The Not-So Starving Student—Top Six Snacks for a Productive Hike

As Canadian weather reaches the peak of its summer highs, many students are taking it to the mountains to relish in the breathtaking views of national parks such as Banff or Jasper.  For Albertans like myself, summer road trips to the mountains are a must do in the upcoming months.  But for hikers, eating can be a headache in the mountains, especially since there’s very little you can bring if you wish to stay light while climbing.  In my last trip to Canmore, I took the time to plan my meals ahead and bring snacks that would optimize my hike without slowing me down or packing more weight and space in my knapsack.  Here are the things that made my hiking experience a tasty one.

Meat jerky

Any kind of hiker knows that you need long lasting energy that include proteins.  However, the headache of packing a full salmon meal or pre-cooked chicken is simply not worth it, and bringing freshly cooked meat could attract bears and larger predators to your hiking trail.  Any kind of meat jerky, including pepperoni sticks, make excellent power snacks.

Freeze dried fruits and veggies

While bringing fresh fruit may be a good idea, hikers who wish to avoid the extra bulky weight may want to bring assortments of dried fruits with them instead.  Many supermarkets sell these in bulk and can be mixed and matched for variety.  My favorite on hikes are dried mangos and bananas; they are both light and curb the afternoon munchies.

Nut based bars

It might be obvious to pack some energy bars for the road, but something heavy in sugar and chocolate could put you in a sleepy, exhausted mood for the afternoon hikes.  It’s a good idea to find ingredients such as walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, and other forms of nuts or seeds that will provide a protein boost but also keep you alert for the afternoon.

Cheeses

When it comes to cheese, think about small packaged cheese rather than a large slab of mozzarella.  Similar to other items on the list, it is high in energy and loosely resembles the flavor of meat.  So even though you’re not biting into steak per se, it fools your body into thinking it is.  Try to pick hard cheeses, such as cheddar, that will be less easily spoiled.

Seaweed

I know this doesn’t fit into the traditional list of hiking foods such as nutrient bars and fruits, but it certainly holds its value as a light-weight, super food.  Roasted seaweed has a variety of vitamins and minerals.  Additionally, seasoned seaweed snacks have a burst of flavor that adds some excitement to your lunch and snacks.

Whole wheat tortillas

Tortillas are versatile carbs that can make great wraps with other items on this list such as cheeses, dried fruits, meat jerky, and even the seaweed! Whole wheat is an excellent choice for the fibres that prevent you from feeling the afternoon slumps and takes more energy for your body to digest.

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