When preparing for a hike, one of the most important things to think about is the types of snacks you are going to bring. During our hikes, we love to sit in a nice area and eat - whether it be near a stream or river or in a nice clear path in the woods. It’s a great time to catch up, replenish, connect, and enjoy nature with the group. You notice all types of things when you are still in nature – from the salamanders & snakes to the caterpillars & various birds, you really get a chance to see all the life that we share with outdoors. On the contrary, there is nothing worse than being hungry or dehydrated out on the trail without anything to eat.
We’re going to list our favorite hiking snacks and how we determine what type of food to bring.
Here are some things to consider before you pack:
· The distance of the hike
· Elevation gain
· How long will the hike take (how many hours)
· Hike difficulty
The answers to these questions all determine how much and what types of snacks to bring. For instance, with a short and easy hike, you’ll be fine with packing some fruit and water. But on a long hike or a hike where you’ll burning a lot of calories, you’ll want to bring enough high-energy food to fuel and replenish your body. And no matter what, always bring water.
What makes a good hiking snack?
Relatively Lightweight: Carrying light snacks allows you to have what you want without the extra weight on your back. You have to keep in mind that you’re literally carrying these items on your back so each pound counts!
Portable and Packable: Since you’re most likely going to be carrying your snacks in a backpack, its best if you pack items that won’t take up a lot of space or get smashed around in the bag.
Nutrition: You definitely need to be able to replenish the calories you burn and keep your blood sugar level up during and after hikes. Many people underestimate how important it is to eat a good breakfast before the start of a hike and even forget to pack things for the actual hike. Snacks that pack a lot of calories in small servings are ideal. A good balance of carbohydrates for quick energy, and fats & protein for endurance sustainability. It’s also best if your snacks don’t require refrigeration (on longer hikes).
Minimal packaging: The less packaging you take out on the trail, the less trash you’ll end up having. Fruits are amongst our favorite snacks because you never have to worry about trash…they’re biodegradable!
Our Favorite Snacks for Hiking
Nuts of any kind are great hiking snacks.They're are a great snack at the start of the hike or whenever you're in need of a quick snack on the trail. Small and compact, you can easily pack them in your backpack, pockets, or fanny pack for quick access. Or store them for your longer hikes.
Naturally high in healthy fats and antioxidants, nuts promotes hearth health and can help lower the chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease.
Nuts also promote long term weight loss because they help reduce hunger and the desire to eat while increasing fullness- proving to be a great healthy snack! The high fat + protein + fiber content of most nuts work together to provide long term satisfaction.
Examples: pistachios, almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, etc
2. Fresh Fruit
Fruits are naturally on the list of best snacks for hiking. Easily digestible and often low in saturated fats, salt, and sugar, fruits can give you the energy boost you need when feeling a little light headed on the trails.
One reason people may feel lightheaded while hiking is because of dramatic increase in blood pressure; especially for our first time hikers! No worries, that is just your body getting adjusted to the workout. Take a break, and eat an apple. Your blood pressure will start to reduce and you'll feel better in a matter of seconds.
Fruits help you maintain good health and help reduce blood cholesterol levels. They also provide essential nutrients that are often under consumed such as fiber, vitamins C, and A.
3. Sea Salt Chips
Chips are a great snack during any activity but especially during a hike. Pick any flavor of chips of your choosing and make sure you do not leave your trash behind when you're done eating.
4. Granola – Protein Bars
Protein rich granola bars make sure a great recovery snack during and after a hike. Most granola bars contain 100-300 calories, 1-10 grams of protein, 1-7 grams of fiber, and a variety of micronutrients including B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and iron in a single bar serving.
Pack a few of these in your backpack and you will be ready for your hike!
If all else fails, PACK WATER. Water is the most important item to bring with you while hiking. No matter how short the trail is, you never want to find yourself without water. One of the benefits of being outdoors is that you burn a lot of calories. Water helps maintain your body temperature and keeps you hydrated while on on hike.
What are your favorite hiking snacks? Let us know in the comments below!
Until then, happy hiking!