New Ideas for Hiking Snacks

New ideas for hiking snacks

An important part of any hike is the food! Hiking burns an enormous amount of energy and you need the right calories and nutrients to keep going. If you’re like me, you’re probably sick of trail mix and granola bars and you’re here because you want to mix it up. Hiking snacks should be lightweight and carry a variety of nutritional value. I always carry something high in protein, carbohydrates, something sweet, and something salty. Here are my favorites!

what foods to bring on a day hike

Welch’s Fruit Snacks

I don’t go on a hike without a few of these gummy packs. They have very similar nutrients as the expensive gummies at REI, but about a fraction of the cost. These are great because you can eat them on the move and the sugar gives you an energy boost to keep going.

Welch's fruit snacks are great for hiking

Quantum Energy Squares

Each bar has the equivalent of a cup of coffee in it. A perfect pick me up for a long day on the trail and they taste delicious. Each bar has 10 grams of plant-based protein. They are gluten, dairy and soy free and vegan friendly. A lot of caffeine and sugary foods are designed to give you an energy boost, but is usually followed by an energy crash. Not these bars though. They are designed to deliver the fuel reserves you need to elevate performance, from start to finish. This is known as slow-burn energy. Get 25% off your first order by clicking here.

Quantum Energy Squares are a great choice for hiking snacks

Meat and Cheese

Who doesn’t love a charcuterie board? It’s even better on a mountain and it’s packed with protein and good fats, making it great fuel for your hike. Hard cheeses, such as cheddar, gouda, or parmesan, won’t spoil without refrigeration. If that still makes you uncomfortable you could go with moon cheese or cheese crisps. For meat, a hard/dry salami with natural casing is best. If it’s just a day hike, pre-cutting the cheese and salami is fine, but if you’re backpacking, bring them whole to maximize the shelf-life. Pair it with some crackers for a carbohydrate replenishment. If you want to make it fancy, pack a handful of grapes.

best cheeses to bring hiking

Chocolate Covered Cranberries

Dried cranberries have a lot of antioxidants in them which helps reduce inflammation. The chocolate will keep your energy levels high. Not to mention they are delicious and easy to eat on the go.

Sandwich or Pizza

PB&J, PB & Nutella, deli meat, tuna fish - the options are endless, but you can really get creative. Bacon in a sandwich makes it a 1000 times better.

My favorite sandwich, pictured below, is artisan wheat bread, garlic & herb cheese spread, turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, red pepper jelly. I know that last ingredient sounds weird, but it really makes the whole sandwich.

Another favorite is turkey, tomato, thinly sliced cucumber, chive & onion cream cheese, micro greens or alfalfa sprouts either wrapped in a wheat wrap or on a wheat bagel.

Not into sandwiches? Order a pizza the night before your hike, wrap the leftovers in tin foil, and enjoy on the mountain.

Dried Apricots

Dried apricots have a lot of nutritional value, but most important for hiking, is the high amount of potassium. Potassium is an electrolyte which prevents dehydration and cramping. Have you ever had a muscle in your leg cramp on a hike? It’s the absolute worst.

Dried Bananas

Banana’s are another great source of potassium, but they usually get smooched and bruised in your backpack. Dried bananas still offer great nutritional value, but are easier to carry. Don't confuse dried bananas with banana chips. Banana chips are loaded with oil, sugar and artificial flavors that aren't great for you. Look for the unadulterated dried fruit.

Nut Butter Packets

Nut butters are great for hiking because they are high in protein, healthy fats, and contain plenty of calories. A salted nut butter will replenish sodium that is lost through sweating. Overall nut butters will give you lots of energy to push you up the mountain.

Snack ideas for hiking, nut butters.

Think Bars

Going on a really long hike and need more protein? These bars are packed with 20 grams. The most amount of protein I have found packed into a bar. They have zero grams of sugar and no artificial sweeteners making them an all around good choice.

high protein snack for hiking

Chips or Pretzels

A lot of sodium is lost when you sweat so pick your favorite salty snack to munch on. I like to dip my pretzels in Nutella.

Gu Energy Gel

I always carry an emergency Gu in my backpack because they are lightweight and give a huge boost of energy. It’s a great thing to have if someone becomes dehydrated or injured. If you’re doing an extreme hike like the Presidential Traverse or Grand Canyon Rim to Rim, add a Gu pack or two into your calories for the day. The chocolate and coffee flavors are the best.

Gu Energy Gel for calorie replenishment while hiking

Nuun Tabs

Not a snack, but a great electrolyte replenishment. On hikes, longer than 6 miles, I add two Nuun tabs to a Nalgene and sip on it throughout the hike to stay hydrated.

Nuun tabs to keep you hydrated while hiking

Trail Mix, but Make It Festive

Add goodies depending on what holiday is nearest. Here's a few of my favs, but I alter the recipes a bit to keep some of the healthy stuff like nuts or dried cranberries.

Trail mix ideas for hiking

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