Looking for well-sourced, healthy hiking snacks? As a very health-conscious and frankly, a very blood sugar-sensitive family, we’re very picky about the hiking snacks we trek with. On top of that, we don’t want instant oatmeal and the such. We want real, tasty food which is why we decided to round up a list of our absolute favorite healthy hiking snacks.
This blog is packed full of hiking snacks that are full of macronutrients, will keep your blood sugar steady, and will fuel you on strenuous trails.
If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to snack on M&M’s and Doritos on the trail, read on and you’ll find 10+ amazing well-sourced foods perfect for your next trail..
I try my best to plan so that my family always has healthy foods to eat while we are hiking. It’s important to have a mix of sweet, salty, and high-fat snacks to fuel your body while hiking.
If you are hiking with kids, or even if you notice that you tend to get low blood sugar easily, I recommend not hiking with too much sugar. While you are ascending or doing a very long, strenuous hike, you will be able to tolerate a little more sugar. If you notice your kids getting tired or cranky, give them a little sweet treat followed by some protein and fat.
We hike a lot and typically it involves summiting a mountain or reaching an alpine lake. We eat very little on the way up but then sit at the top and enjoy a huge picnic. I notice that my younger kids do very well with just a bar or a package of seaweed on the way up. There have been many times where I’ve bribed them with marshmallows or candy and they almost always end up with a bellyache.
The key is nutrient timing. Sugar is great after exertion but it must be followed with protein and fat.
These are the 12 go-to healthy hiking snacks that we bring with us on the trail.
1 | Healthy Hiking Food Bars
Having a good bar while on the trail is a must for our family. The challenge for me is finding a bar that doesn’t have gluten, soy, or dairy.
It’s hard to pick an absolute favorite food bar because it really depends on the person, their build, their dietary needs, and their type of digestion. These are our favorite food bars for hiking, broken down by macronutrients.
One bar isn’t better than the other, but certain bars and specific nutrient ratios might do better for your body than others. And, depending on the activity you are doing, you may need more fat protein or carbs.
I need more carbs than most so before I go surf, Bobo Bars are my go-to, but when I hike, I need more protein so Go Macro works better for me.
- Go Macro – Calories 290, Fat 11 grams, Carbs 39 grams, Sugars 14 grams, Protein 11 grams – Get 25% off with code nomadswithapurpose
- Bobo Bars – Calories 340, Fat 12 grams, Carbs 52 grams, Sugars 16 grams, Protein 6 grams
That is one of the things we do with our personal training program. Reach out to us if you want to figure out what diet works best for you and your sports so you can push your hardest.
2 | Chips
We love having a salty snack halfway through our hikes especially because that is usually when we are at the summit of a hike.
Whenever possible, look for chips without bad oils. We typically stay away from canola oil however, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid. Our favorite chips are the Salt & Vinegar or Barbeque Style potato chips from Trader Joes’.
If you aren’t gluten-free, peanut butter pretzels are a good snack for hiking too.
When we can’t get to specialty stores to find the perfect chips, we buy tortilla chips or Fritos because even though they have non-ideal oils, there are only three ingredients, making them the healthiest choice available.
Nuts are a great way to deliver fat to your body and eating healthy fat while hiking does wonders for stabilizing your blood sugar and providing you with long-term energy.
My favorite nut for hiking is pistachios. We sometimes carry almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and Brazil nuts.
What about trail mix?
Trail mix can also be good on a hike depending on the ratio of nuts to dried fruit. Most trail mixes I’ve found have way too much sugar and the fruit is often loaded with added sugar or soy.
If you love trail mix, you might want to make your mix with a reasonable ratio of dried cranberries, raisins, cherries, apricots, etc. A proportion like the one we showed in the image above does well for us.
4 | Dried Mangos
Like I said, you don’t want too much sugar but sugar is still an essential hiking snack for high performance on the trail as long as you time it right.
We rarely eat dried fruit, however, Costco now sells an organic dried mango that is delicious and seems to metabolize well on ascents for our highly blood sugar-sensitive family.
Tati also likes to hike with a small box of SunMade raisins. I think she does fine with a few but she does always follow it with a few almonds to keep her blood sugar even.
5 | Protein
It’s nice to carry some form of protein when you hike but finding a protein source that isn’t loaded with sugar can be hard. For us, we only buy protein that is gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo, and Keto. All three of these protein sources abide by those labels but overall we just like that these 3 products don’t have any fake ingredients and taste like real, dense protein that provides energy:
- Boikeys Biltong– This is the only type of beef jerky we like
- Salami – I love the red wine salami from Trader Joes’ or the BEST is Olli Salami.
- Vermont Smoke and Cure – These meat sticks are great because they are well-sourced, have good flavors, and come in all different meat styles from pork to turkey, and beef.
6 | Fruit
Our go-to fruit for hiking is preferably oranges but occasionally apples are okay too. Fructose can be hard to digest so you may not want to eat fruit while you are hiking and save it for when you sit and rest.
7 | Chocolate
I love a few squares of chocolate while I am hiking, but finding chocolate without soy can be a challenge.
Our favorite brand is Nibble Chocolate (Get 5% off with code NOMADSWITHAPURPOSE), but we also buy the Trader Joes brand chocolate bars. They are only $2 a bar and don’t contain soy.
8 | Coffee
We love having a cup of coffee on the trail. We have a few different ways to make coffee in the backcountry.
One is by carrying a Jet Boil Java Kit with coffee beans and a grinder.
You could go one step further, which we do sometimes, and bring the Jet Boil to heat water, whole coffee beans, a grinder, and GSI’s pour-over kit.
9 | Liquid Electrolytes
This is our savior on strenuous hikes. Liquid electrolytes are like drinking a Gatorade but without all the harmful dyes. Electrolytes allow your muscles to hold onto water, prevent muscle cramping, and improve muscular function.
Instead of mixing it with our water, we just squirt 5-10 pumps directly into our mouth and chase it with water. It helps so much when we are climbing steep mountains or if it is a long hike.
We hope this blog gave you some great ideas on some great healthy hiking snacks! If we missed your favorite healthy hiking snacks or if you have questions, let us know in the comments!
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