One of my favorite things about hiking (aside from being in the glorious outdoors, getting fresh air, and moving my body) are the snacks! I love 'trail food'. Trail mix (with chocolate chips of course), energy bars, PB & J's, apples, dried fruit, cheese and baguettes, etc... I love it all. I even find the dehydrated backpacking meals pretty tasty, but that may be due to the fact that I'm probably exhausted and starving by mealtime... Anything tastes good in front of a campfire after a long day of hiking :)
Perhaps my favorite trail snack of all time, though, are Larabars. They're:
2) Energy dense (great for avoiding hanger or crashing on the trail) and
3) Made out of good, simple ingredients, something I greatly appreciate as a nutritionist
But like all 'processed food', Larabars can be a bit pricey, so I like to make my own when I have the time. These bars are a rough rendition of the Chocolate Coconut Chew - one of my favorite flavors! Feel free to experiment with the ingredients depending on what you have on hand - different nuts, dried fruit, spices, etc... would all work well. Just keep the ratios pretty much the same.
Chocolate Coconut Almond Trail Bars
This recipe makes about 6-8 bars, but you can easily double it if you want to stash some in your freezer. As I mentioned about, feel free to play around with the ingredients to come up with different flavor combos!
1/4 cup + 1/2 cup almonds
15 large medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1/4 cup dried coconut, unsweetened
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. In a food processor or high speed blender, roughly chop 1/4 cup of almonds. Set aside in a small bowl
2. Add remaining 1/2 cup almonds and chopped dates to food processor and process for 2-3 minutes, scraping down sides as needed. Almonds should be broken down into small pieces and dates should be paste-like
3. Transfer almond-date mixture to a medium bowl and add chopped nuts, coconut, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. With clean hands begin to work add-ins into the dough until evenly distributed
4. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Press mixture firmly into the bottom about 1/2 inch deep (you may not need to use the whole surface of the loaf pan, but try to keep a rectangular shape)
5. Refrigerate bars for at least one hour, then cut into desired shape. Wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until your next hike!