5 Tips for Hiking with Kids (and Banana Oat Blender Pancakes!)

Fall in New England - the season is just beginning and in my opinion - there is no better time to hit the trails with your family. Whether you want to go on a simple walk through the woods or aim high and go for the summit - being prepared increases your chances of having happy hikers and making this a regular activity for your family! 

5 Tips for Hiking with Kids

1. Eat a big breakfast! We prefer to head out early in the day - the trails tend to be less crowded, the air cooler, and its less buggy. Fill up with a healthy, hearty breakfast before you go and save yourself from packing a full lunch.

2.  Dress for success - no matter the weather, I highly suggest you have your kids dress in pants. Kids want to climb, jump, explore and run - having that extra layer of protection can save you from some skinned knees. Plus, if its buggy, then that's one less area to worry about. Dress in layers, too as my kids seem to get all hot and sweaty regardless of the temperature!

3. Water + snacks - Don't underestimate how much your kids will drink on the trail. When they start to get whiny, a quick drink will remedy the situation. Keep the difficulty level of the trail in mind, as well. The steeper the climb, the more frequent you will need water breaks. Stopping for a snack break is also a great way to keep kids motivated and on the go! Fresh fruit, granola bars, crackers, cheese sticks, dried fruit, and nuts are all favorites for my kids.

4. Choose an appropriate trail level for your family and start small - little legs tire quickly and you may need to work up to a more rigorous trail! Ask local friends (isn't that what FB is for? lol!) for ideas on where to go near you. Believe me, I've learned the hard way - carrying a 40+ pound kid on your back down a mountain + not.fun.

5. Make it fun! Let them explore (but let them know they must be able to see you at all times) climb, scavenger hunt, play games (my kids like to pretend they are training for American Ninja Warrior), sing - just have fun! 

Hey Mom take my picture! (as he proceeds to fall out of the tree) - no worries, he brushed it off!

Banana Oat Blender Pancakes

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any milk)
1 large ripe banana
2 large eggs
2 cups rolled-oats
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
cooking spray

1. Place milk, banana, eggs, oats, vanilla, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in blender. Cover and blend until smooth.
2. Heat griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat (325 degrees for electric griddle).
3. Pour 1/4 cup batter per pancake - cook 2-3 minutes on first side, then flip and cook an additional 90 seconds on the second side until cooked through and browned well.
4. Serve with butter, real maple syrup, fresh fruit or yogurt! Yum and so easy - Perfect for filling little bellies before a hike!

For my 21 Day Fixers 2 pancakes = 1 yellow + 1/2 purple

Original recipe from Fixate the 21 Day Fix cookbook by Autumn Calabrese

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