Hiking is my bliss. My favorite way to start the day is walking through woods and streams near our house in the suburbs of Washington D.C, with our two dogs, Jessie and Suerte.  On weekends, the rest of the family often joins me, and sometimes we go farther afield to somewhere the kids can scamper over logs and climb boulders.

I realized when Solomon and Celia were younger that there were two things I could do to make the idea of walking up and down trails more appealing: 1) say we were going to climb some rocks (rather than calling it a hike or walk), and 2) tempt them with homemade trail mix.

Trail mix and GORP (which likely stands for Good Old Raisins and Peanuts) actually date back to ancient Nomadic times, when people needed lightweight and portable dried food that would give them sustained energy on their journeys. It’s still a great way for us to stay healthy and energized on the trails.

For your family hike, your kids will probably enjoy carrying their own little packs with water and snacks (I recommend trail mix, an apple, turkey jerky, and a peanut butter [or other nut butter] and banana sandwich for longer hikes).

Trail mix can be made with any blend of dried fruits, nuts, and seeds. We also like to add some chocolate or M&Ms (which don’t melt like chocolate does), dried cereal, and pretzels. Put all of the ingredients in bowls on a table and let the kids make their own mixes, or make one big batch and dole out cup sized portions to each hiker.

Your kids might also get into playing some games on the trail. Here are 10 terrific ideas from the Appalachian Trail Club: http://www.outdoors.org/publications/outdoors/2001/2001-games.cfm.  (By the way, these snacks and activities could also double as a unique and healthy birthday celebration!)

More great fuel for a day on the trails:
Grab-and-Go Granola Bars, as Cranberry Almond Granola.

How does your family like to connect with nature?

Recipe: Trail Mix

  • Prep Time: 5 min(s)

Stay healthy and energized while on the go with this trail mix.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups dried cereal, such as Cheerios, Chex, or Kix
  • 1 cup raisins, dried cherries or other dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup chocolate covered raisins, blueberries, or chocolate chips, or candy coated chocolates, such as M & Ms.
  • 1/2 cup peanuts, almonds, or other nuts
  • ½ cup shelled sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup small pretzels

Instructions

  1. Mix together and enjoy!

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  • http://www.woohandh.blogspot.com Nicole W

    Having a simple garden to watch and help water is a great way to figure out how things work as well as encourage self esteem. I call hikes “adventures” and we try to spot things along the way. My girls are aged 4 and 2, so we’ll be outside for a good long time to come!

  • http://savorysweetlife.com alice

    I also love making this type of snack for school lunches.

  • http://www.kitchencounterchronicles.blogspot.com kitchencounterchronicles

    This trail mix looks excellent. We love getting outside…a handy tool is to create a scavenger hunt. If the kids are on the hunt they are engaged. Also, bringing along a sketch book and pencil is a great way to slow down and appreciate the nature around you. Thanks.

  • Aviva Goldfarb

    I love the scavenger hunt, sketch book and “adventure” ideas! Thanks for sharing your mom creativity over here.

  • barbara goldfarb

    The trial mix sounds great – especially if the children mix it themselves before heading off into the woods. Suerte and Jessie look great ..The pictures captured their personalities…BBG

  • Lori

    Sounds great! Can you recommend a healthy a good brand of turkey jerky?

    • http://www.thescramble.com Aviva Goldfarb

      Lori, my absolute favorite is the natural style turkey jerky at Trader Joes. Some brands can be too salty or have nitrites.

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