Simple Trail Snacks
By Steve Fuller
When I head out to ride, I already know that the places I will be going won't have a McDonalds ride-through window, or any other place where I can stop and grab a bite to eat. I know I will get hungry. I know I will need something to eat. And, I know only desperation would cause me to ingest a Big Mac anyway. So, what does an intrepid adventurer as I, who also likes to snack on most occasions, do when gearing up for a ride? I pack food.
My first inclination is to grab a bag of Doritos™, a bologna sandwich, and maybe even a couple of my favorite sodas. These are "snack" items after all. Chances are though, the chips will be crushed, the sandwich flattened, and the sodas warm. It would be a chore finding a place on me or my mount to store these delectable morsels of nutrition. Being somewhat of a simple person, I pack light. Also, I must admit, I do pack healthfully, I think. Yes, I know, many people equate health with something that tastes bad. Yet when it comes to convenience, good taste, health, and the environment, I believe I pack a good selection of trail snacks - trail snacks that will sustain me on my journey allowing me to fend off starvation until I can reach my home and dine on that bologna sandwich.
I only have a couple of rules when it comes to packing trail snacks for a ride. First, the snacks must be easy to prepare. This goes back to the simple part of my character. Second, the trail snacks must taste good, which I believe is very self-explanatory. Let me mention a third thing; there should be a minimum accumulation of trash from the trail snack culinary packaging. Trash must not be left behind to litter the lands we all share.
Of course, apples, pears, and carrots are simple, and make good bribes if necessary. Trash is minimal too. But my favorite is Trail Mix, the supreme champion of the trail snack family. I usually make a large batch of trail mix a night or two before I plan on riding. This way, I will always have some around the house to nibble on. The following recipe will yield six sensational servings:
2 lb. M&M candy (of course!)
1 lb. sunflower seeds
1 lb. peanuts
1 lb. raisins/dried fruit
1 c. cereal
½ lb. sesame sticks
½ lb. coconut, shredded
½ lb. pumpkin seeds, roasted
Combine all ingredients, or just your favorites, and mix. Package in individual servings. Zipper lock bags would be ideal; squeeze the air out to conserve space.
I always have trail mix around the house, and readily available when I head out to ride. A fresh fruit choice is always added to enhance the palate, and they go well together. I like apples, so I always take an apple or two. Now, don't let my apple bias be a leading factor in anything. There are many fruits that would travel well in a pocket. I would stay away from bananas, though. Dried fruits are a viable option for a snack. And, dried banana does not present any hazards.
Granola bars are a good choice. They are high-energy boosters that can help the stomach stop growling. I have the sort of stomach growl that can cause a stampede, so a granola bar can be found in one of my pockets. Instead of going to the local grocer and buying a pre-fab granola bar, I take a few minutes to make my own. Since I am making them, it must be simple.
Mix a granola cereal with honey and peanut butter, form it into bars or rolls on waxed paper.
Ah, the simplistic approach to trail snacks. It does make for a more enjoyable and longer ride since I am not wasting time on the menu. These are only a few suggestions for trail snacks. Almost anything edible can be converted to a single proportion, and packed in a snack sized bag that can be stored in a pocket.
One thing I have yet to mention is a beverage. Simple rule: if it can be poured into a canteen, it is a beverage. I would advise staying away from alcohol while riding. No need to be dragged home by your horse! One other reminder, those empty trail mix bags go back in the pocket until they can be disposed of at home.
Now that my pockets contain ziplocked bags of trail mix, a granola bar or two, an apple, and my canteen full of water, my feeding needs are satisfied. My deep fears of disrupting the sounds of nature with my internal pangs of starvation have been abated for yet another ride.