Warm temperatures have finally arrived, the sun is rising earlier, and summer vacation is right around the corner. With the approach of long, hot days comes the planning of outdoor activities, as well as a whole new menu of possibilities for plant-based eaters. Yet, one of the most frustrating aspects, especially for all-day hikers, is packing plant-based snacks that not only keep well in a backpack but are also healthy and tasty.
Fear, not avid hikers! There are a host of plant-based diet snacks that can help boost your energy levels and last an entire day in your backpack. Check out some of our tips and recipes from the Food Monster App.
Energy-Filled, Hike-Friendly Plant-Based Ingredients:
Knowing the foods that keep you energized is simply the first part of the process. Figuring out how to make trail-friendly snacks comes next. While it’s easy to keep it simple — a handful of trail mix in a baggie and banana — this can also become boring fast. Below are a host of familiar ingredients incorporated into creative snack recipes and ideas for your summer of outdoor adventure!
No-Bake Trail Mix Popcorn Clusters/One Green Planet
Raw, roasted, baked, or even barbequed nuts provide a nutrient and healthy-fat filled treat on the trail! They are easily transported in a baggie or Tupperware, hard to crush, and don’t need refrigeration.
Nuts are an integral part of a plant-based diet due to their high nutritional value. In general, nuts are a great source of protein, healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, dietary fiber, vitamins B and E, and a host of minerals including calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. On top of that, nuts also provide antioxidant minerals and compounds like selenium, manganese, copper, flavonoids, and resveratrol.
It can be as easy as tossing a handful of your favorite nuts into your bag or delving into more elaborate trail-mix creations that include sweet treats such as dried coconut flakes or dark chocolate chips! Try a few of these creative nut mixes for your next outdoor excursion: No-Bake Trail Mix Popcorn Clusters or this Superfood-Packed Trail Mix.
Raspberry and Chia Jam Oat Bars/One Green Planet
There’s truly nothing a handful of seeds can’t do! They are incredibly nutritious — most varieties provide a host of minerals and vitamins, healthy fats, dietary fiber, protein, and potassium — and are a diverse ingredient in the kitchen. From making homemade dairy-free yogurt with chia seeds to pumpkin seed desserts, seeds are a must have in any pantry.
They are also a great addition to your hiking menu! Include a handful of your favorite seeds in your granola, trail mix, or nut assemble or just keep it simple by filling a baggie with toasted, roasted, or salted seeds. You can also get truly creative and whip up some seed-based hike-friendly snacks such as these sunflower seed Chocolate Granola Cups, pumpkin seed Oat and Seed Bread, or these Raspberry and Chia Jam Oat Bars.
Almond Butter Energy Bars/One Green Planet
Raw nuts and seeds offer a tasty treat. But sometimes, in the middle of a grueling trudge up a difficult trail, you crave something a little more luxurious. This is where packing in a bit of nut or seed butter while truly pay off!
One of the most valuable health benefits of these kinds of butter is the high levels of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These healthy fats have been shown to decrease bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and lower the risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. They also have high amounts of fiber and protein.
When it comes to prepping snacks, nut and seed kinds of butter can be paired with easy to transport veggies such as celery stalks, baby carrots, sliced bell pepper, or even broccoli and cauliflower florets. With that said, nut butter is a great ingredient in energy bars such as Almond Butter Energy Bars, Healthy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Protein Bars, or these Sunflower Seed Butter Oatmeal Cookies.
Moroccan-Style Hummus/One Green Planet
Along the same lines as nut and seed kinds of butter, hummus is a great addition to raw veggie snacks. It does great in hot conditions and is incredibly easy to make. Hummus is also incredibly nutritious due to the base-line ingredient of either beans or nuts, which are fiber and protein powerhouses. This snack is incredibly easy to make at home and there is a broad range of varieties to choose from.
Try a few of these homemade hummus concoctions before heading out on your next hike: Creamy White Bean Hummus With Kumquat, Moroccan-Style Hummus, Cilantro Jalapeño Hummus, or this Butternut Squash Hummus.
Acai Blueberry Bars With Chocolate/One Green Planet
On a hot day, juicy fruit snacks can be the best compliment to outdoor activities. Yet, not all fruit is created equal when it comes to easy of packaging. When it comes to fruit and hiking, for those looking to avoid bulky Tupperware, you’ll want to stick to naturally wrapped items such as bananas, apples, or citrus fruits including grapefruit and oranges.
While fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals, it lacks in the energy deliverance department of protein and healthy fats. Therefore, it’s important to balance out your fruit snack with one of the other fattier items on this list such as nuts, seeds, or granola. Instead of packing in a number of different snacks, try combining your favorite fruits with other higher-energy ingredients such as these Apple Walnut Bars, Acai Blueberry Bars With Chocolate, or these Quinoa Cherry Bars. Dried fruit is also a great alternative and can be added to your nut, seed, or granola mixes.
Colorful Veggie Rolls/One Green Planet
This is a great take on raw veggie snacks. Tossing a handful of baby carrots and celery sticks into your backpack is easy. But it lacks the energetic punch of many other non-traditional vegetables. By creating veggie rolls for your hike, difficult to pack veggies become easily transportable!
Take, for example, these Colorful Veggie Wraps. This recipe incorporates high-fiber broccoli, protein-packed tofu, sweet flavored carrots and beetroot, and healthy fat-filled avocado and sesame seeds. Plus, the veggie wrap idea can be completely personalized to incorporate your favorite veggies, nut butter, seeds, and more!
Kelp or seaweed is one of the most underrated plant-based food available. It is highly nutritious offering protein, potassium, healthy fats such as Omega-3 and Omega-6, magnesium, iron, and a host of vitamins including A, C, E, K, and B12. Dried seaweed has become an incredibly popular snack for those on a plant-based diet. Especially due to its great nutritional value and the tasty recipes you can make with it.
Cooking with seaweed may take a bit of experimental learning, yet offers great payoff. When it comes to hiking, dried seaweed is a wonderful snack that comes in handy to replenish sodium levels. Pre-made dried seaweed is cheap and offered in bulk, is lightweight, and can be added to trail mixes for an added salty zing!
Smoky BBQ Kale Chips/One Green Planet
If dried seaweed is simply not your cup of tea, try making chips out of your favorite fruits or vegetables. With that said, some plant-based ingredients work better than others at making “chips”.
Kale, a supreme superfood packing a punch of almost all essential nutrients, is one of the best options. Due to its rough and tough texture, when mixed with appropriate oils, kale crisps up and offers a satisfactory crunch. Plus, you can add any ingredient you want such as these simple basic Baked Kale Chips or more elaborate Smoky BBQ Kale Chips.
Sweet Potatoes are yet another staple of plant-based diets and for good reason. These sweet veggies offer a great source of dietary fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, they offer a sweet treat to your hike menu and are easily packaged in either chip or fry form. Try a few of these creative sweet potato recipes: Sriracha Sweet Potato Chips, Indian Spiced Sweet Potato Fries With Parsley Cashew Dip, or this Chili Lime Baked Sweet Potato Wedges.
Last, but not least, are apple chips. Apples are known for their high fiber and water content, yet they also offer high levels of potassium and Omega fatty acids. While biting into a raw apple definitely has its appeal, apple chips offer a different experience. Baking zaps most of the moisture while securing the sweet flavor. Plus, they make a great non-sugar filled dessert treat at the end of your hikes such as these Baked Cinnamon Apple Chips or these Cinnamon Vanilla Apple Chips.
Turmeric Granola With Goldenberry/One Green Planet
Granola is the quintessential outdoor activity snack. Depending on your personal choice ingredients, granola can be packed full of essential vitamins and minerals. Generally, the base-ingredient is a healthy helping of oats. This fiber-rich food is a great filler that keeps you feeling satisfied longer. With that said, many store-bought granola mixes also include a huge amount of sugar and fat, boosting the calories up to an average of 600 for one cup.
Therefore, homemade granola is definitely a better option. Try a few of these unique and healthy granola recipes for your next outing: Lemon Coconut Granola With Cashews, Turmeric Granola With Goldenberry, Slow Cooker Coco’Nutz Granola, or this Matzo Granola With Fruit and Nuts.
Goji Berry and Hazelnut Cacao Truffles/One Green Planet
Packaged power bars are easy to grab, yet oftentimes hide large amounts of sugar and unhealthy fats. While they may give you a momentary boost, due to the sugar volume, that energy will quickly dwindle. Then, it’ll leave you feeling drained and sluggish. By making your own power bar snacks you can make sure to reduce sugars while increasing healthy fats and proteins.
Plus, you can experiment with some your favorite plant-based ingredients or even try something new altogether! Try a few of these energy-filled, plant-based bar and ball recipes: Peanut Butter Snack Balls, Green Buzz Balls, Fit and Fab Granola Bites, Super Power Bars, or these delectable Goji Berry and Hazelnut Cacao Truffles.
For a host of high-protein, healthy fat-filled, plant-based snacks, we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
Lead image source: Shutterstock