You’ve been planning it all winter long – the perfect trip out into the great outdoors, with your friends and family, to enjoy the beautiful views that hiking has to offer. You’ve even got everything planned out: what you’ll take, where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. All that’s left to do now is pack your bags!
Before you head out on your hike, though, be sure to remember these healthy hiking snacks ideas. They might just save your life (or at least make it more enjoyable)!
What are hiking snacks?
To get you through a day or two of light hiking, you don’t need much more than what you would for any other day. You want something that will give you plenty of energy and keep your stomach full, but not so heavy that it weighs you down or makes your pack uncomfortable.
There are some great options out there that have been designed specifically with hikers in mind. These snacks often come in single-serve packets that make them easy to take on-the-go and simple to eat while walking or climbing.
Some even come with added electrolytes, which is especially important if you plan on getting sweaty!
If you’re planning a long hike, though, consider packing an extra meal or two in case you find yourself away from civilization longer than expected.
For overnight hikes and extended trips where you know food will be scarce (or non-existent), it might be worth bringing along a stove and fuel source as well. This allows you to cook up real meals rather than eating bags of trail mix all day.
5 Healthy hiking snacks ideas:
Here are 5 best hiking snacks ideas (including homemade hiking snacks), you must consider at-least once:
1. Trail mix:
Make a batch of your favorite trail mix at home, avoiding any foods with added sugars or saturated fats.
Trail mix is an easy way to pack protein-rich nuts into your snack arsenal, but keep in mind that they’re also high in calories—and it may be better for you to stick with nutritionally dense whole fruits and veggies if you want to lose weight.
If you’re looking for a great homemade trail mix recipe, you can customize it based on your dietary preferences (like leaving out certain nuts) or what’s in season.
- 1 cup each roasted peanuts, almonds and cashews;
- 1/2 cup raisins;
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries;
- 2 tablespoons M&Ms;
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds;
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds.
- 3 cups pretzels or tortilla chips (chopped);
- 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes.
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until combined. Store in airtight container.
2. Energy bites:
This recipe for energy bites will give you enough fuel on your hike to get you through to dinner—and maybe even beyond.
Grab a handful of cashews, almonds, walnuts or pecans and throw them into a food processor. Add dates, honey or maple syrup (or any other sweetener), cinnamon, vanilla extract and salt if desired.
Pulse until nuts are coarsely chopped but not quite a paste—you want some texture here—then roll into balls with your hands.
If you like, roll in coconut flakes or cocoa powder. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks. Enjoy one before each meal on your hike as a snack or dessert. Or try these three variations: Almond-Cherry Energy Bites, Cherry-Pecan Energy Bites, Maple-Cinnamon Energy Bites.
3. Granola bars:
Try packing your own granola bars that can be prepared at home. Be sure to use only natural ingredients with no preservatives or additives.
You can make homemade granola bars with almond butter, nut butters, peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and oats in a sealed container for easy transport. Or you could buy a pre-made variety like The Pure Bar made with nuts, figs and fruit for healthy hiking snacks ideas.
Another option is to pack dried fruits such as raisins, apricots and apples. Dried fruits provide energy without adding too many calories and fat.
Trail mix is another great choice for healthy hiking snacks ideas because it contains all kinds of nuts, dried fruits and chocolate chips – everything you need for a tasty snack on a hike.
Just avoid trail mixes with added sugars or high sodium content if possible.
4. Oatmeal breakfast bars:
These bars are perfect for a nice, hearty breakfast that’ll carry you through an invigorating hike. And they’re also very easy to make—you probably have all of these ingredients on hand.
Simply mix together 1 cup quick oats, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (or both!), 1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins (or both!), 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and pinch salt in a bowl.
Press into a baking dish lined with parchment paper or plastic wrap; chill until firm, about 30 minutes. Cut into 12 pieces before serving; store leftovers in an airtight container in your fridge for up to one week.
5. Energy drinks:
It’s true that energy drinks can boost your energy, but they’re packed with sugar—and your body doesn’t need any more of that.
Plain old water is enough to hydrate you while hiking, says Health contributing nutrition editor Cynthia Sass.
If you want an extra boost, Sass recommends looking for a naturally energizing drink like coconut water or coconut milk kefir.
You could also try a smoothie made with these ingredients; just be sure it has less than 100 calories.
For example, she suggests blending together one cup of plain nonfat Greek yogurt, one cup frozen mixed berries (or other fruit), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed.
The protein in Greek yogurt helps keep blood sugar stable, plus flaxseed contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
In this article, you’ve learned about delicious and healthy hiking snacks options. We hope you enjoyed our suggestions for easy hiking snacks. We’d love to hear from you in a comment below or on social media. Have a great trip to your next destination!