Health Nut: Best Snacks for Day Hikes

By Kelly Turner

You and your crew have been hiking all day, enjoying the beautiful, lush forests of the Pacific Northwest. Your tummy starts rumbling so you find a gorgeous place to plop down and enjoy your … protein bar? How anticlimactic.

A beautiful view calls for a beautiful spread, full of healthy options to satisfy not only your nutritional needs, but your palate’s needs. Maybe even a snack worthy of Instagramming.

Think beyond the usual boring trail mix and processed, sugary meal replacements created purely for convenience on your next hike. While snacks will curb hunger, they also serve the important purpose of fueling your body during your arduous ascent.

When looking for healthy snacks to pack along, you’ll want to think about durability, nutrition quality and, of course, the deliciousness factor.

Carbohydrates are number one on the list for endurance activities, like hiking, as they supply the body with energy to keep you moving without slowing down. Protein and healthy fats are next on the list and will go a long way to keeping you sated and supplying your body with vital nutrients.

It is recommended you pack half- to one-pound of food per person for each day. Stock up on the following easy-to-carry, and even-easier-to-eat, snacks that will keep you fueled and full without weighing you down.

Great snack packs!

Fruit is always a great snack.

Beef jerky is a delicious, protein-packed, meaty snack made for the trails. Look for minimally processed varieties, low in nitrates and sodium. For an even leaner option, look for turkey or even ostrich (I’m not kidding) jerky.

Tuna in pouches already comes drained, so you can just rip it open and eat on the go. For a sit-down, picnic-type meal, squeeze in a packet of mustard and relish and scoop with whole grain crackers, cheeses (if you have a way to keep them chilled) and veggie strips.

Hardboiled eggs are an incredibly edible hike treat. The shells may get cracked, but you’ll do that anyway. Be sure to pack them with an ice pack if you won’t be digging in for a few hours.

Fruit is always a great snack, but forgo softer, easily bruised fruits that will smash in your pack and opt for more resilient items like apples and oranges. Or better yet, bring dried fruit, which can withstand any punishment.

Most importantly, pack plenty of water. I know it hardly counts as a snack, but if you are conscious of consuming one thing on your day hikes, make it H2O.

Food is fuel, but it should also be enjoyed, so pack your pack with snacks you’ll be happy to eat.

Kelly Turner is a professional fitness writer from Seattle. Her no-nonsense, practical advice has been featured on,, Yahoo! and Shine. She also has a regular fitness column in The Seattle Times. Follow her on Twitter @KellyTurnerFit.

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