How To Fuel Up for Outdoor Adventures

by | May 2023

Laurel Famigletti

Photos: Chris Emeott

Choose healthier options in preparation of hitting the trails.

Who’s ready to tackle a 1,000-hour outdoor goal? A movement to replace screentime with outdoor time is gaining traction. While it appears to focus on children and families, spending more time under the sky just makes sense for everyone.

There are more ways to spend time outside than we have space to write. Given the miles worth of walk/bike/hike trails that hug our communities, let’s start there. One of the first steps to prepping for a trail adventure should be addressing fuel—nutritionally speaking. And, let’s be honest, making those pre- and mid-walk/bike/hike breaks taste a little bit better can ramp up the fun factor.

To note: We’re not talking about the “serious” or hardcore adventure seeker, who needs to monitor caloric intake, insulin counts and the like. That’s an article for another day. For our purposes, we are focusing on “light” activity, which also requires energy boosters and hydration sources.

To that end, regular contributors to our front-of-the-magazine section’s Noteworthy Taste and Move columns, Spencer Olson ( and Laurel Famigletti, took a walk farther along in our magazine to visit the Tastemakers section. Here, they offer some tips and recipes to help boost energy and hydration as you enjoy the greater outdoors.

“Learning how to fuel ourselves and recover to help support this activity is important to feel our best,” Famigletti says. As owner of EndorP.H.I.T, providing virtual group fitness classes, in-home personal training and virtual nutrition coaching, she has ideas on how to keep hydrated and fueled for the hot, sunny days ahead.

Laurel Famigletti


  • Eat one hour prior to an activity, giving your body ample time to digest.
  • Focus on carbohydrate/protein combinations. The carbohydrate will be stored in your body as glycogen, which is your body’s most accessible form of energy. The protein will help build muscle and enhance recovery.
  • Tip: Try 1 cup oatmeal with berries and almonds; eggs with whole grain toast; turkey and cheese on a tortilla; or a banana and 1 Tbsp. nut butter on whole grain toast.


  • If you are active for longer than one hour, fuel up during the activity to give you extra energy.
  • Focus on simple carbohydrates, which are easy to digest, water and electrolytes.
  • Tip: Try a protein bar (low sugar, high protein); water with electrolytes; and pretzels.


  • Capitalize on the “recovery window” when your body is more accepting of nutrients for rebuilding and repair. This window is within 30 minutes after exercise. Grab a quick snack during this window and then aim for a meal within two hours.
  • Tip: Focus on a protein/carbohydrate/fat combination. The protein will help to repair and build muscles, and the carbohydrate will replenish energy.

On the Road Recipes

Honey Cucumber Water

Contributed by Olson

Honey has been utilized as a natural sweetener long before sugar was used—the good news is you can use less honey than sugar in recipes. One part honey is equal to about 1 1/4–1 1/2 parts sugar. Honey can also carry nutrients via the bees. With vitamin C from the lemon and antioxidants from the cucumber, this refreshing recipe is perfect for any activity.

Honey Cucumber Water

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 10 tsp. lemon juice
  • 6 cucumber slices
  • 10 mint leaves
  • sparkling mineral water, optional

In a large bowl or pitcher, combine and mix all the ingredients. Let the water infuse for at least three hours or longer. Pass through a sieve, and enjoy.

Note: If using sparkling mineral water, combine the infused water and mineral water in this ratio: 3/4 infused water to ¼ sparkling mineral water.

Honey Fruit Bars

Contributed by Olson

This recipe takes advantage of spring honey, protein in nuts and antioxidants in coconut. Nearly every ingredient in this bar is packed with health benefits, from rich potassium to fruits that help us hydrate. Chocolate can be rich in antioxidants. If you choose to take this bar into nature on a hot summer’s day, it may be best to put it in a lunch box (cooler) to prevent the chocolate from melting; even without chocolate, though, the fruit, nuts and honey are a perfect combination for the outdoors.

  • 1/4 cup coconut, shredded
  • ½ cup dried figs, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup almonds, slice
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 12 oz. 70 percent dark chocolate, optional

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F, and line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients, except the chocolate. Mix and knead the ingredients together using your hands until they can hold a shape. If the mixture is too dry, add a teaspoon of water at a time until it comes together. Once the mixture comes together, press it into the prepared pan, roughly half an inch deep. Bake for 50–60 minutes or until the surface begins to turn golden brown. Let the bars cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and pour on the dark chocolate (if using). Let the bars sit in the pan for about two hours or until the chocolate hardens (if using). Slice, and serve.

Note: If using chocolate, melt it in a double boiler (no higher than 115 degrees F). Let it cool slightly before using. If you are not using dark chocolate, the recipe will turn more into a trail mix texture.

Picture This

While you’re out on your local adventure, take some photos—of natural flora and fauna, local landmarks, you and your family or friends on the move, abstract visuals and more! Our annual photo contest, Lens on Lake Minnetonka, is expanding this year by running in July and August at Share your photographic points of view. See. Snap. Send.


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