Summer is finally here. Now that the warm weather and sunshine are back, it’s time for outings, holidays and getaways. In summer, we want to spend more time outside and may also want to take a vacation from our good habits. As a result, eating right can be something of a challenge.
To avoid seeing all your hard work go to waste, make sure you always have a healthy snack at hand when you're on the move. You’ll never be caught out, and it’ll be much easier to resist summer’s many temptations.
Here are some simple, delicious and nutritious on-the-go snack ideas to take with you this summer.
For mountain hiking
For activities that require significant physical exertion such as trekking or cycling, choose carbohydrate-rich snacks. The body breaks down carbohydrates into energy, so they’re a valuable resource during exercise. Make sure your snack also contains a source of protein and healthy fats. Both slow down the rate of carbohydrate absorption in the body and will ensure your energy reserves last longer.
Energy bars are your best allies for your sports outings. They offer the perfect combination of carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein. They’re very portable; just slip them into your backpack.
If you choose store-bought energy bars, be sure to read the list of ingredients. Pick bars that have a short list of ingredients that are as natural as possible. Opt for naturally sweet bars made with dried fruits (dates, apricots, figs, cranberries) rather than those that contain added sugar. And run the other way if you see the words "maltodextrin" or "glucose-fructose"!
But why not make your own energy bars! They’re easy to put together and cost a lot less than those that are store-bought. Best of all, you’ll have full control over ingredients and quantities. In a food processor, blend your choice of dates, nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame, etc.), then add almond butter, rolled oats, raw cocoa chips, chia seeds or shredded coconut. Press into a pan and refrigerate, then cut into bars. Nothing could be simpler!
Don’t forget your water bottle for all your sports outings! When it’s hot outside, your body gets dehydrated more quickly when you exert yourself.
For a road-trip
Do you plan to tour the Gaspé Peninsula or head to the East Coast? Don’t forget snacks for the ride to avoid having to choose from the unsavoury options available at service stations. Since you expend very little energy sitting for hours in a car, it’s best to avoid overly rich foods. Instead, opt for a light lunch and snacks rich in protein, which will keep you nourished until you reach your destination.
One advantage with a car is that you can take bulkier foods along. You can even use ice packs to keep food cool. Some great options to take on the road are a bean salad, cherry tomatoes, berries, apples, cheese, a pita sandwich with hummus or even a small protein smoothie stored in a Mason jar. And of course, make sure to bring enough water for the ride!
Around the campfire
For summer camping trips, forget the bags of chips, which often contain trans fats, artificial flavours and a ton of added salt. Instead, make your own popcorn, and season it to your taste. Just mix dried herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary) or spices (smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin, sea salt) with a little olive oil. It's tasty, and a much healthier option!
Other tasty options are kale, beet, sweet potato or even parsnip chips. You’ll appreciate having them on hand when cravings hit. Slice the vegetables thinly using a mandolin, and roast them in the oven with a touch of olive oil and your choice of seasonings. The result will be delicious and healthy chips that you can enjoy guilt-free!
Also, check out our tips for cooking healthy while camping.
For a picnic in the park
For your next trip to the park, substitute traditional bread, cheese and charcuteries with a fiesta of dips. They’re beautiful and colourful, and everyone is sure to rave about them. Get creative and try beet hummus (the colour is out of this world!) or red lentil, carrot and smoked paprika dip, yogurt with herbs and lemon or a creamy avocado dip. Pair your beautiful creations with whole-grain crackers and a bouquet of crunchy vegetables.
Snacks are essential for longer trips that require air travel. Most food items won’t be confiscated for safety reasons (just avoid carrying liquids!). You’ll spare yourself the temptation of vending machines, or worse, the torture of dodgy, in-flight meals.
Flying can often cause dehydration due to the low humidity in the plane’s cabin. Make sure to drink plenty of water before and during your trip. Also, avoid coffee and alcohol, both of which have a diuretic effect
Foods that contain a lot of water are your best allies! Celery, cucumber, radishes, bell peppers and apples are all excellent options. Choose foods that will stay crunchy and fit easily in your carry-on bag.
A ziploc bag filled with homemade granola is also a tasty option. Eat it as is as a snack, or add it to yogurt, which is often available on flights.
For your outings on the town
For any outing on the town, it’s always convenient to have a healthy snack with you when you leave home.
Homemade trail mix is the perfect option to satisfy unexpected cravings. To meet your protein and healthy-fat needs, combine your favorite nuts and seeds with carbohydrate-rich dried fruits (figs, mangos, cranberries, blackberries). Add coconut flakes or a touch of cinnamon if you like. Avoid adding chocolate, which can melt in the heat. One quick-to-make option is a raw mix (just toss everything into a ziploc bag!), or roast the nuts and seeds slightly in the oven before adding them to the other ingredients. Roasting really boosts the flavour of nuts!
Sophie Bourdon | Follow me on The Green Life
Sophie Bourdon is a holistic nutritional consultant, writer, photographer, and food stylist. She is the founder of The Green Life, a blog featuring delicious plant-based recipes for a healthy, vibrant life. The Green Life inspires thousands of readers to make nutritious, organic choices so they can regain their physical and mental balance.