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The Best Hiking Snacks

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 21 Mar 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Hiking Walking Snack Energy Bar Pemmican

When you go out hiking it’s important not only to make sure that you have ample water with you, but also that you carry some food. Snacks can stop your blood sugar level falling and prevent you suffering from painful cramps when you’re out on the trail.

The question is, what are the best snacks to take with you when you go out walking? What’s the most nourishing, what will give you the most energy and the greatest lift? What will pack away easily and can’t be damaged?

Fruit

Fruit always makes a good snack. After all, it’s part of your five-a-day, so it’s good for you – fruit and vegetables are the snacks we want our children to have. Since fruits such as bananas and apples are naturally sweet, they boost the sugar levels but don’t prove too filling, breaking down easily and naturally in the digestive system.

Fruit packs easily. About the only danger to avoid is with bananas, which can easily be squashed, especially if they’re very ripe. By taking an apple, a banana, or some oranges, you’re feeding yourself well, eating natural foods, and enjoying something tasty (plus, your kids would approve).

Energy Bars

There are so many types of energy bar on the market it can be difficult to keep track of them. Many can be found in natural and health food shops, although these will often be the more solid, organic bars that resemble pemmican.

There are also plenty of varieties of commercial energy bars, readily available in supermarkets and containing fruit (some even contain chocolate). These are fairly cheap, and some are FairTrade. However, if a pick-me-up is what you want, buying the top quality bars will be the best bargain. These will release the energy gradually, much like eating porridge, rather than in a quick burst that can end up leaving you more drained than before. The cost is higher and they might not be as tasty because they’re not so sweet, but as good hiking food they’re excellent. Don’t eat the whole bar at once, but spread it over a few miles, nibbling small pieces at a time.

Trail Mix

Trail mix is a bit of a catch-all term for a snack to eat when out hiking. The idea is that the different ingredients contain both protein and carbohydrates to keep you going, and salt to replace the amount you lose when walking.

You can buy trail mix, or just as easily – and far more cheaply – make your own. The thing to remember is not to make too much at a time, and also don’t eat too much, as each ounce contains 140 calories.

For a very basic trail mix you should put together equal portions or raisins and salted peanuts, along with some dried fruit (try mango or pineapple), some chocolate chips and some breakfast cereal. This will offer a variety of taste, and enough of the different elements to keep you going on your hike. As with the energy bar, don’t eat it all at once, but keep dipping into it as you move. That way the benefits will last and you’ll enjoy it more and it won’t slow you down.

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Fruit contains sugar too, although it doesn’t release into your system quite as quickly. If you’re packing a lunch, a sandwich with protein (meat if you’re not a vegetarian) would be ideal, as well as fruit and something sweet to finish – biscuits are always good or Kendal mint cake. Trail mix isn’t to everyone’s tastes, so biscuits do form a good alternative.
Roger - 26-Sep-12 @ 12:28 PM
Don't underestimate chocolate as a snack to give you energy when your sugar levels fall. When that time hits, it comes on fast, so you need something that will act quickly and give you energy - and chocolate will do that. It's no a snack per se, but a boost to keep you going for a little while until the energy from other foods kick in. Always carry a bar in your backpack and eat a square or two as you need.
John W. - 11-Jun-12 @ 10:03 AM
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