The 5 Best Hiking Snacks Everyone Will Love
Sometimes, eating the right foods for energy gain can taste like you’ve stolen food from your pet rabbit’s dish. But good snacks for hiking don’t have to be boring.
In fact, the best hiking snacks are totally customizable, like the always classic trail mix.
Whether it’s your first time hitting the trails or you’re a seasoned expert, it’s always good to get some fresh ideas. Non-perishable, light snacks are the best options, because they’ll last for any duration and won’t go bad if it’s a sunny day.
Always make sure you’re packing high energy snacks for hiking in any condition, for any duration of time. Here are a few different types of options you can try.
1. Lightweight Snacks, Heavy Flavors
The best snacks for hiking are the ones that will give you enough energy to get through your hike slowing you down. These foods will take a little bit of prep, but they’re perfect high energy snacks for hiking.
Canned tuna and crackers are great if you want to sit down for a nice snack and take a breather. If you can’t stomach tuna on its own, you can bring a packet of mayonnaise from a fast food restaurant that won’t perish as quickly.
Sliced fruit will last for a few hours if you’re going on a day hike. Cutting it up before you go saves you the weight of the fruit and keeps it from being jostled around in your backpack.
Peanut butter is another option that requires a little bit of prep, because you’re not bringing the entire jar with you. You’ll have to portion it into a container and pack something to go with it, like crackers or apples.
Hard cheese and crackers is a good snack for hiking if you’ve got the time to cut up the cheese. Harder cheeses like old cheddar tend to last longer without being refrigerated, so if you’re out for just a few hours they’ll be fine.
2. Trail Mix
Trail mix is the ultimate best hiking snack of all time. It’s a high energy snack that will keep you going throughout your day. The best part about making your own trail mix is that you can put whatever you want in it.
Your homemade trail mix should include a balance between complex carbs, sugars, and protein. Think nuts, dried fruits, pretzels, crackers, or dried cereal.
Homemade Trail Mix Recipes
Here are a few winning combinations you’ll want to eat even when you’re not on the trails:
The classic: raisins, peanuts, and M&M’s.
The s’more: mini marshmallows, granola, peanuts, and chocolate chips.
The movie night: air popped popcorn, dried apricots, almonds, and raisins.
The spicy kick: dried wasabi peas, cashews, peanuts, raisins, and dried cranberries.
The breakfast mix: cheerios, Chex cereal, peanuts, raisins, and cashews.
The autumn mix: pumpkin seeds, dried apple, caramel chocolate chips, and pecans.
3. Nut-Free Options for Allergic Hikers
Many who don’t have nut allergies don’t know how hard it is to find trail mix or granola bars that fill you up but don’t contain nuts. The best solution is to make your own mixes so you can guarantee that nothing is contaminated.
Here’s the bright side. You can make a snack mix from just about anything.
Pretzels, crackers, and dry cereal are perfect complex carbs that will help you replenish energy. They also mix well with tons of other snack options, so you can mix and match as often as you want.
Dried fruit will add the fiber you need and compliment the carb options. Other nut-free options are air popped popcorn, candy, chocolate, and dried oats. Some people who are allergic to nuts are also allergic to some seeds, so if you’re not, you can try different kinds of those.
4. For Extended Backpacking Trips
If your hiking trip is going to last more than the afternoon, you’ll need to bring options that will satisfy you for meals. The trick is that they can’t be perishable, but they need to have enough nutrients to keep you full and energized.
How long is your hike? If it’s long enough that you’re taking a ton of utensils with you, you can make pasta or noodles by boiling water over a campfire.
Other options for longer duration include canned foods like beans, dried soups, canned meat or fish, and dehydrated or freeze dried vegetables.
5. Store Bought Grab-and-Go
Sometimes you don’t have time to make your own trail mix or homemade snacks. In that case, you want something you can just grab from the store and take with you.
Dried fruit is great for the trails because almost every grocery or convenience store sells it and it usually comes in resealable packages. It has enough fiber to keep you moving, and you can get so many different varieties.
Protein or energy bars are an option if you’re in a hurry, but beware of the ones that contain too much sugar or a ton of calories. Energy bars are designed for athletes and people who are trying to bulk up for athletic purposes.
Chances are, you’re not burning off enough energy on your hike to really justify them and it won’t have the effect you want. Limit this option only to in-a-pinch situations.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends beef jerky as one of the best snacks for hiking. It’s a great, delicious way to fill up on protein, and you’ll be able to throw it in your backpack and head out. No preparation necessary.
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