Written by Sue Mah, Registered Dietitian
Now that you’ve mapped out your next active adventure, it’s time to think about your fuel! As a dietitian, I recommend three things to consider when preparing a nourishing snack:
- Nutrition – Pair produce with protein. Fruit and veggies offer carbohydrates for energy as well as hydration. Protein gives you long-lasting energy and helps you stay alert.
- Portability – Will the snack get squished in your backpack? Look for lightweight snacks that will hold their shape, are easy to carry and easy to eat.
- Packaging – You know that saying, “take only pictures, leave only footprints.” Consider the packaging or waste from your snacks and bring it all back home to recycle or throw away. Use fabric or silicone snack bags. I also like reusable bamboo containers because they’re lighter than glass.
Here are seven of my favourite snacks that are perfect for outdoor adventures:
1. Fruit and cheese
This is a classic example of combining produce with protein. Fruit is so portable, especially apples, pears, grapes and pre-peeled oranges. If you like to pre-slice your apples or pears ahead of time, simply dip them in lemon juice first. The vitamin C in the juice will prevent the fruit slices from browning.
2. Trail mix
Trail mix is so easy to eat anytime, anywhere. Each handful is different! For a DIY trail mix, just toss a bunch of your favourite ingredients into a container. It’s the perfect way to use up all those leftovers at the back of the pantry like nuts, raisins, chocolate, cereal, popcorn and pretzels.
3. Trail mix cookies
These delicious cookies taste like a trail mix with the added benefit of wholesome oats. In my recipe, I’ve used walnuts and pumpkin seeds for protein along with chocolate chips and dried cranberries for a little extra sweetness. Of course, feel free to use your own combo of nuts, seeds and dried fruit – just make sure to chop any large pieces so that they mix well into the cookie dough.
4. Granola bars
Compare different brands and aim for a granola bar that contains at least three grams of fibre, five grams of protein and five to 10 grams of total sugars. Keep in mind that the sugars may be from dried fruit added to the granola bar.
5. Canned tuna with crackers
Canned tuna is a fantastic protein that requires no refrigeration. Look for the mini sized cans with peel back lids – they come in a variety of flavours. Enjoy with some whole grain crackers and pre-cut veggies.
6. Roasted chickpeas
They’re protein-packed, plant-based and portable! You can find packaged roasted chickpeas in grocery stores or make your own. Rinse and drain a can of chickpeas, and gently pat them as dry as possible on a kitchen towel. Spread chickpeas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and toss with two to three tablespoons of olive oil plus a pinch of salt. Bake at 400°F for about 25-35 minutes or until golden brown, tossing the chickpeas every 10 minutes. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and toss in seasonings to taste — try garlic powder and chili powder, or even everything bagel seasoning.
7. Energy balls
Made with peanut butter, sunflower seeds, mini chocolate chips and shredded coconut, these two-bite energy balls are a protein powerhouse. This is an easy recipe that requires no baking. If you prefer a nut-free version, swap out the peanut butter for a seed butter. Pack along some fruit and you’re good to go!
Happy snacking and have fun on the trails!
Sue Mah is an award-winning dietitian and founder of Nutrition Solutions.
She appears regularly on national TV to share sensible nutrition advice that inspires Canadians to eat well. To stay active, Sue enjoys cycling, yoga, Pilates and walking her friendly Labradoodle. Follow Sue on Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok and YouTube.