I just returned from spending a gorgeous fall weekend in the Smoky Mountains with a good friend of mine and her parents. It was a whirlwind weekend but absolutely worth it to enjoy all of the colors of autumn before the leaves fall to the ground. We left late Friday night and arrived in Gatlinburg sometime around 3:30am. We knew if we wanted to get in a good hike and still be friends :), we should probably still get a decent amount of sleep, so we “slept in” and then started our Saturday in the early afternoon with a quick bite to eat before hitting the trail. We headed up the beautiful drive to Clingman’s Dome with an elevation of 6,644 feet, a beautiful view and a whole lotta wind! I think we were both a bit worried that we hadn’t dressed appropriately when we saw people coming off the trail in mittens and puffer jackets. Thankfully once we began the hike to Andrews Bald we were surrounded by trees which blocked the breeze and made for a perfectly cool & crisp hike. It was a fun, wooded hike with a surprisingly amazing view at the end. We took an overabundance of pictures, watched the sunset, and then made our way back to the car in the dark using our handy-dandy headlamps.
Sunday we got up early and drove the Roaring Fork Motor Trail with Steph’s parents. The picture above is along that 6 mile loop and is just one of many, many photos taken that morning. Even though the pictures have beautiful, bold colors, I still don’t think it can ever fully capture just how breathtaking it all is when you’re standing in the midst of it with the sun streaming down.
Around noon we took off for another hike, this time Steph’s dad joined us. We climbed to Alum Cave which has an elevation of 6,593 feet at the trailhead. It was a beautiful hike with a rushing stream throughout the whole trail which meant and awesome “soundtrack” to our hike and many rustic bridges. When we got to the top, we sat down to enjoy the view and grab a bite to eat (that’s really what this post is supposed to be about, but photos of almond butter are not nearly as exciting as foliage, so I thought I’d build to the plot :)).
I’m sure many of you that eat SCD, paleo or any sort of restrictive diet, find that it’s not so difficult eating at home when you’re in your own controlled environment, but traveling can tend to be a different story. I certainly haven’t figured it all out yet, but thought I’d share a couple of items that I enjoyed as a hiking snack that would also be great staples for any kind of on-the-go travel.
Justin’s Nut Butters comes in these fantastic travel-size pouches that are perfect for any kind of snack. They come in a variety of flavors, but the only one that I know of that does not have any kind of sugar is the Classic Almond Butter – and trust me, it doesn’t need it. It’s so good just as it is. I packed a banana and packet of this almond butter on each of our hikes and it was a delicious and incredibly satisfying snack.
I can’t take credit for discovering the next snack since Steph was actually the one that brought it along. I’ve always been a fan of Trader Joe’s brand Applesauce Crushers since it’s one of many brands of fruit squeeze packs that does not have fruit juice concentrate in it (which I am not allowed to have). Well, Peter Rabbit Organics beats Trader Joe’s by a long shot – not only for the ingredients and consistency, but for the wide variety of flavor options! Plus, I’m pretty sure the packet is bigger than TJ’s Crushers, which is just an added bonus when it’s something so good. You can purchase them at several different store locations (check the website), but I know locally both REI and supposedly Walmart carries them (although I haven’t checked Walmart yet).
And last, but not least, Larabars. My personal favorite is the Coconut Cream Pie, but if you don’t like coconut they have 19 other flavors to choose from – I’m confident you’ll find one you love! Typically each bars has 5 ingredients or less and are made up of whole foods like dates, nuts and fruits. There are a few flavors that have chocolate in them (and therefore, sugar) that I can’t have, but enough options that I can enjoy to make it worth stocking up. I recommend keeping a Larabar in your purse or car because you just never know when you might need something to tide you over.
So whether you’re heading to the beach, the mountains or just a day out in general, don’t be fooled into thinking fast food is your only quick option. You can eat healthy, be satisfied AND enjoy your snack all without feeling guilty. Next time you’re at the store, pick up a few of these items to keep on hand in your pantry. You’ll be glad you did!