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The best snacks to pack on your next hike

Getting out on the trail will be so much better with the right fuel! Nutritionist Kristin Kirkpatrick shares some healthy snack ideas.

DENVER — Hiking is a wonderful activity that can help strengthen both cardiovascular and mental health. While some hikes can be short, many individuals go for the long-haul day hikes that require the right gear and energy. Regardless of your route, the snacks that you pack to keep energy up matter. Here are some tips to fuel right on your next adventure.

Avoid sweets and refined carbohydrates

Though simple sugars and refined carbohydrates (like jellybeans or bagel chips) may give you a boost of energy, the feeling won’t last long. You’ll soon find yourself hungry, going on fumes, and looking for more food. That’s because these types of snacks lead to spikes in both insulin and blood sugar followed quickly by lows. A clear form of energy not sustainable for the serious hiker. If you want some sweet, a piece of fruit is the ideal choice.

Choose lean proteins

Lean proteins now only sustain your energy, they also may contribute to muscle building and maintenance. Cheese is a great option and can come in either bars, sticks or nonperishable freeze-dried packages. Jerky is another fabulous idea, with many choices coming from wild salmon, elk or bison or chicken. Protein bars can be easy to stash and take as well but check to make sure that the bar does not have excess added sugars or a long list of ingredients.

Focus on healthy fats

Fats take a long time for the body to digest, and therefore, can help in providing you sustainable energy during your hike! Nuts and seeds are perfect options, as are nut butter packages. Hard boiled eggs or even a small container of guacamole to go along some whole grain chips can work great as well.

Take it easy on fiber

You may be tempted to throw in some apricots, raisins, prunes, or dates into a homemade trail mix. That works wonderfully – as long as you don’t use a heavy hand. That’s because most dried fruits contain large amounts of fiber. While fiber is an essential component for weight control and gut heath, it also makes you have to go poop. Typically, this feeling is not always the best addition to a great hike.

Don’t forget about hydration

Perhaps the greatest determination of running out of steam is a state of dehydration. Avoid excess alcohol the night before a big hike and keep hydrated by brining plenty of water (and sipping it frequently while on the trail. This is especially important the higher the altitude is.

Getting out on the trail will be so much better with the right fuel! Enjoy the hike!

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