By Camille May Finley
More than just treats, the food you bring along on a camping trip is the fuel that will be available to your body. This is why experienced hiker Shelby Kisgen emphasizes the importance of mindfulness when packing snacks, especially if you’re responsible for feeding other people, like your family. That means choosing to nibble on healthy sources of energy along the trail and on the camping grounds without sacrificing the flavor. After all the walking, you and your family deserve to eat only the best.
Here are some suggestions for delicious and nutritious snacks to pack for your next family outdoor trip:
Granola Bars or Energy Balls
Trail food should be easily accessible and convenient to eat during the walk. It should also be rich in carbohydrates and protein, as these are easily absorbed into the bloodstream and turned into energy. That’s what makes granola bars or energy balls superior trail food, as these tick all of the right boxes. However, it’s probably best to experiment with homemade granola, as CNN reports that store-bought bars can have the same sugar content as candy bars. This means that though they may be tasty, they are far from being nutritious. When making your own, look to include ingredients like nut butters, toasted oats, chia seeds, and natural sweeteners like honey to increase your snack’s nutritional value.
Fruits like bananas and apples are convenient options to bring with you on your camping trip, but you can also opt for fruit roll-ups. These are essentially jerky made with fruit, packing a lot of flavor and carbohydrates. It’s also a great way to make use of excess produce you may have lying around. Try making a puree out of different berries and bake them in the oven — you’ll have a snack rich in antioxidants and immune-boosting vitamins for your next trip.
Roasted nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are popular trail mix snacks, and for good reason. They contain healthy amounts of fat that the body uses for long-lasting energy. They are also rich in essential minerals. For instance, pecans and cashews contain copper, which promotes bone health. Pumpkin seeds, on the other hand, aid in some much-needed muscle relief after a long day of moving.
Liquid refreshments are, of course, important in quenching your thirst while outdoors. Celery juice is particularly interesting for its many health benefits for active individuals. In fact, Parsley Health points out that it is very effective for preventing dehydration as it is filled with electrolytes. And compared to bottled energy drinks, celery juice is not drowning in sugar and other chemicals. The body loses a lot of fluids during hiking and camping activities, and so replenishing with natural electrolytes, like celery juice, can be crucial for staying safe and healthy outdoors.
Concocting mocktails at your camp can be a fun way to bond and enjoy the scenery. And as the name suggests, mocktails are delicious refreshments that don’t contain any alcohol, making them kid-friendly. For instance, a recipe for a drink called “The Benjamin,” as shared by Town & Country, is a mixture of 1 oz cucumber juice, 1 oz lime juice, and 2 oz apple juice — all of which are fresh and healthy.
Making s’mores is an age-old tradition in camping, but they’re not necessarily the healthiest of snacks. Fortunately, you can find more nutritious versions of each of the elements of this comforting dessert. For instance, Whole Foods carries a line of vegan marshmallows; thin crackers made with almond flour can substitute for honey graham crackers; and the range of chocolates made with all natural, organic, and fair trade ingredients is vast.
Last but not least, a simple but delicious idea for a camping snack is to dip cherries in some melted dark chocolate. You can even make fondue over the campfire — something that everyone in the family can surely enjoy. As for the cherries, they’re not only packed with nutrients and antioxidants, but they’re also rich in melatonin. This compound regulates one’s sleep-wake cycle, helping the whole family sleep soundly under the stars.