I’m really excited to introduce my guest blogger this week. One of the things I struggle with is making sure we have enough snacks to keep our daughter going on our hikes. Not only that but the associated mum guilt with packing crisps and bars. So what are the best hiking snacks for kids? Sometimes we need quick and convenient but talking to Anne we can have this without too much fuss and bother and it can be a nutritious option too.
Originally from France Anne moved to Devon in 2012 after spending twelve years in London. She tells me she had to look up Exeter on a map when her husband accepted a job there!
She moved to the West Country, with a toddler and crippled with morning sickness. It was initially pretty hard as she didn’t know many people in the area but she soon started building a network of mums, started to feel at home and now wouldn’t move back to London for the world (just the weekend perhaps!).
Devon is the perfect place for her and her family, not only is it similar to her native Brittany but it is also abound with good produce and a wealth of places to visit. With two boys she can often be seen on Dartmoor, at the beach, on walks or just cycling around the quay.
Anne is a registered nutritional therapy practitioner who is passionate about food; she is either cooking, eating or talking about food. She is a strong believer that we could all be healthier if we ate better but doesn’t do fads so she is very well placed to give us the low down on healthy hiking snacks and her top tips.
SNIKING by Anne Richardson
(snacking when you’re hiking!)
Have you ever found yourself in the middle of the moors on a drizzly November Sunday afternoon, when your child, after much whinging, suddenly stops dead in their tracks and refuses to walk any further because they are hungry? I have…
I have learnt the hard way that going anywhere with kids requires carrying snacks. Long are the days when we could just get out of the door and put our walking shoes on, now those outings do require a bit more prep.
I make it sound like a drag but in all fairness it isn’t their fault: not only have children got very small stomachs they are also constantly growing and that requires a lot of energy. So, no they are not being unreasonable; they do need to eat more frequently than us or they will soon flag.
Armed with that knowledge I then needed to find the best hiking snacks for kids and the solution to my problem. What was I going to pack to sustain them during our walks? Like all parents I want my kids to eat good nutritious food and like all kids, my kids want the stuff they see advertised on the telly…
Now I don’t want to sound like an evangelical domestic goddess and I’m not opposed to the odd processed food but I also have to admit that I’m not a fan of the food advertised to kids. They tend to be too high in sugar and additives, with little protein and devoid of any fibre or vitamins. Did you know that a Frube pouch contains more than 2 tsp. of sugar? So does a Barny Bear, and who only has one Barny Bear anyway? A Petit Filous yoghurt smoothie contains more than 5 tsp.! A Dairylea Dunker tube might fare better on the sugar front but the list of ingredients is so long I got bored halfway through.
Of course there’s always fruit but, in my opinion, you need to be clever with the packaging and presentation. For example, it’s worth investing in one of those banana holders so that you don’t end up with a squashed banana at the bottom of your rucksack. Although mine are happy to munch on fruit most of the time, I noticed that when we’re out and about they are more drawn to them if they can pick at them. So think chopped apples and pears drizzled with a bit of lemon juice to prevent them from going brown, or berries/grapes neatly tucked away in a container to avoid them being bashed up.
Trail mix is also a good option and yes, I would make my own. My rule of thumb for trail mix is: 50% nuts, 20% seeds and 30% dried fruit. Think almonds, pecans, macadamia, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaked coconut, chopped up dates and figs, cranberries, banana chips and raisins. You could of course add chocolate chips but I don’t find it necessary.
I sometimes just pack some granola in a tub, which everyone can help themselves to. Again, commercial granolas aren’t my favourite, although some have up their games recently. Liz’s or Jordan’s low sugar ones are good but not clumpy enough for my liking, Primose’s Kitchen is nice but expensive. I’ve got into the habit of making my own, which does have some honey but not a lot given how much granola you end up with. Here’s the recipe http://www.crunchnutrition.co.uk/lower-fat-sugar-granola-breakfast-champions/
Cereal bars are great because they are portable but they often contain glucose-fructose syrup, which I try to limit because it’s not clear what proportion of fructose there is and that excess fructose has been shown to negatively impact on our health.
I often make my own and the kids love them!
What about trying these recipes? Do you think these are contenders for the best hiking snacks for kids?
- Almond, cherries and orange bites http://www.crunchnutrition.co.uk/almond-cherry-and-orange-energy-balls/
- Coconut and cranberry flapjacks http://www.crunchnutrition.co.uk/cranberry-and-coconut-flapjacks/
- Peanut and cocoa bars http://www.crunchnutrition.co.uk/peanut-and-cocoa-energy-bars/
If you don’t have time to make any of this, don’t worry, you could just buy some Nakd bars, which are a great size for kids and full of goodness. We particularly like the orange and chocolate ones: the boys think they are delicious and I love that there are so few ingredients.
If you’re after something savoury these would work well:
- Roasted chickpeas – simply drain a tin of chickpeas, pat dry, place on a baking tray, add a couple tbsp. olive oil, sprinkle with smoked paprika and a pinch of salt and roast in a low oven until crunchy.
- Babybels – they transport very well and kids do tend to like them.
- Mini wholemeal pittas filled with ham – that’s an easy one that my 5 years old particularly likes.
Of course, don’t forget to pack water!
As well as visiting Anne’s website below don’t forget to follow her on Instagram for loads of top tips and recipes.
I would also love to know your own recipes and tips for keeping kids going on the trail, leave a comment below. Don’t forget to head over to our shop for the clothing that will keep your kids comfortable on the trail too.