9 of the Best Snacks to Pack for a Day Hike
There’s more to a fun, successful hike than lacing up a pair of trail shoes — it also requires plenty of nutritious (and tasty!) snacks.
The best snacks for a day hike are healthy and portable, and they provide the energy you need to climb a mountain or navigate your way through the woods. They should also be able to stand up to the heat — you don’t want to weigh down your bag with an insulated cooler or ice packs.
Before you venture into the great outdoors, stash some of these great hiking snacks in your day pack.
Energy bars and protein bars are perfectly portable and snackable. Look for bars that contain at least 10 grams of protein per serving and are made with natural sweeteners, such as honey and dates. Be wary of lengthy ingredient labels, added sugars and syrups, and artificial sweeteners. Or make your own Super Seed Energy Bars before you go.
Jerky is an excellent source of protein per serving, and it won’t weigh down your backpack — just be sure to read the nutrition label and look for varieties with lower sodium and no added nitrates. Or think outside the beef-and-turkey box and try this homemade Salmon Jerky recipe.
With a name like trail mix, it’d be a shame to not bring this snack out on the trails with you. The best trail mixes combine flavors and textures — sweet and salty, crunchy and chewy. Make your own by mixing portioned nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate chips with yummy add-ons like peanut butter chips, wasabi peas, or whole-grain cereal. Or try this recipe for trail mix-inspired Dark Chocolate Superfood Bites.
This satisfying, crunchy snack isn’t just for movie watching — there’s a gram of fiber in each cup of air-popped popcorn, along with healthy antioxidants. Pop your own at home and flavor with spices and dried herbs for a clean-eating snack.
While not as exciting as trail mix, plain nuts are a great source of energy (and they have heart-healthy benefits, too). If you like sweet or spicy nuts, consider making them at home — we love this Cinnamon Roasted Almonds recipe — so you can skip out on the artificial flavors and sweeteners often found in store-bought versions.
Snack-wise, it doesn’t get much simpler than fresh fruit. Pack whole fruits like apples, bananas, or pears for your hike, along with a squeezable packet of nut butter for dipping. Or fill a small spill-proof container with a refreshing homemade Tropical Fruit Salad with Coconut to help you cool off during a sweaty summer hike.
Unlike lunch meat or egg salad, this classic lunch sammie is shelf-stable — which is hugely important for full-day hikes. Whip up some homemade peanut butter in five minutes or less, or substitute a nut butter like cashew, walnut, or almond butter.
Add extra protein to a batch of homemade muffins by adding protein powder, quinoa, chickpeas, black beans, or nut butter. These pumpkin protein muffins have 6 grams of protein per muffin, thanks to whey protein, egg whites, and almond butter.
If you didn’t sneak some chocolate chips into your trail mix already, pack a few squares of dark chocolate, or whip up this Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Spread to treat yourself with a portioned sweet reward at the summit.