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

 

On The Glow // 7 Plant Driven Snacks To Fuel Your Engines

Snacks can be a tricky one.

They need to be fast food without being “fast food” and they need to satiate while boosting our energy levels. On long work days or yesterday’s road trip to an Auto show in Vaughan, snacking is a must for me when I don’t have time for a meal and I am always on the hunt for more ideas!

These are some of my top 7 plant driven favourites to fuel your engines!

lambo

 Smart Snacking Rules to Glow By:

Eat when hungry

  • A snack is meant for times when you have long gaps between meals, not as a means to satisfy boredom or ease emotions. Pay attention to your hunger cues and snack as needed to stabilize blood sugar and keep energy levels stable.

 Fill with a premium

  • Fuel yourself with only the best! Think quality, wholefoods over snack bars and packaged trail mixes etc. that are often high in sugar. Luckily it is just as easy to grab a juicy apple off of the counter as it is to grab a pre-packaged snack out of the cupboard.

Plan and prep

  • Plan ahead and have snacks handy. Take them with you on the road as it will be tricky to find them elsewhere. Utilize reusable containers (preferably glass for the environment) whenever possible and keep them with you wherever you go.

humua

 7 Premium Snacks To Rev Your Engine:

1. Veggies and hummus

  • The hummus provides both blood sugar stabilizing protein and healthy fats for satiation and energy! Making your own hummus is the best option but keeping some store-bought ones handy will keep you on track when in a pinch.
  • What to look for: dairy free, soy free and organic with as little preservatives as possible. General rule of thumb: the less ingredients on the label, the better and if you don’t recognize an ingredient as a food, your body likely won’t either.

2. Organic apples and bananas

  • Apples MUST be bought organic. They are part of the dirty dozen of the most highly contaminated fruits and vegetables. Bananas, though organic usually offers higher nutrition, do not have to be organic as they can be peeled.
  • Both provide fibre to fill you, while being a light and easily digestible snack and can be paired with cinnamon or almond butter.

 coco

3. Fresh coconut

  • For this weekends auto show in Toronto, this was my snack of choice along with bananas and carrot sticks. Fresh coconut offers a fantastic dose of healthy fats that satiated myself (my friend is not a big fan of coconut) and is utilized as energy in the body, especially when actively scouting out exotic cars for the day.

4. Quinoa

  • Quinoa is a complete protein, as it contains all essential amino acids and is an excellent source of fibre. Prepared ahead of time and kept in the fridge, this  is a great grab and go with a little lemon juice or extra virgin olive oil and Himalayan salt.

kale chips

5. Kale chips

  • Better and more cost-effective when homemade but alternatively available in many health food stores. There are many, many recipes out there for kale chips and they are simple to make, light, crunchy, and a little bit salty for a perfect snack.

6. Avocado

  • Simply cut it in half (a plastic knife will do the trick), twist the halves apart and enjoy with a spoon. The fats in avocados are incredibly nutritious and beautifying but will also help you to feel full longer without feeling over-stuffed.
  • Though fats are essential, if trying to lose weight I recommend sticking to the portion size of just half an avo a day. Otherwise, a full avocado as a snack on the go is a great option! I love pairing mine with garlic powder (when not at a public event of course!), Himalayan salt and red pepper flakes or salsa.

7. Smoothies

  • This is a super simple way to eat on the go. You can blend anything you would like into your smoothies which provide compact nutrition, hydration when using coconut water, and fibre. Smoothies are filling and can utilize some of those greens that you haven’t had a chance to sit down and eat, with a fuss free cleanup.

No matter where you go, stay fueled with holistic snacks to glow.

Fueling on premium,

Suzanne Eden

The Bermuda Triangle of Hamilton & the Rocky Road Trip Inspired Smoothie

If it wasn’t already, it became undeniably apparent this Thursday, that I didn’t inherit my mothers sense of directions. It is, that I’m slightly… Directionally challenged shall we say? Plop me in a forest and I can find my way back, but stick me behind a wheel or god forbid, put a map in my hand and who knows where well end up. One things for sure, it’s bound to be an adventure. If you’re looking for a rekindling of your faith in humanity (as everywhere, of the many places I stopped for directions, people went graciously out of their way to help me) or looking for a scenic tour of the province, hop on in as my passenger and give me the directions!

Thursdays 1.5 hour drive found me backtracking & lost amid the labyrinth of the one way streets of Hamilton concluding with a 3.5 hour journey to my destination. Hamilton now being the brunt of all jokes and the Bermuda Triangle of my adventures.

I did, however scenic, arrive at my destination and settle in with my aunt to talk business over a smoothie fix from Fiddleheads. Perhaps the best smoothies I have ever had as I have admittingly day dreamed about them since the very day I took my first sip. I was almost as excited for the smoothies as I was for the summit I was about to attend. My heart is truly edible.

Fiddleheads

I had to recreate my own version of this delicious smoothie for you, of course, so keep reading!

But first, before satisfying the taste buds, lets satisfy the soul with a few sips of my top lessons learned from the summit:

Top empowering messages from women to women (or women to man, this applies to you too!):

  • The three P’s
    • Passion: follow your passion, know what you love, surround yourself with it, keep clear visions and you will never lose your way (so long as I’m not driving you there)
    • Perseverance: keep moving forward (eventually you will find your way out of Hamilton)
    • Persistence: create your own doors when you find a wall, be flexible in life and take it in stride, persist to connect and share your passion. Our speaker spoke at We Day by persisting after being turned down numerous times. Turns out no-one had actually read her story. She was told that she didn’t have a chance, the speakers had been chosen, but she could meet with them for a half hour and in that time she had sold her story and the space was opened for her to share her passion in front of a stadium of enthusiastic listeners.
  • We are not the leaders of tomorrow, we are leaders of today! Life is too short to work in a profession you don’t like.
    • Amen! Keep your vision and work for it, love it, live for it. Create your life, your work, from the heart.
  • If it is to be, it is up to me.
    • You take control of your own success/ failure and embrace self improvement. Learn how to fall and get up quick with a smile on your face and always keep your vision. Trust in the magic, greatness is squared.
  • Inspire someone everyday.
    • In how you live, in the way you utterly support another’s dreams, inspiration multiples.

Inspire

~ A bite for the Road ~

Quick and easy road trip approved snacks:

  • My aunt supplied me with raw almonds and walnuts at her office to suffice until the smoothies as my stomach sounded as though I has been traveling 3 and a half days instead of hours
  • At the venue, the food ended up being platters of cookies the size of my hand and fudge squares, so I kept to the water until we happened upon the herbal tea! Blackberry raspberry tea to be exact.
  • And for the long trek home through the dark as my directions slipped down the side of the seat (you thought I was lost with directions…) and it took another 2 hours, I packed a fresh, juicy apple to enjoy.

With uplifting imagine Dragons through the stereo, I finally found my way home by 1am and collapsed into a warm and cozy bed, no directions needed.

So perhaps the greatest lesson I took from this road trip:

May we all be with the intention to get a little lost, lose our path a little ways, learn to enjoy the rocky road and reach out to others until we find our path once again. All roads will eventually lead you to where you need to be but our greatest lessons may come from veering off the map. My lesson this time: investing in a map, having emergency supplies of rationed food, and Imagine Dragons is always a good idea.

Without further ado, here is my take on the smoothie I indulged in from fiddlesticks.

The Rocky Road Shake

A rich,  decadent chocolate smoothie cut with the sweetness of fresh, juicy strawberries and a slightly rocky edge of raw cacao nibs.

Rocky road

Ingredients

  • 1 Frozen banana
  • 3/4 C fresh, organic strawberries
  • 1/4 C Unsweetened coconut/almond milk
  • 1/2 C Spinach
  • 1/2 tsp Chlorella
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract (alcohol free)
  • 1/4 Cinnamon
  • 2 TBSP Carob powder
  • 1 TBSP Raw cacao powder
  • 1 TBSP raw cacao nibs

Directions

  • Blend all ingredients apart from raw cacao nibs. Add milk to desired consistency.
  • Add the raw cacao nibs and blend a few seconds to grind them up until they are small chunks.

shake

With a delicious smoothie in hand, I am off to get lost in the forest for an afternoon of fresh air, sunshine and hopefully some deer sightings along the way.

To the rocky roads through our own Hamilton’s,

Suzanne Eden