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Best trail snacks and best snacks to take while hiking | Kate's Real Food

Fuel Your Adventures with Healthy Hiking Snacks

Believe it or not, when it comes to hiking, one of the most important aspects to consider is nutrition and what you eat on a hike. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, knowing the right snacks to take while hiking can make all the difference. 

Hiking burns a lot of calories, so it’s important to pack the right kind of snacks to keep your energy up on the trail. The right snacks can provide you with sustenance, while the wrong snacks can leave you feeling sluggish and depleted. So, you might be wondering, what should you eat on a hike? 

You’ll want to bring enough food to sustain your energy levels throughout your hike. As a general rule of thumb, plan to bring about 200-300 calories of food per hour of hiking. This can vary depending on factors such as your age, weight, and level of exertion.

It’s always a good idea to be prepared with extra snacks in case you’re out longer than you anticipate (these are great for sharing too!). 

Keep reading to learn about some of the best hiking snacks that will keep you going on your next outdoor trek and fuel you for adventures to come. 

What Makes a Good Hiking Snack?

The best snacks for hiking generally have a mix of the following traits:

Shelf-stable: Unless you plan to eat your snacks quickly or carry a small ice-pack, you’ll want to carry non-perishable snacks. 

Calorie-dense: How many calories you need to consume will depend on if you are planning a day hike or overnight backpacking trip. Either way, you’ll want to prioritize snacks that are higher in calories. That way you can carry less while still obtaining the same nutritional value. 

Lightweight: Look for snacks with minimal packaging and ones that aren’t heavy or bulky so they don’t take up unnecessary space in your hiking pack. 

Healthy: Food packed with protein, simple carbohydrates, natural sugars, and healthy fats are the way to go. Healthy fats and protein will give you long-lasting energy on the trail.

Hiking Snack Ideas

For a hike or day trip, you can pack perishable foods but non-perishable food is still recommended as they are relatively lightweight and nutrient dense.

Hands-down, one of the best hiking snacks is trail mix. A mixture of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and sometimes a chocolatey treat, it’s easy to make on your own or you can find pre-made options at most grocery stores. 

Another popular hiking snack is jerky, which is a high-protein option that can help keep you full for a longer period of time. For those with a slightly sweeter tooth, energy bars or dried fruit can be a great option. 

Bars are also a classic hiking snack, and for good reason. They are calorie dense, easy to store, and come in small packages making them some of the best energy food for hiking

We recommend keeping a few stashed in your hiking pack at all times, just in case! There are so many bar options out there including granola bars, energy bars, protein bars and more. Keeping several on hand can be beneficial, so you don’t get sick of one brand. 

How Much Food to Bring Backpacking?

It’s more challenging to pack food for days at a time. The first day you’ll be able to eat perishable foods but after that you’ll want to focus on shelf-stable, easily-packed basics. 

If you commit to an overnight backpacking trip, you’ll need to bring even more food to sustain your energy levels over multiple days and you’ll likely bring more than just snacks for long hikes. Plan to bring about 1.5 - 2 pounds of food per person per day. 

It’s helpful to break down your meals into calories per day. For example, the average hiker should plan to pack at least 25-30 calories worth of food per pound of body weight for every day you’re moving. 

In terms of what to pack, the general guidelines are similar to day hiking. You want energizing, convenient, appetizing food that is lightweight, non-perishable, calorie dense and easy to prepare or eat straight out of the packaging. 

Backpacking food ideas will look similar to nutritious hiking snacks.

  • Trail mix
  • Dried fruit
  • Granola bars or energy bars
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beef jerky

How to Eat Healthy While Backpacking

Eating healthy while backpacking or hiking can easily be done when you plan ahead. Convenience and weight is high on the priority list for hikers and backpackers, so you’ll want to balance that need with options that provide high-energy and nutrition through whole foods. Fueling your body with wholesome ingredients can help you feel better, happier, and enable you to tackle more miles. 

Fresh fruit is refreshing and can provide quick energy on the trail, but is not necessary. If you do prefer to pack fresh fruit, we recommend selecting durable fruits like oranges and apples. We also recommend minimizing how much you bring since you’ll be packing it out, following leave no trace principles

Choosing the right hiking snacks will make a big difference in your outdoor adventures. Whether you’re looking for high energy snacks or nutritious options, there are plenty of choices available. Whether you’re going on a day hike or backpacking for multiple days, be sure to bring enough food to sustain your energy levels.

Remember, it’s important to bring snacks that are easy to pack, won’t spoil quickly, and will provide your body with the energy it needs. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to fuel your adventure with the best trail snacks and make the most of your time in the great outdoors. If you’re looking for a delicious energy bar for your next hike or workout – look no further than Kate’s Real Food. Our various flavored snack bars are packed with nutrients and organic ingredients that provide long-last fuel for all your adventures.