Trail Snacks to Beat the Wall

by Catherine Sempill

If you read the Contours blog article called Fuelling Activity: Nutrition for the Trails, you’ll know all about the concept of “hitting the wall”. You might even have experienced the sensation while out walking or cycling. I haven’t. I love eating far too much, and never push myself — speed-wise or otherwise — to the point that I forget, or find it inconvenient to refuel.

For me, part of the joy of walking is planning the snacks that keep me going for the day. Obviously, where possible, a tea and cake stop is top of the list. However, various factors might dash your cake plans. In these circumstances, I have a list of trusty back-ups.

Trail snacks to beat the wall

Homemade flapjacksFuel for Walking: Flapjacks

If you can be bothered to bake, homemade flapjacks are an excellent source of fuel. Their complex carbohydrates release energy slowly, and combined with the liberal use of syrup, they tick all the boxes. The sugar injection will lift you right out of your hunger slump, and you’ll get an additional boost over the next few hours as the carbohydrates break down.

They’re great as a mid-hike snack but also work well as a breakfast-on-the-go, particularly if your route requires an early start and you’re the type that struggles to eat too soon after waking up.

Nakd Bars

I love energy bars but sometimes get a little put off by the ingredient list. Either they’re not as healthy as they claim to be, or they have a high percentage of ingredients I don’t recognise. I’m not a fussy eater but I do like to be relatively mindful of what I’m eating.

My personal favourites are Nakd Bars: simple and delicious. To paraphrase their marketing materials, they’re nothing more than dried fruit and nuts “smooshed together” (plus some natural flavouring, depending on the bar).

My favourite flavours are Cocoa Orange and Blueberry Muffin. The natural sugars satisfy the need for an instant pick-me-up near the end of a long day walking, but without all the strange ingredients that go into most supermarket chocolate bars.

ChocolateFuel for Walking: Chocolate

In between the flapjacks, Nakd Bars and general food-mindfulness, I have to confess that I often do sneak in a chocolate or two as well.

My personal favourite is a milk chocolate bar with fruit and nuts. I usually save this as a reward for myself when I’ve covered most of the tough ground.

Honourable mention: Dried Fruit and Nuts

If you’re looking for an efficient, healthy snack, you can’t go wrong with dried fruit and nuts. Between them, they are loaded with nutrients like protein, carbohydrates and good sugars. They aren’t too bulky to carry, are pretty tasty and have no strange ingredients.

Fuel for Walking: Dried Fruit and Nuts

These snacks, combined with a hearty sandwich for lunch, see me happily through a day of hiking. Hopefully with this approach, I’ll never hit that dreaded wall.

Originally published 23/05/19

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