My Five Favorite Hiking Foods That I Eat Every Day
Walking in nature makes us feel all kinds of things. Nostalgic, grateful, and mostly, hungry. I used to eat granola bars once in a while when I worked at the office. It was my 3 pm snack attack go to – that or yogurt. So, when I started hiking I thought it was great that I could eat granola bars more often. Then I noticed there were some foods I packed that I always ate and others I never bothered to open. Besides my stapled Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter and Smucker’s Strawberry Preserves on Dave’s Killer Bread, here are my five favorite hiking foods that I eat every day.
When I was a kid I was more of a Cream of Wheat person, but getting older and discovering the handiness of instant oatmeal in a bag, and only having to add water, I moved over to that side of the cereal aisle. A bonus is all the flavors they have now along with extra protein. My favorite is Banana & Maple. I eat oatmeal every morning, even when I am not on the trail. I also add raisins, maple syrup, sliced banana, and sometimes peanut butter. PB gives me indigestion occasionally if I eat it too early, so I take it easy putting it in my oatmeal.
Probably one of the top three hiker staples and all-around survival foods is beef jerky. This also used to be one type – beef. It has since graduated to all kinds of flavors and also, all kinds of meat. Turkey and deer jerky come to mind. While I love Jack Link’s Peppered Jerky and also the Tender Bites, my favorite (non-beef) is Krave Black Cherry BBQ Pork Jerky. I tend to get addicted to things, and I must be careful with the Krave jerky. It is spicy and sweet and a goto when I want to fill my belly and also put a smile on my face.
Back in the day, Newtons used to come in one flavor: fig. They also came in two cellophane-wrapped sleeves stuffed inside a cardboard box. I digress. Now they’re offered in resealable packs but best of all, they come in single-serve packs. Thank you hiking Gods. On my day hikes, I tend to overdo it on the Newtons. I am an over-packer by nature, and for sure with the Newts. If I want to take it easy, I pack a couple of strawberry Newton single packs. But I know myself well, and given my insatiable hunger, I pack about 3 – 4 of them most times.
Remember Nature Valley Granola Bars? They came in three flavors, and they were all crunchy. My favorite was Oats & Honey (in the green pack) and the crunchiness of them also made them messy. Fast forward to somewhere after the grunge era, and we now have chewy granola bars, but even better we have chewy granola bars with added protein which is a recent item. If you ever ate a standard protein bar, it feels like a think brick of flavored sand while chewing. Not fun and not tasty. Nature Valley has all kinds of great flavors, my favorite being Salted Caramel Peanut. There are even some with chocolate. The bonus is that they come with 10 grams of protein compared to a standard 4 grams for a regular granola bar.
Hiking is hard work and besides all the rewards that nature blesses me with on a daily basis, I like to treat myself to my own goodies. Most times, chocolate on a hike is a no-go. It can melt or get crushed by other foods in my pack. I never thought of licorice until we were in Cabela’s one day and there was a display of candy. One item read, ‘LICORICE: WATERMELON FLAVORED’ I took the bait and was happy I did so. The watermelon was a nice change of flavor compared to peanut butter and strawberry everything else! I also like to get other types of candy in the Port Clinton Peanut Shop! A must-visit spot when you come through Pennsylvania on the AT.
So, those are my five foods I eat every single day whether I am hiking or not. Of course, there are a lot of other foods I eat, like breakfast burritos, tuna fish, and salad. But for some reason, I love trail food! Some would say I should be careful that I don’t burn myself out on these five staples, but I am confident I will be okay. Today I had a protein bar, but no oatmeal since I had a breakfast burrito. I will have some licorice tonight but must get back up to Cabela’s as I am almost out. Eek!
What are some of your favorite trail foods and do you eat them when you are not hiking?
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