Trail Snacks

Food Issue 112 Feb, 2011
Text by Ravi Shankar

A trek is physically demanding, requiring large energy expenditure as you descend to valleys, climb up to passes or negotiate difficult and dangerous trails. A variety of trail snacks are available to provide nearly ‘instant’ energy on the trail.

Chocolates: Chocolates are excellent trail snacks rich in sugars providing immediate energy. They also contain fats which release energy slowly. A moderate sized chocolate bar can stop hunger pangs, serving as a ready energy source. Also, chocolate bars available in water proof covering can be easily carried over long distances. I always carry chocolates with me on a trek.

Dry fruits: Dry fruits are a rich source of energy with some, like raisins, rich in sugars which provide immediate energy and others having oils and fats which release energy slowly. A mixture of dry fruits available in many grocery stores and supermarkets is a good option. A 500gm packet of the mixture often accompanies me on treks. There are readymade trail mixes consisting of dry fruits, chocolate, granola and cereals.

Granola bars: Granola bars are readily available in trekking shops and supermarkets. They provide a concentrated source of energy but are relatively expensive.

Cheese: Cheese is a good source of slow release energy and certain areas along trekking trails have cheese factories providing a rich supply of this delicacy. In Nepal, cheese is most often prepared from yak milk. Kyangjin Gompa, Chandanbari and the Numbur cheese trail are certain famous ‘cheese points’.

Oral rehydration solution (ORS): I find these solutions like Jeevan Jal  and Nava Jeevan an excellent source of sugar and electrolytes which are lost by sweating during strenuous physical activity. I always carry ORS sachets while trekking.

Biscuits: Biscuits are a good trail snack providing carbohydrates and fats. I find the glucose biscuits manufactured by different companies especially good.

Chow-chow: Precooked packaged Nepalese noodles make a good mini snack on the trail providing carbs, salts and fats. They are also cheap and readily available (packaged or cooked) along the trail in areas with villages and human habitation.

Dried meat: Dried meat and sukuti preparations provide a good source of protein and can satisfy your craving for meat which is either not available in many areas or may be expensive.

Aerated drinks: These are rich sources of sugar and energy on a trek. One of my senior colleagues had done the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) trek mainly on Pepsi and Coke. A problem is that only a small percentage of the money you spend on these drinks remains behind in the village.  

Fruit juices and powdered drinks: These are useful when you need a large output of energy especially on trails involving steep and difficult climbs. In areas like Mustang you can try juices prepared from seasonal local fruits.

Chiya: Tea is the Nepalese staple available along most trails in locations ranging from posh tea houses to humble chiya pasals. Tea provides sugar, carbs, proteins and fats. In mountain areas you can try the refreshingly different salt butter tea prepared from yak milk, salt, butter and tea.  

Carrying proper trail snacks can ensure a successful and rewarding trek!