Eating On The Road, River or Trail

Once the snow melts and we start venturing out to do our favorite outdoor activities one of our biggest obstacles is eating on the road. We are not big restaurant goers and let’s face it, after hours of hiking or paddling we probably should not be in a restaurant anyhow. I will let your imagination go where it wishes with that statement.That leaves me to figure out what to pack on our outings.

First of all, we are not always hot, sweaty, wet or stinking like wet suit funk after a long day. Sometimes we are just on the road and don’t want to have to make a stop for food. Or maybe we know we will be traveling for too long and instead of stopping for two meals on the road I will pack one of them. Recently, this was the case. We knew we would eat out on the way home, so I packed the meal we would need while at our destination for lunch. I threw together a quick orzo salad, sliced up some strawberries and kiwi’s packed some water and lunch was served.

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So easy, filling, healthier that restaurant food and at this time of year, easy to keep cold with a few ice packs in a cooler. I packaged the salad in three different containers so no plates were needed.

Now, when we kayak it’s a whole different story. We always tell everyone to eat before arriving and eat enough to last a few hours. We do carry one dry bag for just snacks that usually consist of nuts, Clif bars and applesauce pouches. Everyone is also told to have their own water bottle. We normally have this snack about half way down the river. Our meal upon completing our paddle is left in the vehicle at the takeout point.

After all the kayaks are taken out, emptied and gear laid out to drip dry some, we normally lay out our towels and feast. We are usually all hungry and tired.

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These “after paddling”  meals could consist of cut up watermelon, pineapple, boned chicken, shredded cheese, tortillas, crackers, nuts, turkey jerky, hot sauce, veggies and dip, string cheese, and gummy candies(a favorite river treat of everyone).

Some of our favorite places we have shared meals with friends have been on tailgates, atop kayaks and sometimes we even get lucky and there may be an actual picnic table nearby.

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Either way, the most important part of eating on the road in the middle of summer would be ICE! ALOT OF ICE. Pack more than you think you would need to be on the safe side. No one wants to share a picnic with friends after a great day of paddling only to be sick a few hours later. And truthfully, if there is too much ice, its always good for the bumps and bruises you may have after a great day on the river:)

Then we have our hiking trips. Sadly, it is almost always just the three of us. For some reason everyone says they could never hike as far as we do or they don’t want to hold us back. Only twice have we had people join us, once was my brother and his family and they did just fine. The second time was a friend of my son’s and she did pretty good also. With my brother we had coolers packed in the cars and grilled out food after our hike. The second time we climbed to the top of a beautiful cliff and shared lunch up there. My husband carried a pack with some ice and food.

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When it’s just us, we get a little braver and bring our ultra light stove and freeze dried meals. No ice needed, light weight and easy to prepare. We also pack snacks for along the trail like gorp, granola bars, dried fruit and veggies etc. Again, don’t forget the water.

So, no matter what you are doing either in the outdoors or just on the road traveling there are options for eating healthy.

What are some of your favorite things to eat while on the road?

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Protein Bar Reviews

We have been experimenting with some new protein bars that we have seen on the market. We have been a Clif Bar family for years so this has been somewhat of an eye opener for us. We don’t, by any means, consume these on a regular basis because for one, I think they are expensive. I also prefer to get my protein/energy from a meal rather than from something in bar form. Regardless, we do find ourselves eating enough of this type of food in the active months of our lives. Especially when we are on the go, miles into a hike or when we have paddled hours of a river and have a ways to go yet. Which tells you why we are partial to Clif bars, they survive a backpack or wet bag well and still taste the same smushed or not.

So first of all, we tried five popular brands:

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****The first being a new flavor we found of Clif Bar, chocolate coconut chip:

First impression was it’s not “pretty” looking, but show me one that is. It is formed tightly so in a rough situation, it will not fall to a million crumbly pieces. It has nice flavor and it’s quite large in size. Protein:10 g  Carbs: 43g  Fiber: 5 g and Total fat: 6g

All in all, good eat and a good buy. And from experience, keeps you going for quite a while.

****Next we sampled the Clif Builder Bar in chocolate Mint:

First impression was it’s chocolate covered which will melt easily in warmer temps!! Which leads to a mess! Flavor was yummy, like a chocolate covered mint oreo. Filling again, being of nice size. Protein: 20g  Carbs:31g  Fiber:4g  and Fat: 8g.

All in all, a winner for my hubby. Me, not thrilled about the chocolate dipped add on.

****On to the Larabar Uber in cherry cobbler flavor:

First impression, sticky, but tasty. Sweet and salty with tart cherry pieces. Would never hold up in a dry bag for you kayakers. Backpack, possibly. Perfect size for a snack after or before a workout. Not as heavy feeling in your stomach as the Clif Bars. Not nearly as much protein as the other bars but still nice to enjoy.Protein: 4g  Carbs: 19g  Fiber:2g and  Fat:12g

We would both buy and eat again, and actually already have purchased more.

****For our next sampling it was the Pure Protein Revolution bar in chocolate peanut caramel flavor.

First impression was that it’s much thicker than all the other bars. Again, chocolate covered which could be messy.

Doing reviews is hard sometimes because things cannot always be said nicely. Honestly, this bar tasted like it had dirt inbetween each layer in my opinion. My husband said it reminded him of playdoh…. oh gosh, maybe that is enough to get the picture. Worth the try if you are looking for tons of protein in a bar as it offers 20 g of it. It also packs in Carbs: 17g, Fat 6g but nearly no fiber.

We will not be purchasing this one again as it was hard enough to get the first one down between the two of us.

****And the last bar we sampled was the Balance Bar gold in mint cookie crunch flavor.

First impression was that this bar was also chocolate covered. Taste was very similar to the Clif Builder bar which is like a chocolate covered oreo. Not bad, tasty and we would eat again for sure.

Protein: 14g  Carbs: 23g  Fiber 2g and Fat 7g

As you can read, we have our favorites and our not so favorites. Again, they all have quite a few calories so I would not advise eating these on a regular basis. These bars are not to be consumed like a granola bar you find in the cereal section of your grocery store. So be sure to enjoy your favorite the next time you are paddling a river, hiking a trail, biking, playing a sport or doing something active.

NOTE:We decided to do this tasting review for our own knowledge and have given our honest thoughts on these products. We paid for each bar ourselves.