Whether you’re going on a long, difficult hike or a short, leisurely one, bringing snacks to keep you energized is of the utmost importance. This is something I had to learn the hard way over time. You see, I don’t automatically think of hiking as a workout, because I usually only hike on vacation, and I don’t generally think of my vacation activities as “working out.” As a result, I often forget to pack snacks. But hiking totally is a workout. All that trekking, usually uphill, often at high altitude, is no cake walk, and if you don’t have something to keep you nourished, the hike back down may be even harder than the way up. I’m speaking from experience!
According to Nora Minno, R.D., C.P.T., an NYC-based registered dietitian, finding the right snackto pack for a hike can be tricky. She tells SELF that it should be something that’s easy to travel with, won’t need to be refrigerated, and won’t weigh you down. It should also have enough carbohydrates to give you sustained energy, protein to keep your muscles well oiled, and healthy fats to satiate you throughout the day.
Though it may seem impossible to find just the right hiking snack with all these requirements, I talked to some registered dietitians who had great suggestions. Through trial and error, they’ve discovered that these 13 products have the right nutrition profile and they won’t get in your way when you’re on the trail. Add them to your backpack before you hit your next outdoor adventure.
1. Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Bites
According to Brigitte Zeitlin, M.P.H., R.D., owner of BZ Nutrition, these bites are “sweet and crunchy and loaded in plant-based protein that will fill you up and keep you satisfied while you make it back down the trail.”
Buy it: $7 for a 4-oz. bag, amazon.com
2. Biena Foods Chickpea Snacks
“Biena chickpea snacks are nonperishable, come in a range of flavors, and provide loads of nutrients without taking up too much room in your backpack,” Edwina Clark, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D. and blogger at edwinaclark.com, tells SELF. Plus, she adds that “these crunchy chickpeas are rich in fiber and protein which help keep you fuller for longer, and assist with exercise recovery.”
Buy it: 12 2-oz. bags for $37, amazon.com
3. KIND Protein Crunchy Peanut Butter
Amy Gorin, M.S., R.D.N., owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area, tell SELF: “This bar is a favorite for stashing in my backpack because each one provides 12 grams of plant protein and 5 grams of fiber.” She says that both the carbs and the protein in it will help keep you going while you’re hiking.
Buy it: 12 bar box for $24, kindsnacks.com
4. Health Warrior Chia Bars
“If you’re looking for a quick pick-me-up to keep you going on the trail, these chia-based bars are great,” says Minno. “They’re made of simple ingredients like chia seeds, cashew butter, and cranberries, and provide 14 grams of carbohydrates, including three grams of sugar from natural sources and a whopping 5 grams of fiber to keep you full, as well as 3 grams of protein.” And they store well so they won’t fall apart in your hiking bag!
Buy it: Box of 14 bars for $14, amazon.com
5. Wonderful Pistachios Roasted and Salted No Shells
These pistachios are great for hiking because, unlike a lot of pistachios, they come without the shells on—easier to grab when you need sustenance stat. “Protein, along with the fiber and healthy fats the nuts contain, help to keep you fueled for longer while on the trail,” says Gorin.
6. Trader Joe’s Dried White Peaches
Maxine Yeung, M.S., R.D., C.P.T., likes this snack because they’re sweet without any added sugar, and she needs a sweet boost when she’s in the middle of a hike. Plus, she says they’re filled with potassium, which help prevent muscle cramps and fatigue.
Buy it: One 16-oz. bag for $16, amazon.com
7. Dave’s Killer Bread 21 Whole Grains and Seeds
“I’ll bring a couple pieces of this whole-grain bread, smeared with hummus and wrapped in tinfoil, on a hike,” says Gorin. “I love that you get a good amount of protein and an excellent amount of fiber.” Plus carbs, which will keep you perked up while you’re out exploring.
Buy it: 4 loaves for $35, amazon.com