Though hiking all day up mountains and through brush is a hardcore calorie-shredding adventure, many summer hikes are far less strenuous and don’t require calorie-dense sustenance to fuel your trek. If you eat trail mix by the giant handful or stop for a nutrition bar break frequently along the way, there is a great chance you’ll consume most of your day’s calories before you even get back down the hill. The following healthy, lower-calorie nibbles are your best bet to take on the trail.
Healthy hiking recipes
Wild Berry and Nut Butter Sandwich
The delicious beauty of hiking is finding bushes burgeoning with wild raspberries, huckleberries, blackberries and other juicy little gems. Layer them in a sandwich with your favorite nut butter and you’ve got the best rendition of PB&J ever made!
- 4 slices whole wheat bread
- 2 individual-sized packets of almond butter (or other nut butter)
- 2 handfuls of wild berries
- Spread 2 slices of bread with almond butter.
- Arrange wild berries on almond butter and smash with a fork or your fingers. Top with remaining slices of bread and enjoy.
Wild Dandelion Greens and Egg Salad Wrap
Wild dandelion greens are readily available along most trails, offering a low-calorie, nutrient-rich nibble. Hard-cooked eggs pack easy and are an excellent source of quality protein. Pick up a few extra mayonnaise and mustard packets at your local deli and keep them in your fridge.
- 2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled, chopped
- 2 bunches of dandelion greens, chopped
- 1 mayonnaise packet
- 1 mustard packet
- Salt and pepper, if available
- 2 small whole grain tortillas
- In a zip-close plastic bag, combine eggs, greens, mayonnaise and mustard. Season with salt and pepper, if using
- Divide mixture between tortillas and wrap up burrito style to serve
Lower-calorie Trail Mix
Makes 3 cups
Trail mix is a perfect snack. It’s a tasty balance of carbs, protein and fat, and it’s easy to transport and tasty to eat. To lighten your trail mix calorie load, make your own lower-calorie combination of whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds.
- 1 cup puffed brown rice
- 1/2 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup raw almonds, pistachios or other nut of your choice
- 3/4 cup dried blueberries, currants, acai berries or other fruit of your choice
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (omit if hiking on a hot day; they melt)
Combine all ingredients in a zip-close plastic bag.
Fruits and vegetables
The ultimate low-calorie hiking fare is fresh fruits and vegetables. Nutrient-packed and filling, they are a refreshing change from processed ingredients condensed into an often-unpalatable nutrition bar. Fresh produce offers variety of tastes and textures that can keep you healthfully fueled no matter the distance of your trek. Pack a small container of low-fat dressing or yogurt for delicious dipping.
Vegetables: Baby carrots, celery sticks, slices of jicama, radishes, cucumber slices and lightly steamed broccoli or cauliflower will satisfy your craving for a crunch.
Fruits: Grapes, cherries, bananas, apples, clementines, apricots, plums and other stone fruit offer a burst of natural sweetness that beats candy bar sugar any day. If you’re lucky, you can also nosh on wild berries along the way.