and boost your stamina. Yesterday I packed a few raw brazil nuts, a more expensive option but one of my favourites with the selenium being praised for giving you a subtle skin glow and improving its elasticity. Though high in calories, you will only need a few to reap the selenium benefits and satisfy you for the remainder of your hike.
  •  Always combine your own trail mix to control what goes into it. To do so, simply mix nuts and seeds together with dried, crunchy coconut chunks and perhaps a few pieces of dark chocolate or gogi berries for a sweeter treat.
Brail nuts 
2) Veggies
  • Carrot sticks, sweet red peppers, snap peas etc. Eat plain or pack a mini container with humus or pure nutbutters for a more satiating snack.
  • NOTE: Support organic as much as possible here. One of the major factors responsible for the decline in Bald Eagle populations was the use of pesticides such as DDT. Since the use of these pesticides has been banned and/or restricted, the populations are recovering but they are still a concern for these birds and supporting organic growers helps to ensure these chemicals aren’t used to grow your fruits and vegetables and that equates to happy birds 🙂
3) Fruit
  • Locally grown grapes were my personal favourite yesterday! Fruit is both hydrating on long hikes and hot summer days (though yesterday was anything but hot). Bananas, apples, pears, etc. are all fantastic grab-and-go options.
grape snacks

4) Crunchy crackers & kale chips

  • Craving a crunchy snack? Look for gluten-free brown rice crackers or nut and seed crackers such as Mary’s brand.
    • Holistic Life Hacks: depending on where you go, one box of Mary’s crackers averages around $6-9, which is a bit of a pricy snack to munch on. However, packed with fibre and wholesome, less refined ingredients, these are my go to and can be much cheaper when bought from bulk food stores.
5) Granola
  • The typical graNOla packs around 15-20 grams of sugar in the average bag and is mixed with gluten and preservatives. Unlike granola bars that use sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, dates etc.) as partial binding agents, granola can go without it, the key is to find the right brand. Look for one that’s unsweetened or very lightly sweetened and made with all wholesome ingredients. You’ll be able to bypass much of the sugars this way and can add your own fixings of nuts, seeds or coconut chunks as you please. Better yet? Make your own!

granola lotus

Healthy snacks are wickedly simple, delicious and leave you energized rather than depleted for the hike ahead! Finding out that this conservation area offers private tours for those who want a closer encounter with the birds, may just have me taking another trip back if Bald Eagles are involved. 🙂 And may I point out that with their bird adoptions from Pip the Kestral or Echo, Jazz and Chomper the owls, the Bald Eagle I want to adopt has to be named: Pawgwashiing Migizi! So while I wrap my tongue around that mouthful, I’ll be packing up the last of my brazil nuts to head out for another rejuvenating hike tonight.

Happy snacking!

Suzanne Eden

 

4 thoughts on “5 Trail Approved Snacks To Raise The (Granola) Bar

  1. I need more patience when packing snacks. I am always looking for the more convenient types instead of what I will want to eat while I am out there. Thanks for the inspiration.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s