If you’re escaping into the unknown, don’t forget to pack a high-energy snack. Humans can only live a few days in the wild without food. You’ll be able to go a little longer if you’ve got a lot of meat on your bones, and even more if you’re staying perfectly still. Unfortunately, only corpses lie dormant in the wild. Fuel is essential when backpacking, climbing, or doing any kind of physical activity. When you can only pack light, you better pack right. See below for a few quick and convenient snacks that are proven to keep your muscles pumping through adventure adversity.
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It’s one of history’s mysteries that pumpkin seeds never became a staple in the American diet. They are edible raw, delicious and beyond nutritious. Each seed is packed tight with unsaturated fats, protein, and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, that will catalyze your muscles up a mountain or through the brush. Also, these high-energy snacks are light, way lighter than other natural snacks that offer similar nutritional benefits. All things considered, pumpkin seeds are a near-perfect seed to plant in your backpack for your next trip.
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If you’re packing for a long trip, don’t forget to pack your protein. Protein doesn’t just build muscle mass, it’s an essential piece of the metabolic workflow. It activates enzymes and helps make your muscles move. Where it really performs is recovery. After a tough day bouldering and smashing through uncharted territory, your muscles will be torn and strained on a microscopic level. Protein will help to repair cellular damage and bring you back to 100%. Where can you find protein on the trail? You can try to trap small game (good luck), but if you’re smart, you’ll bring along a tuna pouch (leave heavy cans in the cupboard). Tuna has just about the same amount of protein per ounce as steak (about 7 grams per ounce), but it lacks the saturated fat found in red meats. Also, if sealed tight, tuna stays tasty for years, so keep these energy snacks ready to go at home.
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Jerky is delicious. It’s also a great high-energy snack for the great outdoors. Beef, turkey, salmon, venison, you name it, it’s all full of protein, and it is all salty enough to replace the salt you lose when you sweat while bushwhacking in the outback (salt is a perfectly fine thing to eat on the trail, as long as there’s no shortage of water). Of course, only one type of jerky kicks you into another gear: Perky Jerky. Available in turkey or beef, Perky Jerky is marinated in Guarana, a caffeinated jungle fruit often found in energy drinks. Sometimes it’s necessary to make a big push through bush before the sun sets and the hyenas come out. Times like these may call for a little extra kick.
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A relative newcomer on the endurance sports scene, energy gels come in various formulations, but all serve one basic purpose: energy gels keep people going, and keep them going strong. Comprised primarily of carbohydrates – the fuel of life – energy gels are easy to digest, their constituent ingredients swiftly absorbed by the human body with a quick swig of water. Most gels are made to be consumed before a big race, and/or 45 minutes in. What comes next is hopefully imperceptible; you don’t notice it when your body is functioning full-bore. The jury is still out on what’s the best gel on the market, but you can’t go wrong with GU Gels (the original energy gel), PowerBar energy gel, or Honey Stinger energy gel. Remember to try before you buy in bulk, as not everyone agrees with the way energy gels taste.
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There are several types of so-called “energy bars” including protein bars, meal replacement bars, endurance bars, activity bars and the list goes on, with snack marketers inventing new categories every year. Of all types of bars, those in the “activity bar” category are probably most appropriate for a long and minimal trip in the great outdoors. Activity bars do two things: they boost short-term energy and provide the long-term fuel you’d get from a full meal. Clif Bar might be the best tasting and one of the most effective brands in this category. These energy boosting snacks provide the necessary nutrients for Adrenalists to push on strong when they don’t know what meal is next.