Try these convenient, healthy and fun trailside snacks for kids on your family’s next outdoor adventure. Whatever your activity, re-fueling is key!
Any parent knows that snacks are an ever-important tool in this adventure we call parenting. They act as fuel, as entertainment, as motivator, as incentive, as distraction. With all the energy that our kids expend on outdoor excursions, it’s even more important to regularly re-fuel them. Snacks are at the top of our packing list, but what snacks to pack?
As you consider packing for your next family adventure, you may be looking for snacks that are:
- easy to prep
- without refined grains
- not needing refrigeration
- without added sugar
- without excessive packaging
These days, easy & convenient often means processed/junk food, but that doesn’t need to be the case. Grab-and-go can still be simple and nutritious. Some of the following may fit your criteria (whole grains, fruits and veggies are ideal), others may not. But you’re bound to find a new favorite among them!*
FRUITS & VEGGIES
- dried fruit: cranberries, apricots, raisins, dates, mangoes, apples, etc
- fruit leather
- freeze-dried fruit: strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, etc.
- apples, bananas, oranges (no cutting/packaging needed)
- carrot sticks, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes
- ants on a log (celery, peanut butter, raisins)
- toasted seaweed/nori (try the teriyaki kind – yum!)
- kale chips
- squeeze pouches
- dates + nut butter
- snap peas
- nuts: almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios, etc.
- pre-packaged energy/protein bars: RX bars, Z bars, Builder Bars, etc.
- homemade protein/energy bars or granola bars
- beef/turkey jerky
- cheese (slices, bites, sticks)
- crunchy cheese / oven baked cheese bites (Trader Joe’s are our favorites)
- power cookies
- protein/energy bites
- salami (salami, cheese, crackers)
- trail mix
- chocolate hummus (really! it’s a thing!)
- nut butter
- tuna/salmon (pouches) & crackers
- roasted chickpea snacks
- seeds (pumpkin, etc.)
- granola bars (see our favorite recipe here)
- pretzels (great with Nutella or hummus)
- graham crackers
- crepe or tortilla roll-ups (pb&j, nutella, etc)
- breakfast cookies
- dark chocolate
- small candies: Mentos, Tic Tacs, Hi Chew, etc.
- chocolate candies
- chocolate covered nuts/fruit (dark chocolate covered almonds are my weakness)
For me, the ultimate trail-side snack is always…well… trail mix! The name says it all! I used to call it GORP — Good Ol’ Raisins & Peanuts — but my tastes have matured over the years and my mix has become a bit more “sophisticated”. (Almonds, cashews and bittersweet chocolate for the win!) The beauty of trail mix is in its adaptability, customization, and endless combinations. And so kid-friendly!
Having a trail mix buffet is a great way to get your children involved in preparing their own snack, giving them a sense of investment and empowerment. (And aren’t they more likely to eat something they’ve chosen themselves?) Set out a collection of ingredients, give them a bag/container, set a few guidelines (quantities, number of ingredients) and let them customize away.
Whatever nutrition you choose for your next outdoor adventure, take a moment and enjoy your snack break. As you refuel, seize the opportunity to stop and appreciate everything around you and the experience that you’re having. Snacks can bring energy, zen and gratitude at the same time!
Get outside, get energized, and enjoy all that the great outdoors has to offer!
*We’re not here to argue the nutritional properties of the items listed above. Concerned about fruit leather getting stuck in their teeth? No worries — cross that one off your list. Prefer no-added-sugar? No problem — choose raisins instead of chocolate chips. You know your family’s preferences and cravings best, so keep those in mind and get creative!