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. There’s nothing better than spending a day in the 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.
What makes an energizing snack?
The right hiking snacks are the key to optimal energy and performance. Ideally a hiking snack should include healthy carbs, like the ones found in whole grains, fruit or veggies. Carbohydrates are the main energy source for endurance activities like hiking.
Hiking snacks also need to be portable, able to withstand hours in your backpack and 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 this essential electrolyte lost in your sweat. Or whip up a batch of homemade sports drink and bring it along on the hike.
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Now it’s time to pack some food and get moving! These snack suggestions are perfect fuel to keep you going.
1. Trail Mix
A mix of dried fruit and nuts is a great, energizing snack. Nuts are high in calories, protein, and fat to fill you up and give you lasting energy. 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. The juice helps with hydration and the fruit sugar is a good source of quick energy.
You probably know that bananas are rich in natural sugar, which is necessary when you’re moving for hours on end. Bananas are also packed with potassium, an electrolyte that is lost in sweat. Replacing potassium is important for staying hydratetd during strenuous exercise.
4. Peanut Butter & Jelly or Honey Sandwich
The fat and protein from the nut butter will help to fill you up and give you the calories and energy you need. 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 another good carb sources and an easy food to prep and eat on the run. Add some fruit or syrup for extra quick energy and a drizzle of nut butter for some protein.
Looking for a recipe? Check out these No Added Sugar Blueberry Pancakes.
While pasta may be challenging to eat during a hike, it makes a great lunch and acts as an easy to digest source of energy. If you’re not in love with the idea of eating cold pasta, whip up a pasta salad. 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 lost in sweat. If you love savory snacks, throw a bag of pretzels in your pack.
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 break for lunch at some point, and when you do you’ll be happy that you have crunchy carrots with protein-rich hummus. The combo will get you nutrients and energy and fill you up for the descent.
Dried cranberries, otherwise know as craisins, are packed with antioxidants to fight off inflammation. They also have some natural and added sugar to give you an energy boost. And they are shelf stable, so they won’t go bad in your bag.
10. Dried mango
I love dried mango. 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.
These dried grapes aren’t just for kids! Raisins are naturally sweet, easy to eat and a great source of quick acting energy.
12. Chocolate Covered Almonds
Almonds contain two important nutrients that help fill your rumbling tummy–protein and healthy fats. The protein also works to repair and replenish tired muscles. Go ahead and have some carb-rich chocolate too because it will help keep energy levels high throughout the hike.
Dates are high in calories and potassium and are another good source of quick energy. Try stuffing them with almonds or nut butter for added energy and protein.
14. Applesauce squeeze packets
These are easy to eat on a hike and a perfect way to give you the energy boost you may need.
15. 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
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. To learn more about beet juice for athletes, watch this video.
18. Energy Balls
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!
Peanut Butter Pretzel Date Ball
Tahini Maple Oat Ball
Chocolate Almond Energy Ball
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
If you haven’t tried packaged dried cheese, you do not know what you’re missing. New products like Moon Cheese or Parm 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.
Sandwiches are such a good idea on hikes but I always forget to make one, I always default to a bar of some kind. I’ve got to remember that one!
Thanks Jenna! I like the idea of bringing leftover pancakes with me on a hike. Whenever I make them I always make too many so that’s a clever way to use them again. Also, frozen grapes is a fun one 🙂
I am considering leftover french toast with like ts of cinnamon! Higher in protein. Maybe toaster waffles?
Both sound like great options! As long as you don’t mind eating them cold.