Vital Victuals

gorp, trail food, Bozeman, Montana

Vital Victuals

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Brayton, Lea

Fuel for the trail.

Quality trail food can make the difference between a killer day in the mountains and a miserable next morning, as your body bears out the previous day’s neglect. Foods high in protein and fiber keep you going strong, and knowing how to harvest from your surrounding environment can make time spent outside more enjoyable.

Fruitful Foraging. With as bountiful a back yard as our wild Montana, there’s countless opportunities to harvest what nature hides away. 

Blue elderberry—small, sweet-tasting berries that should be cooked due to their cyanide content.
Chokecherry—these red-to-purple berries have a sweet but sharp flavor, and when mashed make a great glaze for fire-cooked trout. 
Huckleberries—generally found in small bush patches at high altitude, these blueish-purple berries taste great and can infuse that bottle of booze you brought along.

Wild Chives—found near lakes or riverbeds, they smell like onion and are a flavorful addition to roasted meat or vegetables, especially when paired with lemon.
Wild Mint—great when added to other greens, or as a garnish for whatever game you’ve brought in for the night.
Dandelions—with more beta-carotene than carrots, they’re great both raw and cooked, though they’re quite bitter.
Lamb’s quarter—also referred to as “goosefoot” due to its shape, this spinach-like plant is easily found in valleys and mountains, and can be used just like spinach.

Energizing Gels
GU EnergyGel, Expresso Love—40mg of caffeine per packet and 100% of your vitamin A and E needs, giving you an added lift.
Hammer Nutrition Energy Gel, Montana Huckleberry—vegan and low-sugar so there’s no insulin spike or “sugar rush.”
Clif Shot Energy, Chocolate Cherry Turbo—a liquid Clif bar, high in protein and carbs, with a whopping 100mg of caffeine.
PowerBar Gel, Tangerine—packed with carbs from oat bran, pears, grapes, and a special PowerBar blend; a serious high-performer.
Honey Stringer Organic Energy Gel, Caffeinated Chocolate—great-tasting tapioca and organic honey helps keep it green.

Bar Food. With so many bars on the market, it’s hard to choose the best option for the trail. Here’s a rundown of common options. 

KIND Fiber Bar—Blueberry Pecan (40g)
190 calories
4g protein
5g fiber
20g total carbs
Pros: 10 all-natural ingredients, contains copper and manganese

Clif Bar—Crunchy Peanut Butter (68g)
250 calories
11g protein
4g dietary fiber, 2g insoluble
41g total carbs
Pros: high in protein and vitamins C and E 

Lara Bar—Chocolate Coconut Chew (51g)
240 calories
5g protein
5g fiber
29 total carbs
Pros: gluten free 

Quest Bar—Coconut Cashew (60g)
170 calories
20g protein
17g fiber
25g total carbs
Pros: high in protein and fiber 

ProBar Fuel Bar—Cran-Raspberry (48g)
160 calories
3g protein
4g fiber
33g total carbs
Pros: vegan

Pantry Staples. Spontaneous adventures are a staple of Bozeman summers. Here are three ideas for healthy and adaptable on-hand meals.

The Carnivore
Bag-up some beef jerky and whatever nuts you have on hand, then craft a quick turkey (or any meat), lettuce, and mustard sandwich. If you wrap it in foil the meat will stay chilled longer. Pair with an orange or apple to balance the protein boost with natural sugars. 

The Vegetarian
Peanut butter and bananas are an old classic. Slap the fixings on toasted wheat to keep your bread from getting soggy and pair with a soft cheese, like Laughing Cow rounds, that doesn’t have to be refrigerated. 

The Hippie
Instant oatmeal is an easy and adaptable mountain meal. Throw some oats in a container with dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, or dates, and walnuts or peanuts for added protein. Spice it up with cinnamon, brown sugar, or honey and reuse the jar for your next meal or for storing trash on the trail.

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