Adventure Planning and Packing: Healthy Snacks Edition

Canoeing at Bon Echo 

Canoeing at Bon Echo 

Summer was meant for adventure. My need to get outside, into nature, and away from the humidity of the city is strong today,  as temperatures reach a high of 35 degrees Celsius! And so, as I sip my coffee this morning, I find myself daydreaming about the cottage, and various camping adventures. When planning any sort of outdoor adventure, we often think first (or at least I do) about the clothes and equipment we need to pack, and the food to sustain the adventure is often farther down on the packing list. However, it is still important to think about nutrition and food safety while out in the woods! You want to be able to make the most out of your trip and good food will ensure you have the energy to do so! Read on for some of my favourite snacks for summer (or anytime) adventures. 

To be honest, the idea for this post came up months ago, when one of my besties was travelling around New Zealand writing a book, living in a van and otherwise having the most amazing time of her life! She messaged me about healthy snacks that she could make while on the road. I sent her a few idea, and now, I am finally going to share them with you as well! She writes an amazing blog about, well, everything: the ups and downs of life, with heart touching honesty. The girl has a way with words, so check out her blog: Specifically, Everything! Here's a picture of Leah and her van in New Zealand. 

Just the van, no cocaine! 

Just the van, no cocaine! 

I think the hardest thing about eating healthy when you are on a camping adventure or a next-level road trip in a cocaine van, is limited refrigeration and ability to store foods. This is why we usually gravitate to snacks that are easy: a bag of chips, prepackaged granola bars, candies, etc. The problem with these types of foods is that while they provide you with calories, they provide minimal nutrition and very little protein (to keep you full and give you energy) and fibre (to...keep everything moving). Don't get me wrong, prepackaged snacks are delicious, but they are often high in fat and added sugars and salt so instead of giving you energy, they end up leaving you sluggish. 

So...here are two snacks that I absolutely LOVE! Both are high in protein and fibre, but low in added fat and sugar and salt. Most of all, they are super easy to make and store.

1) Trail Mix. This may be an obvious one as the idea has been around for literally forever, and you can easily pick up a pre-mixed version at every grocery or bulk foods store. The problem is that it can be really hard to find a trail mix that doesn't have a ton of sugar or salt; the seeds and nuts are usually roasted and salted. Read the nutrition labels carefully and you might be able to find one (look for 10g or less of sugar, and 5% sodium per serving) or try my recipe: 

  1. Combine in a bowl, zip lock bag (or whatever you have available) equal amounts of: raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame covered almonds and your favourite dried, unsweetened fruit. I like dried cherries personally, but raisins, apricots or sliced dates or figs would also work! Store in an airtight container.

2) Homemade Granola Bars. This recipe is so easy that a three-year-old could make it. Literally, as I have made it with preschoolers during the groups sessions I run as part of my private dietetic practice! This recipe has been adapted from an Oh She Glows recipe to be nut-free. Great if you've got a friend with nut allergies, or you want to send this in your child's school lunch. These granola bars have no added sugar, added fat or salt, but are still just as delicious as their store-bought (and less healthy) counterparts. While they do require a short stint in the oven, if you plan ahead, or make a hostel pit stop, you can whip these up in no time! 

Nut-Free Lunch Box Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 medium/large bananas)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup dried, unsweetened cherries, chopped 
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a large rectangular baking dish (approx. 8.5"x 12.5") and line with a piece of parchment paper so the bars are easier to lift out.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the banana until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
  3. Place the rolled oats into a food processor (or blender on the lowest speed) and pulse until the oats are coarsely chopped (but still with lots of texture). Stir oats into banana mixture.
  4. Chop the cherries and stir these and the rest of the ingredients into the banana-oat mixture until thoroughly combined.
  5. Spoon mixture into prepared dish. Press down until compacted and smooth out with hands until even. 
  6. Bake for 23-27 minutes until firm and lightly golden along the edge. Place dish on a cooling rack for 10 minutes then carefully slide a knife to loosen the ends and lift out.
  7. Slice into bars once cool. Enjoy! 

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Whatever your adventures are this upcoming weekend and for the rest of the summer, I hope these recipes give you some ideas for healthy snacks on-the-run! 

Let us know what you are snacking on and tag us @domesticphd on insta, facebook or twitter. We love hearing from you! 

xo Kath