The Formula for Summer Snacking

Summer is all about being outside. Whether it’s gearing up for a strenuous hike, enduring a seemingly endless road trip or just enjoying a long day at the beach, warmer weather and later sunsets call for doing as much in your day as possible. If you’re like me, it also means a lot of packing snacks and making sure they match the summer scene you’re taking in.

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Quinoa Granola

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For the long hike:

Snacks that sustain and energize you to the summit.

Seek nuts, seeds, and protein-enhanced snacks to sustain you for a long hike. Either make your own trail mixes or bars (include a bit of dried fruit for a bit of a boost) or pick some up that do it for you. Avoid chocolate (which will become a melty mess) and foods that will spoil from the summer sun (like cheese sticks and yogurt tubes). Hydration is key for any summer activity and a must for hiking. Consider bringing along some maple or coconut water for natural electrolytes if it doesn’t make your pack too heavy.

For the long car ride:

A long car ride can get boring. Seek foods that fill you up without overdoing it.

Its own “type” of endurance event, a long summer road trip is just that…loooong. Sitting in the car can bring on the desire for “boredom snacking” and calls for easy meals. Pack low-calorie foods like natural popcorn, fruit slices, and easy vegetables like baby carrots and sugar snap peas.

Tip: Use jars or plastic containers to layer protein, beans, and veggies so you can build a balanced option that’s easy on the go. Make the bottom layer your protein and marinate in olive oil and seasonings. Give it a good shake and it becomes your salad dressing too.

For the long day at the beach:

Jumping waves, long walks or just enjoying a beach read… snacks that match your perfect beach day.

Beach foods should be light and easy to enjoy in the sand. Fill containers before you go with diced veggies, fruit and more perfectly portable grain salads so you can pull together an oceanside meal in minutes. Think about hydrating fruits and veggies like watermelon, iceberg lettuce, cucumber and celery, as well as refreshing waters to prevent dehydration in the summer sun.

For the long travel game:

If you’ve been there, you know how long a travel game can be and the need for snacks that help you cheer from the sidelines.

Sandwiches and picnic foods are perfect to enjoy on the sidelines while you’re cheering on your favorite player. Plan for long days on the field by grilling ahead of time so that you can pack grilled vegetables and meats for wraps and salads. Bring along some healthful snacks like simple corn chips, fruit salad, sliced vegetables, and wholesome dips like hummus and guacamole.

For the long bike ride:

Energy is a must for a long bike ride, but so are lightweight options that don’t make the ride any tougher.

A long bike ride is probably the toughest to pack for since you don’t want to weigh yourself down. Use hydration powders and tablets that work with little water but provide big hydration. Make use of gels and small snacks made to hydrate and sustain for a long ride. Likewise, pack along some energy bars that pack a lot of nutrition into a small bar. My best advice? Plan a route that takes you past a market so that you can refuel without being weighed down.