This month marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS). To celebrate, take a hike on your favorite trail, or go to the NPS website to find a park near you, and take one of these healthy snacks along to fuel your journey.
Before You Head Out
Once you select a trail, do some research — especially if you’re planning on a full-day hike. Call the campsite, or research online where you can access water near the trail. Longer hikes may require you to bring water purification tablets, in case you come across a stream or natural source of water, which may contain harmful bacteria or parasites.
For shorter hikes, a Swell bottle can help keep your beverage of choice cold.
Reminder About Food Safety
You’re limited to what you can tote when hiking. You don’t want to carry too much or it might weigh you down (so no large coolers!). You also need to find foods that can take the heat for the extended period of time without refrigeration. Here are several foods you may want to consider picking up before your next adventure.
This high-protein snack was created to be a portable option. My favorite brands include:
• Think Jerky: Grass-fed beef jerky
• Fusion Jerky
The latest trend is meat bars, touted to be high-protein bars made with real meat. Healthier brands include:
• Wilde Snacks: Slow-baked meat bars from Boulder, Colo.
• Wild Zora: A mix of meat and veggie bars
Snacks for hiking should contain maximum nutrition in every bite. You can opt to make your own trail mix, though skip the chocolate if it’s a hot day (or it will be messy!). You can also tote along a variety of trail mixes that provide a healthy dose of energy along with healthy fats, protein and carbs (from the fruit). Some healthier trail mixes to pick up:
• Dick Stevens Trail Mix (made with pieces of jerky)
• Trader Joe’s Simply the Best Trek Mix
Other Easy Snacks
• Energy bars, such as nut butter-filled Clif bars
• Granola bars similar to Kashi bars that aren’t too soft (those tend to get very mushy)
• Nuts and seeds
• Single-serve squeezable nut butter packs, such as those from Justin’s or Crazy Richards
Bottom line: Whether you’re headed on a short or long hike, advanced planning and snacks can help make your trip a healthier one!
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.