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Earlier this week, we discussed the positive health benefits and psychological boosts that come when we shift our mindset about outdoor adventures in the cold winter season. The next time you head out for a cold, windy run or a frigid winter hike, pack the following cold weather foods. Each recipe is nourishing, healthy, and boosts your immune system. Better yet, these cold weather foods are warming and easy to transport, making them perfect for your next snowshoe getaway or misty fall camping trip.

1. Healthy Protein Hot Chocolate

This is one of the perfect festive cold weather foods to bring on a hike. Simply pour into a Mason jar or a thermos, and you’ve got a beautiful way to warm your hands and your body while celebrating the chilly weather in the great outdoors. However, be wary of traditional store-bought hot chocolate. It often contains excessive amounts of sugar (which weaken your immune system and increases your risk of most chronic diseases), artificial color, and dairy. Instead, try this recipe!

It’s high in protein to fuel your outdoor recreation. It’s also completely dairy free, is high in medium chain triglycerides from the coconut milk, and contains zero artificial flavors or colors.

1 cup light coconut milk
1 1/2 cups unsweetened oat milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
1 scoop chocolate protein powder

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a pot and heat, then pour into a container and take on your next hike for a festive accompaniment to other cold-weather foods.

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2. Cajun Trail Mix

Trail mix is your quintessential outdoor adventure snack. The fats, protein and electrolytes from salty nuts help energize and sustain you, whether you’re snowshoeing or running or jogging. This version for your cold-weather foods arsenal adds spicy cajun seasoning. These vibrant spices amp up the flavor of this snack, while also imparting numerous antioxidants that strengthen your immunity and protect your body from free radicals. Plus, the spices have a natural heating component, warming you from the inside out for those cold-weather outings.

1 cup raw peanuts
1/3 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup almonds
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sea salt

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. While your oven is heating up, toss all the ingredients together.

Place a sheet of parchment on a baking sheet. Spread the nuts evenly across the sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, giving the nuts a thorough stir at the 10-minute mark.

When you’re ready to enjoy these cold-weather foods, place in an airtight container or a plastic bag and simply toss it into your backpack before heading outdoors.

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3. Zero Bake Energy Balls

Cold weather can significantly increase your metabolism, putting a strain on your immune system and also depleting your energy quickly. These energy balls will fuel you up, and also give you a big dose of immunity-strengthening nutrients and minerals like magnesium and vitamin E. It’s one of the perfect cold-weather foods for especially grueling outdoor activities, or outdoor cold-weather chores like shoveling snow. It’s also ridiculously easy to make.

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flax seed
2 tbsp chia seeds or hemp hearts
1/2 cup unsweetened chocolate chips
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine all the ingredients well. Form into small balls and chill in your fridge until firm. Enjoy!

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