Forget candy canes. This holiday season stuff your loved ones’ stockings with energy food made for eating when active in the outdoors. Here are a few of my seasonal favorites. —Stephen Regenold
Peppermint Stick GU. A minty taste accompanied by Frosty the Snowman-motif packaging makes this seasonal energy gel a must-buy. I like the peppermint gel’s crisp, extra-minty taste, which is so sharp it makes your tongue feel cool. Like the company’s regular flavors, Peppermint Stick GU offers 100 easily-digested calories for a boost during your favorite sport in the snow. 8-pack costs $10.80; www.guenergy.com
Clif Holiday Products. Spiced Pumpkin Pie, Iced Gingerbread and Peppermint Stick are the flavor offerings in Clif’s seasonal line. The dense energy bars embody their flavor namesake — Iced Gingerbread features real icing! — plus they have the same organic and “real” food ingredients as seen in the regular Clif Bar line. No trans fats, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors included. $1.39 per bar; www.clifbar.com
Justin’s Nut Butters. Peanut butter is good any time of the year. With Justin’s Nut Butter packs, it is also eatable almost anywhere. I love the company’s squeeze-to-eat packets, which come in a range of flavors and types, including peanut butter as well as almond and hazelnut. The company prides itself on using “the highest quality natural and organic ingredients,” and it shows. Try the Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor and you will never go back to Skippy or Jif again. 10-packs sell for $9.99; www.justinsnutbutter.com
Probar Koka-Moka. Organic, vegan, and non-baked (the ingredients are simply blended together into a compressed, dense bar), Probar LLC of Salt Lake City offers some of the highest-quality bars around. A newer flavor, Koka-Moka, is a perfect gift or stocking stuffer for a chocolate or mocha-coffee lover. The bar has almonds, brazil nuts, dates, peanut butter, and chocolate on its ingredient list. The result is a brick of a bar — 18 grams of fat and 360 calories! — that’s guaranteed to fill up an empty stomach on the ski slopes or in the winter woods. $2.99/bar; www.theprobar.com.
—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.