Walking through hoodoos at Sandstone Ranch (Photo by NCC and Monte Solberg)

Walking through hoodoos at Sandstone Ranch (Photo by NCC and Monte Solberg)

Fuel your outdoor adventure

Trail mix (Photo by Papathanasiouk)

Trail mix (Photo by Papathanasiouk)

Jackie Bastianon was the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) communications intern for the Alberta Region in summer 2018. She is currently studying journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa and hopes to use her writing skills to compel people to care about the environment as much as she does.

When you're outside, walking along and viewing all the majestic scenery at one of the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC) Nature Destinations, the last thing you want is to wind up feeling hungry.

The solution? Pack some snacks!

Before leaving on your adventure, pop by the grocery store and stock up on some day-trip snacks that are tasty, nutrition-packed and that won't go bad even after spending a day in your backpack. Here are the six items that I always take along with me when I'm preparing to head out, whether it's to the beach or the top of a mountain.

Granola bar (Photo by Marco Verch)

Granola bar (Photo by Marco Verch)

1. Granola bars

Granola bars are the perfect thing to bring with you whenever you're on the go. They're lightly packaged, can survive in most temperatures and won’t go bad if you leave them in your bag. I prefer granola bars that have no added sugar and that are made of simple, whole ingredients, so I usually gravitate toward Larabars. They come in lots of yummy flavours, like cashew, apple, brownie, peanut butter, chocolate chip and coconut. Granola bars are so easy to eat that you don’t even need to stop to eat them; you can climb a hill and refuel your energy at the same time!

2. Trail mix

Trail mix is another staple to bring with you when you're doing any kind of outdoor activity. You can either pick some up pre-made at any grocery store or if you have time you can just make it yourself. To make your own, just make a base by throwing together some of your favourite nuts (I use almonds and peanuts) and stir it around in a plastic bag or container. If I'm going somewhere where my backpack won't get too warm, I'll often add some dried fruit and dark chocolate into the mix. Trail mix is packed with healthy fats and protein that will help keep your energy levels up no matter what you do. Just grab a handful and munch as you move!

3. Fruit

Fruit (Photo by Sean-MacEntee)

Fruit (Photo by Sean-MacEntee)

Fruit is another thing that I always have in my bag, but when prepping for a day of outdoor activity remember that some fruits work better than others. Try to avoid fruit that will squish or bruise easily in your bag like berries, melons and pears. Instead, try bringing along something hardier, like apples and oranges. Despite having a peel, these fruits will still go bad if you forget about them in your bag for several days!

4. Electrolytes

I never leave the house without packing some form of electrolytes in my bag or purse. Electrolytes are a quick and easy way to prevent or help with dehydration when you're outside exercising, especially in warm temperatures. They come in a range of fruity flavours, but they all contain high levels of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin B, calcium, magnesium, zinc and potassium.

5. Nut butter and banana sandwiches

Sandwiches are a simple thing you can quickly prep ahead of time and throw in a reusable container as a nutritious lunch when you get to your destination, or if you find the perfect lunch spot en route. I usually just grab two slices of whole wheat bread, add some kind of nut butter (usually peanut or almond), and slice up a banana. You can also add jam or top the sandwich off with raisins. This takes less than five minutes to prepare, and it will help keep you from getting hungry during your adventure by providing you with something filling.

6. Hummus and carrots

Hummus (Photo by Basheer Tome)

Hummus (Photo by Basheer Tome)

Hummus and carrots are my favourite snack to bring on an outdoor excursion. All you need is a pack of baby carrots and some hummus (either store bought or homemade). This is harder to eat as you're walking, but is still an excellent quick snack and a great way to get your veggies in for the day. I like baby carrots because they’re easy to dip and they don't require much prep, but you can also switch it up and cut up some peppers or celery to dip in as well.

Get packing

Next time you're heading out to an NCC Nature Destination or volunteering for a Conservation Volunteers event, be sure to consider some of these easy, delicious items to help power you through your outdoor adventure.

The Conservation Internship Program is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Summer Work Experience program.

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Atlantic puffins (Photo by Bill Caulfield-Browne)