I haven’t made the time to get in the amount of hiking or camping I normally like to do this year. Last weekend was my first hike for the summer season and it couldn’t have been a better day at Mount Rainier National Park. Since the hike we chose was a big one (4,600 elevation gain, 8+ miles round trip), I knew I needed to bring enough food for several hours of exercise. Now, the old me used to bring a lot of convenient options. But, after doing the Whole30 earlier this year, I’ve actually eliminated those old go-to choices like Quest bars, Think thin bars, etc. So, I had to brainstorm what other whole food convenient choices I could bring.
Note: this will require a little bit of food prep, but it doesn’t take long and it makes plenty of servings to freeze for later or share with a friend/family member. I packed a small cooler that easily fit in my backpack for the hike.
1.) Salmon Cakes & Egg Muffins
It’s too easy to just buy a bunch of protein bars for hikes so you can keep your protein intake up for the day. But, I wanted to find a more whole food option. I use the “No fuss” salmon cake recipe from the Whole30 book. For a person who doesn’t love fish, this recipe is fantastic. They freeze well and are actually really good cold. It’s how I always eat them for leftovers. Egg muffins are actually good cold too. I usually throw together a recipe with whatever I have in my refrigerator. This time I used spinach, bell pepper and chicken sausage. Grease your muffin pan (I used ghee) and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Make sure they are cooked all the way through. Grilled chicken could also work for camping trips or hikes, since that can be good at a cold temperature.
2.) Roast Sweet Potatoes
If you don’t mind eating a sweet potato cold, this is a great source of energy for your hike! I packed half of a sweet potato with 2 egg muffins for a pre-hike meal and stayed energized for 3 hours.
3.) Nuts & dried fruit
Another easy thing to throw in a ziploc bag. Measure out a serving because it’s easy to overeat if you are just eating from the big bag it comes in. If buying dried fruit, read your ingredient list and make sure it doesn’t have added sugar. For a great dried fruit bar try That’s It.
4.) Bananas and Apples
Any piece of fruit works, but these are my favorite & they don’t require any chopping. I had a banana with two salmon cakes at the top of my hike for lunch and saved my apple in my car for when I returned from my hike.
5.) Chopped Veggies
Fruit will always be more convenient to pack because it doesn’t really require any pre-chopping. But, I feel vegetables are almost the most important thing to put in your body! Choose vegetables that won’t get soggy easy. I like bell peppers, carrot sticks or celery. Throw them in a ziploc bag and place in your small cooler.
6.) Rx bars or Epic Bars
When it came to replacing my normal protein bars, I needed to find something that didn’t have any junk in it and I actually could read every single ingredient on the nutrition fact label. Rx bars & epic bars have minimal ingredients, a good source of protein, and can be found at many grocery stores or health food stores. The Rx Apple cinnamon is my favorite! Lara bars are also a good source of energy for hiking with good ingredients for a bar, but it lacks protein.