Fall is such a lovely time of the year, even if most of the colorful leaves have dropped in October. This might be a good time to engage in some longer hikes or walks in your area with the family.

Fuel up fall hikes with good eats

Image Couple Hiking Mountain Image Couple Hiking Mountain Image Couple Hiking Mountain

Fall is such a lovely time of the year, even if most of the colorful leaves have dropped in October. There is a briskness to the air and it seems to energize the entire body, and yet life is winding down some as we get ready to be indoors more through the winter months. This might be a good time to engage in some longer hikes or walks in your area with the family. And if you are going to be out for over an hour, you will probably want to pack up some nutritious snacks to fuel your activity, but also items that will stay safe without an ice pack. You sure don’t want to hike over hill and dale with extra weight in your hiking pack.

Here are some packable snack ideas for long hikes:

Whole-grains are a must for a good carbohydrate (energy) source:

  • Whole-grain crackers like Triscuits or pita chips
  • Whole-wheat pretzels
  • Homemade muffins made with diced apples or grated zucchini
  • Dry cereals such as bran chex and Cheerios

Protein for fueling muscles and muscle repair:

  • Nuts: pistachios, peanuts, almonds
  • Pumpkin and sunflower seeds
  • Nut butters such as sunflower, peanut and almond butters

Fruits and veggies for a natural source of potassium and other minerals and vitamins:

  • Dried or dehydrated fruit: raisins, apricots, prunes, apples
  • Grapes or apple slices
  • Grape tomatoes, cucumber wedges and carrot sticks

My husband and I were fortunate, with good planning and a self-container camper, to travel safely for about 3 months, and our focus was on outdoor activities only: long walks and hikes. The first thing we packed up for every outing was sufficient water. Since we also packed up good snack foods with lots of nutrients, we did not need to pack up any specialty bottled waters with electrolytes.

Other extended walking or hiking ideas can include a homemade trail mix. This can be varied every time you make it, switching up the cold cereal, dried or dehydrated fruits and nuts or seeds. I also packed up PB&J sandwiches on whole-grain bread or tortillas for longer hikes.

Recipes to try:

__

About the Author

Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.