Updated: May 5
When I head out for a walk, one of the first things I check off my ‘what to pack into my rucksack’ list, is snacks! Whether it’s a short amble around the block, or a lengthy 10-mile hike along the cliff, there will be at least one snack in my bag.
I’m what some will call, a grazer. I prefer to eat little and often and find myself reaching out for snacks over a proper meal. Because I know I am a serial (sometimes cereal) grazer, I need to be careful what I am snacking on to ensure I don’t pile on the pounds. I have made a concerted effort to ensure the snacks I reach out for are nutritious and will fuel me, rather than give me a burst of energy for a few moments before needing to consume more to keep the energy up - such as sweets and chocolate. Although these are my go-to snacks when watching a film or needing to be cheered up, whilst out walking I always endeavour to make good choices when it comes to my snacking treats.
One of my walkers, Elizabeth Campling, is a Registered Dietitian and offers nutrition consultations in Cornwall to help you adjust your diet, eat healthier and feel better. At the end of this blog, I have popped Elizabeth’s details down, so if you would like to get in touch and discuss any of this further, she will be more than happy to hear from you. Although I am not a Registered Dietitian, I do know a little about eating and fueling your body the correct way. So together, Elizabeth and I have come up with some ways you can eat nutritious food whilst on the go.
It’s always a good idea to pack some snacks when going for a ramble. You may not always have access to shops and cafes when walking in remote places, or the ramble may take longer than expected. It’s important to keep your energy levels up so you don’t start feeling fatigued; not only so you can continue enjoying your walk, but to help prevent slips and falls.
When planning your snacks there are a few things to think about:
1. Easy to eat
Choose snacks you can easily grab from your rucksack, are quick to eat, and that can be eaten on the go. Try to think about litter and preventing it where possible by choosing foods that you can eat the entirety of. Or if not, whatever is left can go back into your rucksack without making a mess.
2. Bulk and weight.
Your rucksack will already be full of extra clothing, water and maps so to make snacks lighter and to reduce their bulk portion, put them into little containers which can slide more easily into your bag.
3. How long and strenuous is the walk?
How many snacks to pack will depend upon the duration and intensity of the walk. It’s best to be prepared with more over less. It’s also good to keep in mind that if the walk is strenuous or far, you will be burning off a lot more energy and will need to replace the calories lost. Choose snacks that will give you the energy you require to keep you going for longer.
4. Food hygiene.
Think about food going off in warm weather. You could either decide not to pack foods which need to stay refrigerated or pack the snack alongside a mini-icepack. Just be sure to eat the snack within a couple of hours of packing.
The biggest tip on making a nutritious snack, is to combine carbohydrates with protein to provide energy and satisfy hunger. Preferably, we advise choosing high fibre/wholegrain carbohydrates which release energy slowly, rather than refined carbs such as sweets and biscuits. These will provide a sudden burst of energy, but do not maintain your energy level and do not provide you with any nutritional value.
Here are some nutritious snack ideas you could try:
Pot of berries, grapes or dried fruit (e.g. apricots, dates, figs).
Banana and peanut butter sandwich.
Oatcakes and nut butter.
Hard-boiled egg and rice cakes.
Pot of mixed nuts and seeds – could add some dried fruit to make a trail mix.
Crackers and cheese.
Cheese or fruit scone.
Tub of vegetable sticks (e.g. celery, peppers, carrots) and houmous.
Slice/s of malt loaf.
Homemade flapjacks and muffins (choose recipes combining oats with fruit and nuts. If homemade rather than shop bought you can adjust the sugar and fat content to make healthier.)
Some of these ideas may not be suitable if you have a particular allergy, food intolerance or medical condition, but the principle of combining a carb, preferably wholegrain, with protein will still apply.
As well as nutrition you should also be thinking about staying well hydrated, which is especially important in warm weather to prevent headaches and fatigue. Water is better than sugary/energy drinks. These drinks are mainly unnecessary when rambling as you can get energy from your snacks. Be sure to bring enough water depending on the length of the walk. Along the way, there may be places you can refill your water bottle or in some cases, a café or pub to stop in for a well-deserved refreshment break! I always ensure I carry my reusable Chilly’s bottle. Not only am I helping to save the environment (go me!) but I am also keeping my cold-water, cold! Please refrain from buying plastic bottles and invest in a decent reusable bottle – my ramblers know I hate single-use plastic so any opportunity to mention it, I will.
Another point to mention is if you’re bringing your dog on a ramble! Our four-legged friends also need to keep well hydrated and fueled, so remember that they need water too. You can get a handy fold-down doggy bowl which slides into your rucksack, so they will always have access to clean water on the go. We'd also suggest bringing some suitable doggy snacks too as their energy levels can waver if they are running back and forth for miles.
So, there we go. We hope these ideas and suggestions have been useful and that you can take away from this some snacking tips whilst out on a ramble. If you have any ideas that we have not mentioned in this blog, then we’d love to hear them. Please comment below or find Cornish Ramblings on social media (all the links are on the website) and share your snack ideas with a photo of you enjoying them whilst out and about.
If you have any questions on the content in this blog, please get in touch with either Elizabeth or I – we would be happy to hear from you!
“In my food world, there is no fear or guilt, only joy and balance."
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A massive thank you to Elizabeth for her input into this blog! Elizabeth offers nutrition consultations in Cornwall to help you to adjust your diet to eat healthier and feel better. She is friendly and non-judgmental and will tailor guidance to your particular needs.
To find out more:
01326 316 005 / 07982 824 333