Hiking is a great way to get some exercise while getting in touch with nature. However, one thing not many novice hikers think about is getting the nutrition they need while on the trail. Even if you only plan to take a short hike, it’s always a good idea to bring some food with you in case an emergency situation arises. So rather than take a whole cooler full of foodstuffs with you, here are three healthy, hearty, and space-conscious snack options to take with you on your next hiking adventure to ensure you’re able to keep your energy up.

Pack it With Protein

In order to have the energy you need to finish your hike strong, you’re going to want to have a protein source available for you to refuel and recharge your batteries. And while munching on jerky throughout the day is fine, most people eventually want and need something a little more substantial during a long hike. According to Jackie Newgent, a contributor to EatRight.com, breaking out a ready-made packet of tuna salad can be a great way to get the protein your body needs while feeling like you’re eating something more filling than jerky. Pair a small, light package of ready-made tuna salad with a whole grain tortilla and you’ve got a healthy, filling, and relatively small-sized meal to enjoy while on the trail.

Choose Complex Carbs

When on a long or strenuous hike, you don’t really need to be concerned about the amount of calories you’re eating with regards to eating something that you’d normally avoid for fitness reasons. But while your body will burn the calories of say a candy bar off pretty quickly, this may not be the best choice to give your body the boost it requires. For this reason, REI.com recommends sticking to food with complex carbohydrates while taking a hike. Complex carbohydrates take longer to break down and give your body better fuel than simple carbs do, making them a much smarter choice when exerting a lot of energy. Snacks like nuts and dried fruit would be a great way to get some complex carbs in your system while adventuring.

Garnish With Peanut Butter

According to OutdoorPlaces.com, one of the best snacks you can bring with you while on the trail is peanut butter. Not only is peanut butter packed with protein, good fats, and vital nutrients that your body needs, but it can also be super easy to throw in your pack and add to almost any other snack you’ve got with you. Spread it on fresh fruit or vegetables, whole grain crackers or bread, or any other trail snack you’ve pack and you’ve got yourself a delicious and nutritious way to keep your energy up while also keeping your taste buds happy on your hike.

If you’re unsure about what you should take with you to eat on your next hike, use the ideas mentioned above to snack happy.

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