Every time I pack my cooler for a trip, it appears as though I’m looking through a veil of health consciousness, which clouds my vision and makes me believe that salad alone will keep me satisfied along my journey. Then, invariably, when I’m 35,000 feet up in the earth’s atmosphere, my enthusiasm for raw cauliflower seems to dissipate. When I start to lose interest in my rabbit food I fall victim to sweet cravings, and those hyper-processed, sugar-laden plane “muffins” start calling my name.
The story always ends the same. I give in and break into a forever-soft banana nut muffin. Halfway through the calorie bomb, I become aware of two developments: my energy has both peaked and crashed, and my stomach is suffering the consequences of sugar over-consumption.
So I learned quickly that I need to come prepared with some quasi nutritious options of my own in order to avoid that regretful feeling–both literally and figuratively–in my gut that comes from caving. I learned that I needed to bring a snack because sugar abstinence is not realistic for me. But I also learned that my sweets should hold some other nutritional value because I am an adult. Protein would be the key to stabilizing my blood sugar while I satisfy my unruly sweet tooth.
Monster trail mix has always been a favorite cheat snack of mine. I love the salty sweet balance between the peanut butter, raisins, and chocolate, and the protein keeps me full and energized for more miles on the trail. So I deconstructed the picky-kid friendly version of the snack and reassembled its parts into bite-size, protein-packed, no-bake monster cookie energy balls to energize my miles in the sky.
This is a really easy recipe to mold to your taste and your pantry inventory. So, replace whatever you don’t have or like with what you do and enjoy your creation.
1 cup oats (I used the gluten-free ancient grain and super seed oatmeal blend from–you guessed it–Trader Joe’s)
1/2 cup nut butter (I ended up mixing in sunflower seed butter when I ran out of crunchy peanutbutter)
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup mini M&M’s or mini chocolate chips (for a cleaner version, try some cacao nibs)
1 tablespoon chia seeds or flax seeds
Mix all your ingredients up in a bowl and form into bite-size balls. Refrigerate, or freeze until you’re ready to pack them.