Whether you’re tying up your hiking boots, hoisting the kayak up onto the roof of the car, or cruising down a path on your bike, getting outdoors is top of mind for most people seeking fresh air, sunny skies and a great workout. But before you break a sweat, there’s an important step to consider: filling your backpack with snacks that will keep your muscles fuelled and help you maximize your recovery.

Registered Dietitian Jennifer Rawson is here to take the guess-work out of what to put in that backpack, and recommends these easy and healthy, go-to snacks.

Think about recovering post-workout with a snack or beverage that can refuel, repair and rehydrate tired muscles. Glycogen is key for repairing tired muscles and helping decrease muscle soreness after a long, strenuous day outdoors. It’s essential to consume a mix of carbohydrate and a small amount of protein to properly replenish the body’s glycogen stores.

Homemade protein bars: Muscles are most responsive within 30 minutes post-exercise, so Jennifer recommends protein bars which contain a mix of protein to repair muscles and carbohydrates to refuel your body for the next activity. Easy to whip up the night before, the homemade variety are a great snack option to satisfy hunger pains after a grueling hike. (See recipe below)

Bran muffins: Before or after your adventure in the mountains, this snack is a great source of fibre, and provides tons of energy to fuel your activity or to replenish your glycogen stores at the end of the day.

Trail mix:  A classic, go-to snack that is a staple among outdoor enthusiasts, trail mix contains carbohydrates, protein and sodium to keep muscles moving. Beware of store-bought varieties with less healthy additions and read the label to ensure you stick within the recommended serving size. 

Nut butter stuffed dates:  Two ingredients is all you need for this delicious and energy-packed snack. Dates pack a good-carb punch and are a great source of potassium, which assists in replenishing electrolyte stores.

Boiled eggs: Ready in ten minutes, boiled eggs are easily portable, and contain quality protein and a host of other essential nutrients including iron and Vitamin D.

Greek yogurt and berries: Greek yogurt and fruit is a balanced snack option, providing carbohydrates and protein for muscle repair, plus important vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin D and vitamin C. Sprinkle with homemade granola for an added crunch!

Chocolate milk: After all that fresh air and exercise, Jennifer suggests sipping on a cold glass of chocolate milk. Both delicious and a great source of protein and carbohydrates, chocolate milk repairs and refuels exhausted muscles. Plus it is over 80 per cent water and contains electrolytes, such as potassium and sodium, to rehydrate and help replenish what's lost in sweat.

Jennifer Rawson is a Registered Dietitian based in Calgary, Alberta. Jennifer has a passion for encouraging others to find balance and live a healthy lifestyle. She has an “all food fits” philosophy and tries to promote eating mindfully. Jennifer’s passions for both nutrition and fitness sparked her interest for sports nutrition and she enjoys working with individuals and groups to discuss their specific needs.