Looking for the perfect hiking snack for your next outdoor adventure? We’ve got your trailblazing snack essentials covered.
Staying Hydrated While Hiking
Before we dive into our hiking snack stash, let’s talk about how to stay hydrated.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advises drinking four cups of water before you hit the trails. This is a way to start off on the right foot, properly hydrated. Plus, it will reduce the amount of water you have to carry around.
Then, consume roughly two cups of water for every hour you’re out hiking. On hotter days when you’re sweating more, increase your water intake.
Snack Factors to Consider
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what makes a good hiking snack and what you should consider when choosing which bites to bring.
If you want to reach the summit without feeling completely drained, you’ll need to take in the right combination of nutrients during your hike. This includes the three macronutrients: fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
The first two are important energy sources. Healthy fats provide the sustained fuel your body needs to keep moving. Complex carbs from whole food sources are converted to glucose, which fuels cell and brain activity. Strenuous hikes will burn calories faster, so it’s important to give your body enough energy.
As for protein, this isn’t your body’s first choice as an energy source, so you don’t necessarily need to pack lots of protein-packed snacks for a quick afternoon hiking trip. However, long hikes and extended backpacking adventures place extra demands on your system. As your muscles start to ache after hours of trekking, protein will jump in to help repair them. And, like healthy fats, protein helps keep the tummy grumbles at bay.
It’s also helpful to include salt in your hiking snacks, according to the National Park Service. Salt will help replenish the electrolytes in your system so you can safely march onward without getting sick. A modest amount of sugar can also give your body a quick energy boost.
Food storage is also an important consideration for hiking snacks. Nutrient-dense foods that are safe to store and eat at room temperature will be your best choice. If you take perishable foods as hiking snacks, bring along an ice pack to keep them chilled.
You should also keep in mind how much you can carry and what snack-cessories you’ll need (like hand sanitizer, napkins, and cutlery). Hand-held snacks that come prepackaged or can be stored in small reusable containers are better than those that require plates, bowls, and extra food prep effort.
Hit the Trails With These 7 Hiking Snacks
Looking for great snacks to bring along on your next big adventure? We’re sharing some popular hiking snacks — along with some tasty tips for sprucing them up.
1. Trail Mix
This snack has an outdoorsy name for a reason. Store-bought and homemade trail mix can be a great high-energy source of healthy fats and salt. Just remember to eat all the good stuff, not just the colorful chocolate candies!
Here are a few ingredients for homemade trail mix that are also great as solo snacks:
- Whole-grain pretzels
- Nuts and seeds
- Chocolate candies
- Dried cranberries
2. Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, peanuts, cashews, unshelled pistachios, and other nuts make for great hiking snacks because they offer a nutritious combination of dietary fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. And a long hike is one instance where the salted variety may be recommended to help replenish your body’s electrolytes.
Avocados are packed with healthy fats, so they’ll keep you feeling full for longer. Bring a whole avocado in a reusable plastic container to protect it from getting bruised along the way. Then you can simply scoop it out with a spoon or enjoy it sliced with crackers or tortilla chips.
For an extra burst of flavor, bring along a few pinches of salt, pepper, and dried red pepper flakes to sprinkle onto your yummy avocado.
Potassium is an important nutrient for preventing muscle cramps, according to the Mayo Clinic — and one large banana delivers 487 milligrams. Plus, this fruit comes in its own “wrapper,” making it easy to eat on the go.
To add extra flavor and nutritional value, you can adapt the classic ants-on-a-log recipe. Try spreading peanut butter or another nut butter onto the banana and sprinkle on a few chocolate candies for a satisfying burst of banana split sweetness.
5. Dried Fruit and Veggie Snacks
Fruit is naturally sweet, so look for dried options with no added sugar. You can try a mixed variety or stick with just one — dried mango slices, dried peaches, dried cranberries, raisins, prunes, or whatever fruits you fancy. Feel free to spice things up with a pinch of some cinnamon or cayenne pepper.
For added crunch, consider packing fruit and veggie chips, like banana chips, apple chips, pea crisps, sweet potato chips, and other varieties. Choose versions that are minimally processed and prepared with just a few simple ingredients to reduce your intake of unhealthy fats and artificial additives.
Another great hiking snack to delight your taste buds on the trail would be freeze-dried fruits. Columbia University has explained that by simply removing the water, freeze-drying retains roughly 98% of a fruit’s nutritional value. They’re packed with antioxidants and fiber and have a denser concentration of calories than fresh fruits, further fueling your day hike. Freeze-dried berries are especially flavorful and not as messy as their juicy, fresh fruit counterparts.
6. Tortilla Wraps
Unlike sliced bread and soft buns, tortillas won’t get squished in your backpack. Pick up some whole-grain tortillas for long-lasting energy, and roll them up along with your favorite sweet or savory fixings before you hit the trails.
While the possibilities are endless, here are a few flavorful and nutritious tortilla topping ideas:
- Peanut butter, sliced bananas, and a drizzle of honey
- Hummus, red pepper or cucumber slices, and pepper jack cheese
- Tomato paste, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni slices
- Cream cheese, canned salmon or tuna, and sliced celery
7. Protein Bars
Finally, energy bars and protein bars can keep you filled up with vitamins, minerals, unsaturated fats, and protein in a satisfying mix of salty and sweet flavors.
Our Perfect Bars are made with natural ingredients including 20 superfoods and up to 17 grams of protein, and they can trek toward the summit with no refrigeration for up to seven days. Or, if you want to share with your hiking buddies, pop a few Perfect Bites instead!