The 20 best healthy hiking snacks that are easy to pack and carry. All the options are vegan and vegetarian and provide long-lasting energy for an intense hike!
Hiking is my second favorite form of exercise (next to running). There’s nothing better than spending a day in outdoors, breathing in fresh mountain air, getting some good exercise and being rewarded with an awesome view. But reaching the top of the mountain isn’t doable without the proper fuel.
Since you’ll be carrying a pack on your hike, make sure you are prepared with these portable trail snacks.
What makes a good hiking snack?
A hiking snack should have the right balance of nutrients to keep you satiated and provide long lasting energy. The key component for high energy hiking snacks is healthy carbs. Carbohydrates are the main energy source for long endurance activities, like hiking.
Since hiking is a long and arduous activity, you also want a nutrient that will keep you full and doesn’t digest too quickly. Pairing carbs with protein is a great way to have lasting energy and keep blood sugar levels steady.
Hiking snacks also need to be portable, so they can withstand a road trip, hours in your backpack for a day hike, or camping in the wilderness. And they should be easy to eat while moving.
And don’t forget to bring plenty of water and hydrate regularly during your hike. If it’s an especially hot day or you’re an extra sweaty person, consider adding a pinch of salt to your water to replenish the sodium lost in your sweat. Or whip up a batch of homemade sports drink and bring it along on the hike.
Now it’s time to pack some food and get moving! These snack suggestions are the perfect fuel to keep you going.
1. Trail Mix
A mix of dried fruit, oats and nuts is a great, energizing snack. Nuts are high in calories, protein, and fat to fill you up and give you lasting energy. Oats and dried fruit, like bananas or raisins, are a good source of quick energy and easily digestible carbs. They’re also a good source of potassium to help replenish your electrolytes.
If you want to make your own trail mix, check out my recipe for a Blueberry Maple Walnut Trail Mix.
2. Orange Slices
Slice up an orange to throw in a Ziploc snack bag, especially for hiking in hot weather. The potassium in the juice is an electrolyte that is lost in sweat and helps with hydration. The natural sugar from the fruit is a good source of quick energy. Pair this with some nuts or roasted chickpeas to add some protein.
Bananas are rich in natural sugar, which is necessary for intense endurance activities, like trekking through the moutains. Bananas are also packed with potassium, an electrolyte that is lost in sweat.
It’s not enough to just drink water when you’re sweating intensely for a long period of time. Taking in electrolytes, like potassium, is important for staying hydrated during strenuous exercise.
4. Peanut Butter & Jelly or Honey Sandwich
Although you may think of this as lunch, a small PBJ sandwich can give you the little oomph of energy you need to get you up (and down) the mountain. The fat and protein from the nut butter ill you up and provide the calories and energy you need for sustained movement. The jelly or honey and bread are good sources of carbs that serve as a quick-acting source of fuel.
Made a big stack of pancakes for breakfast? Pack the extras in a baggie and throw them in your backpack!
Pancakes are rich in carbs and easy to prep and eat while on the trail. Add some fruit or syrup to increase the carbs and a drizzle of nut butter for some protein.
Looking for a recipe? Check out these No Added Sugar Blueberry Pancakes.
It may seem like eating pasta during a hike is challenging, but a simple pasta salad with just a drizzle of oil and some veggies is actually a great hiking snack. Since pasta is mostly carbs, it’s easily digestible and tasty to eat.
Just throw together your favorite type of pasta with chopped veggies and a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice.
This salty starchy snack provides two things you need on a hike– easy to digest carbohydrates and sodium. If you love savory snacks, throw a bag of pretzels in your pack. Make sure you bring plenty of water too!
8. Carrots and hummus
Okay, I’ll admit that carrots and hummus are not exactly easy to eat while climbing a mountain. But chances are that you will take a break at some point, and when you do you’ll be happy that you have crunchy carrots with protein-rich hummus. The combo provides nutrients and energy to fill you up for the descent.
Dried cranberries, otherwise know as craisins, are packed with antioxidants to fight off post-hike inflammation. They also have some natural and added sugar to give you an energy boost. And they are shelf stable, so they can stay in your bag for hours (or days).
10. Dried mango
Dried mango is one of my favorite varieties of dried fruit. It’s sweet without any added sugar (look for the no sugar added varieties), and it’s a good source of digestible carbs and Vitamin C. Not to mention that eating dried mango makes you feel like you’re in the tropics.
Pair dried fruit with a protein, such as one of the energy bar or energy bite recipes below. The combo of these nutrients keeps you fuller longer. And no one wants a rumbling stomach on the trail.
Dried grapes aren’t just for kids! Raisins are naturally sweet, easy to eat and a great source of quick-acting carbohydrates. Mix them with something salty, like pretzels or peanuts, for a sweet and salty treat.
12. Chocolate Covered Almonds
Almonds contain two important nutrients that help keep you satiated–protein and healthy fats. Eating protein also reduces muscle damage from a long strenuous hike.
Covering almonds in carb-rich chocolate is like a double whammy because it provides the energy you need to keep going. Not to mention that everyone loves chocolate!
Dates are high in calories, carbs and potassium, making them another backpack snack for hikers. Try stuffing them with almonds or nut butter for added power and protein.
14. Applesauce squeeze packets
Applesauce comes in handy squeeze packets that are shelf stable and often mixed with other tasty fruits, like mango or strawberries. These are easy to eat on a hike and a perfect way to give you the energy boost you may need.
15. (Homemade) Energy bars
Energy bars, such as Clif, KIND and RX Bars combine carbs, fat, and protein to provide long lasting energy. They are lightweight and easy to carry. Or if you prefer to make your own, whip up a batch of these No-Bake Blueberry Granola Bars.
16. Frozen Grapes
One of my favorite hacks for hot weather hikes is to freeze fruit the night before. It won’t stay frozen for long in your backpack, but hopefully it’s still cold by the time you eat it!
Frozen grapes are cool and refreshing, especially on a hot summer day. They provide water for hydration and fruit sugar for quick energy.
17. Beet Juice
Beets are another good source of potassium, helping to replace your lost electrolytes. Studies have shown beets to help improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, increase oxygen flow to muscles, and enhance exercise tolerance during long-term endurance exercise.
If you opt for beet juice, pair it with another food on this list. Also, beware that it has an earthy flavor and many athletes don’t love the taste. To learn more about beet juice for athletes, watch this video.
18. Energy Bites
Energy balls have the word “energy” right in the name. They are generally made with dates and nuts, and I have a few varieties that I think you will love. Check them out!
Popcorn is actually a whole grain snack that has protein and fiber. Rather than buying bags of popcorn that are flavored with butter, salt and artificial ingredients, buy the kernels and microwave them in a paper bag. Add some oil and salt for extra flavor!
20. Dried Cheese
You don’t know what you’re missing if you haven’t tried packaged dried cheese. New products like Moon Cheese or Parmhttps://amzn.to/43zRGM5 Crisps are changing the game in the snack department. They are dried cheese snacks that have a ton of protein and taste so darn good.