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How This Energy Bar Perfectly Captures the Spirit of Arizona

The Huppybar AZT Wild Mesquite is the official energy bar of the Arizona Trail. Huppybar’s Lyndsay Hupp pens this guest post for Trailfoody about how this bar reflects Arizona’s beauty, history, and natural resources.

 

Sometimes you can’t choose where you live, it chooses you. In the same way my dog, Dahli, of 16 years, chose me as her owner, I think Arizona chose me as a resident. What started off as a reluctant relationship with the state (not enough water, mountains aren’t big enough), has since blossomed into a life intertwined. Now, 17 years later, I have a budding business, partner, family, friends, my playground, and my sanctuaries in all directions around me. We call our AZ home the “Shire” with endless outdoor recreational opportunities of all varieties in all directions in all months of the year.

The Grand Canyon had something to do with it too…a lot to do with it. Once that Canyon sinks its teeth into your soul, you can forget about ever really leaving it. So I always returned. Down the River—the Colorado River—all spring, summer, and fall for over a decade.

When the Executive Director of the Arizona Trail Association first contacted me about partnering with them to create an Arizona themed bar to celebrate the AZ Trail, Huppybar was barely crawling as a company. I was mostly busy “field testing” my products: on my bike, in my boat, on a hike, or down a canyon formulating the Huppybar vision.

Nonetheless, I was intrigued and honored that he would ask Huppybar to be a part of the endeavor and I was excited to take it on. The AZ Trail through Flagstaff is one of my favorite rides, and being a Long Trail thru-hiker alumni, I am a big fan of long, continuous trails.

“Once that Canyon sinks its teeth into your soul, you can forget about ever really leaving it.”

Choosing the right ingredients and their sources to represent AZ and the AZ Trail was paramount. I consulted all my savvy friends on native plant options, but it was quickly apparent that mesquite would be the feature.

Mesquite trees are ubiquitous in the desert regions of the Southwest. It is a plant I had become well acquainted with as a river guide in the Grand Canyon: we used them for shade, to tie up our boats, or chew on a pod occasionally while on a hike.

Beyond my personal connection with the tree, mesquite lays its roots deep in the cultural history of the Southwest. For thousands of years, native people have used the ground bean pods to sustain their families. The Tohono O’odham Nation of Southern Arizona are still doing this today. They wild-harvest in the late summer, and take the ground meal to market at the San Xavier Co-op and Farm. We are excited to be sourcing our mesquite from the San Xavier Co-op and to be supporting the traditional farming practices of the Tohono O’odham Nation.

In addition to mesquite, we feature AZ-grown pecans, AZ-harvested honey, and cayenne chiles from the nice folks at Whipstone Farms who booth next to Huppybar every Sunday at the Flagstaff Community Market. If you don’t feel the energy from the nutrition itself, you will feel it from the hard work and love that has been put into these locally sourced ingredients.

When you bite into an AZT Wild Mesquite Huppybar, you’ll notice it’s not as sweet as most bars you’ve tried. We kept it low on the sweet and high on the flavor. Some have likened it to cookie dough and many say it is the best bar they have ever tried. The AZ Trail Association loved it so much, they’re calling it the Official Energy Bar of the Arizona National Scenic Trail and a portion of the proceeds from the bar will go to help protect and maintain this amazing 800 miles of trail from Utah to Mexico!

Wherever your trails lead, Huppybar adventure-inspired nutrition will get you there!

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What’s the Best Food to Take Hiking?

food for hiking

With mountains of freeze-dried food to choose from, dinner ideas for backpacking and camping are hard to miss, but most outdoor adventurers actually log more hours on day outings. Coming up with good hiking lunch ideas (or camping lunch ideas, or backpacking lunch ideas, or rock climbing lunch ideas—you get the picture) has always been the harder nut to crack.

Here’s why: hiking food has some pretty steep requirements—it must be:

  • Full of good, healthy energy
  • Packable and lightweight
  • “Shelf stable,” meaning it doesn’t require refrigeration
  • Easy to consume without having to stop, set up a stove, and cook
  • Tasty!

You’re Depending on Your Body—Fill it with Good Fuel!

Good fuel = good performance. That means you should avoid foods with a lot of artificial preservatives, additives, processed sugar, and chemicals you can’t pronounce. But, you also need a balance of nutrients.

Carbohydrates—which are found in fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, and pasta—are probably the most important nutrient because they digest quickly and provide the body with a steady stream of fuel. Carbohydrates, if consumed regularly, can also prevent fatigue and prevent injury.

Healthy Fats—found in nuts, fish, oils, and olives—are what gives your body that satisfied feeling after a meal. They’re also a great way to get needed calories and they help your body absorb other nutrients.

Protein—found in meats, nuts, and some grains and seeds—are needed to build and repair muscles. Your body also uses proteins for fluid balance and as a minor fuel for endurance activities.

To sum up: you need to consume quality foods. You need to balance what you eat between carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, with an emphasis on carbohydrates. But, the main mistake many outdoorspeople make is that they do not consume enough calories.

How Much Energy Do You Really Need, Anyway?

According to the Mayo Clinic, here are the energy needs, in calories, for common outdoor activities.

160 lb. person 200 lb. person 240 lb. person
3-hr hike 1,314 1,638 1,962
6-hr backpack 3,066 3,822 4,578
3-hr cross-country ski 1,488 1,857 2,223
4-hr cycling 1,168 1,456 1,744

That’s a lot of energy, folks. If you skimp on fuel, you could bonk. Remember, your body needs to burn fuel to get where you’re going. (continues below)

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Keep Your Furnace Stoked with Smaller Food Breaks

food for hikingWe’ve all done it—after reaching the halfway point on a tough hike, you stop for a “quick” lunch break. After consuming most of your hiking food, your stomach is full, and you realize it’s been an hour since you stopped. On top of that, instead of feeling refreshed, your body directs its energy to digesting a full belly, and you feel like taking a nap. But, you still have another fifteen hundred vertical feet and a bunch of miles to go.

Instead, think of fueling your body like you’re feeding a fire, regularly tossing in a couple of small logs to keep the fire raging. Take small, five-minute breaks every 30-60 minutes, and snack on some trailfood each time. That will keep your energy levels high, and it tells your body to keep up the good work.

Hydration is Just as Important as Hiking Food

hydration for hikingYou can’t perform your best when you’re dehydrated. Headaches, dizziness, fatique and crankiness (nobody likes a cranky hiker) are all symptoms that you’re already dehydrated. And, it can sneak up on you, especially during the winter when the air is drier and you don’t feel as hot and sweaty.

The good news is that you can read the signs before it happens. If you haven’t been peeing, then you haven’t been drinking enough. Start sipping.

You can do even better than that, though. Use an electrolyte drink mix to replenish lost minerals. When you sweat, your body loses salt it needs for many important body functions including muscle function. An added bonus of these drinks: most of them taste good, which encourages you to hydrate.

This is especially true of kids. They’re easily distracted when they’re having fun, and they forget to drink. Put a drink mix in their bottle, though, and they’ll stay hydrated.

Pro Tip: Recharge for the Next Day

Eating a carbohydrate-packed energy bar at the end of your adventure is not just a reward for hard work, but can help your muscles recover for the next day, so you’ll feel better.

Your body’s performance is influenced by how much glycogen is stored in your muscles. It turns out that they are primed to produce glycogen during the 30- to 60-minute window directly after strenuous exercise. To make glycogen, your muscles need simple carbohydrates such as quality energy bars or fruit.

To maximize your recovery, be sure to enjoy an energy bar or some fruit as soon as you finish your adventure—within 30-60 minutes.

Some Hiking Lunch Ideas

Here are a couple of ideas for food to take hiking, backpacking, or camping (or for any day adventure).

Cowboy
Jerky, nuts and fruit are simple, can be eaten in one break or spaced out, and taste great.

  • Beef jerky—Here’s a recipe for a nice chili lime jerky. This recipe features your favorite beer and peppercorns.
  • Make your own nut mix—Go for raw, salted, or flavorful, depending on your taste. Here’s a recipe for a do-it-yourself nut mix seasoned with cinnamon, chili powder, pepper, and herbs.
  • Fruit—Fresh apples, bananas, and oranges (Mandarin oranges are easiest to peel) pack well, as do Asian pears, which give a fresh, crisp contrast to the jerky and nuts. Dried fruit is another great way to go: mango is delicious dried, as are pears, apricots and apples. If you want to get fancy, make your own dried fruit leather.
  • Energy food for breaks and recovery—Be sure to bring at least a couple of bars to keep you going through the day, plus a carbohydrate-rich bar or snack for your recovery when you finish. In our experience, the best tasting and healthiest bars are the ones that have less name recognition.

Gourmet
Smoky, rich, creamy and satisfying smoked salmon on a bagel

  • Smoked Salmon—most smoked salmon is single serve and shelf stable.
  • Cream cheese—You can get shelf stable, single serve portions at a restaurant supply store. Or, substitute gouda or cheddar from your fridge.
  • Bagel—Grab one from your local bagel shop on the way out of town.
  • Pro-tip—Snip some chives from your garden and store them with a moist paper towel in a ziplock.
  • Fruit—Balance the richness of the smoked salmon bagel with fresh or dried fruit. Citrus such as Mandarin orange or a juicy, crispy Asian pear would work well, as would dried apricots.
  • Energy food for breaks and recovery—Be sure to bring at least a couple of bars to keep you going through the day, plus a carbohydrate-rich bar or snack for your recovery when you finish. In our experience, the best tasting and healthiest bars are the ones that have less name recognition.

Food to Take Hiking, Ready to Go

Here’s an easy way to be ready for your next adventure with tasty food that’s right for the job: a Trailfoody subscription.

Arriving each month, in a stuff sack and ready to go, Trailfoody finds yummy hiking foods that you might not otherwise discover. You’ll know it’s top quality fuel for your adventure, tasty, and packable. Plus, everything is shelf stable, so you can store your Trailfoody with your gear so it’s ready to grab and go. It’ll save you time getting out the door.

It’s not just convenience. There are lots of wonderful hiking food products out there that are hard to find, yet fun to taste. Trailfoody finds these and sends them right to your door. Let us help you get out on your next adventure.

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Are You Hiking with the Correct Nutrient Mix?

Fueling the Fire

You’ve picked out the perfect trail with the best views of the grand canyon. Excited to begin, you quickly pull together your gear, knowing the journey to get there will be tough. But, suddenly, you realize that you’re clueless as to what kind of foods will fuel the challenge best.

So, (the question begs to be asked) what exactly should one bring with them to eat while out on the trail?

Nutritional Value is Key

The answer to that question is really quite simple. For physical exercise, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are a must.

Here’s what they can do for you:

Carbohydrates – According to the Appalachian Mountain Club-Boston Chapter, carbohydrates provide, on average, around 100 calories per ounce and can be digested quickly into blood sugar, which is available immediately to your muscles to burn. As a result, carbs serve as the best source of readily available and quick energy.

Simple carbohydrates, which can be found in fruits, for example, can be turned into blood sugar within minutes, thus making excellent high energy trail foods. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, like breads and whole grains, usually take an hour or two to digest and keep you loaded up with energy.

Fats – Fats, in comparison, store up to 200 calories per ounce and take longer to digest (hours). They metabolize differently than carbohydrates, providing longer term, endurance energy. However, you’ll need an adequate intake of fats on the trail to properly metabolize carbs, even though those fats will not give you the quick burst of energy that carbohydrates do.

Proteins – Different from the other two food categories, proteins provide only around 80 calories per ounce or less, take days to metabolize, and are never turned directly into blood sugars. Exercise does not increase the short term need for protein, though maintaining a balanced diet aids your health and fitness in general.

Getting the Right Nutrient Mix for Hiking

While all three food categories are important to consider, carbohydrates are essential for outdoor activities like hiking.

According to Sally Hara, a board certified specialist in sports dietetics and owner of ProActive Nutrition, carbohydrates are the primary fuel for physical exercise. Although our bodies burn carbs, fat, and a little protein while hiking, they’ll surely bonk without the consumption of carbohydrates.

(continues)

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As is noted in the second edition of Conditioning for Outdoor Fitness: Functional Exercise and Nutrition for Every Body, the amount of carbs needed for activities such as long-duration hiking, backpacking, and mountaineering may decrease slightly from the recommended carbohydrate intake of 60-70% during active training periods. Thus, anywhere between 50-70% of your diet should consist of carbs depending on the level of physical exertion you plan to experience while out on the trail.

Keeping all of this information in mind can be a bit overwhelming when preparing for a day’s journey, we know. That’s why Trailfoody is perfect for your fire fueling needs! Our stuff sacks are filled with healthy, nutritious trailfoods that combine to provide the perfect blend of carbs, fats, and proteins that’ll always keep you on the move.

So what are you waiting for? Your next adventure awaits!