“Mom/Dad, I’m HUNGRY!!!!” Those words make every parent cringe just a little. Especially after they ate 30 minutes ago. They start asking for snacks, something to drink, fruits, candy, chips, you name it. I swear it feels like they burn through those calories 10x faster then we do. Because I have two hungry little girls, I have learned to pack good snacks that will keep them fuller longer and are also healthy for them.
Have you ever gave your child a few animal crackers or even some fruit gummies and wondered why 10 minutes later they are saying they are hungry again or want more snacks? Yes parents we have all been there. This is why I have decided to create this post cause I think it’s time to start making snack time more filling when we are on an adventure. A full tummy makes everyone happy during a hike or whatever adventure it is that you’re family is on. Like us Hispanics say, “Barriguita llena, corazón contento.” (Full little tummy, happy hearts.)
For fulfilling a good list of snacks we want to find items that are not just healthy but filling such as oatmeal, fruits, veggies, grains, cheese, etc. Here’s a few of the things I take with me to my outings for my girls. I usually take several of these. So cheese, fruits, and some crackers or fruits, veggies, and some homemade trail mix. You can pick and choose. I always take a small sandwich as well for after the hike or for around lunch/dinner time.
1. Trail Mix
Most trail mixes are not meant to be a meal, though you can create your own mix to fit your nutritional needs. If you stick to a trail mix that consists strictly of fruits and nuts you can fall into a healthy snack category. View Adam’s post over at AO Wanders here. It has some pretty amazing trail mix recipes along with some facts about trail mix.
I have heard good things about PowerUp trail mix as well. It is vegan, gluten free, and organic.
2. Fruits: Oranges, Mandarins, Grapes, Apples, Bananas, etc.
According to Choose My Plate, fruits provide nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. Most fruits are low in fat, sodium, and calories. Best of all they have no cholesterol. Fruits also have essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, and potassium. You can fruits in various different ways on the trail. You can eat dehydrated fruits or just take the fruits with you for consumption. My daughter loves the dehydrated mangoes for on the trail. She also enjoys to eat a whole apple or peach.
3. Veggies: Carrots, Celery, Baby Tomatoes.
Vegetables is another food group that is underconsumed in the US. According the Choose My Plate, vegetables provide nutrients vital for your health and body maintenance. Majority of vegetables are low in fat and calories with no cholesterol. They also provide important nutrients to the body such as potassium, fiber, folic acid, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A. Some of the vegetables you can take on the trail are baby carrots, celery, baby tomatoes, and cucumbers. Just put them in a reusable baggies and carry it in your pack for easy access.
Cheese is another good and healthy snack. Maybe not in large amounts but definitely a fun one to have for little ones. You can take some of the cheese bites and eat them with some vegetables, dehydrated fruits, or even nuts. Just take a cheese block and cut it into squares or you can even use cheese string if it’s easier for you to carry along.
5. Granola Bars
This may come as a surprise to some, and this is completely depending on the kind of granola bars that you eat as well, but granola bars have good nutritional value to them. Some of those nutritional values include minerals such as sodium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and iron. Some granola bars even have vitamins in them such as vitamin E, vitamin C, niacin, and thiamin. They can also ease with digestion, weight loss, reduce cholesterol levels, boost energy levels, and much more. You can read some 9 Surprising Benefits of Granola Bars for more information. You can even make a granola trail mix. Use granola, some dehydrated fruits, yogurt bites, and voila. I like to use Nature’s Valley, This Bar Saves Lives, or Quaker Chewy Bars or you can make some delicious homemade ones. Read all about This Bar Saves Lives and how they help kids in need around the world here.
6. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
This may not be the most healthiest of all the snacks on my list but it’s definitely a healthy cookie to have around. Here is a very delicious recipe that I found. On our lazy days we also use these.
7. Peanut Butter and Carrots or Celery (or both) you can also use fruits.
I love peanut butter. It has a delicious blend of calories, nutritional value, and healthy fats. They are very good when you eat it with other things such as crackers, vegetables, or even a sandwich. You can even use almond butter for better nutritional benefits.
8. Animal Crackers, Pretzels, Crackers
You are probably thinking that I am contradicting myself. Grains is good to have, don’t get me wrong, but some of them aren’t as filling. This is why I recommend eating these with another one of the snacks such as crackers with cheese, or pretzels in your trail mix, or even animal crackers with dehydrated fruits.
Raisins are used for many reasons. My daughter only eats them alone or chocolate covered but you can also add them to oatmeal, granola, trail mix, salads (fruit salad or vegetable salad), and even yogurt. These little treats are packed with fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. So whether you just bring along a box of raisins for them to tear up or mix it with your trail mix or granola, raisins is one easy snack that you can take along with you on your hikes. You can read more on the health benefits of raisins here.
10. Nuts: almonds, peanuts, cashews, etc.
Did you know that nuts are considered fruits? Yes! Not the sweetest of all fruits and on the contrary, they are high in fats unlike most fruits. This doesn’t change the fact that they have many nutrients though. Some of these nutrients are fiber, proteins, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, selenium, and manganese just to say a few. Every nut is different on the nutrient intake but all have these general range of nutrients. You can read more about the health benefits of nuts here. For the trail I like to take either Planters Peanuts or honey roasted cashews. I also love almonds for a good source of protein.
11. Fruit Muffins (Strawberry, Blueberry, Banana, etc.)
Muffins are delicious and a great treat to have. It is also a quick recipe that you can do with your little ones. They are delicious, easy to make, nutritious, and if you make them from scratch, they will be 100% natural ingredients. I love taking these on our hikes. The girls love them and so do I. Best of all, we always go to the grocery store and I have them each pick out a mix. We then bake them together for the trip. I let each of them have only one once they cool down. They get excited about the hike and I am a happy mom.
12. Breads: Banana bread, blueberry bread, etc…
This is fun to make with the kids too. My daughter and I love making the banana bread. I let them have fun smashing up bananas with a fork, taking turns pouring in the ingredients, and even coating the pan so the bread don’t stick. After it’s out of the oven and cooled down, we cut the bread into four squares and then into slices and put them in reusable baggies to take on our hike. You can find many delicious recipes on Pinterest and online.
I like to buy the Mott’s or GoGo pouches. Not the small aluminum foil lid container ones as they can easily break and spill in your bag. You can also go eco-friendly and make your own squeeze pouches and use one of these kits to store them in. You can make them out of different fruits as well.
14. Oatmeal Bites or Energy Bites
I didn’t come to know about energy bites till I saw them popping up on my Pinterest. I had no idea how good they were until one day I decided to read all about them. After doing some research, I tried a few recipes and decided to create my very own energy bites. These are a mix of peanut butter, seeds, nuts, oats, honey, and chocolate chips. There’s several ways of making it but you can always create your own as well. You can also read this blog post that I collaborated in for my energy bite recipe.
15. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich bites
Well this is easy, we already discussed the benefits of eating peanut butter and different nuts. Now we just add some grains and fruits into the mix and you have the perfect snack for any trip. PB&J are my youngest daughter’s favorite. Every day for lunch she asks me for a peanut butter jelly sandwich. You can make these from organic peanut butter (or you can use almond butter), organic jelly, and a delicious healthy bread that has nuts or oats on it. Cut each sandwich into 4 or 6 pieces or cut them out in fun characters such as Minnie Mouse or a circle and snack time is going to be a success.
16. Seeds: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pomegranate seeds…
Majority of seeds are rich in nutrients as well just like nuts are. They are high in healthy fats and nutrient filled with proteins, fiber, phytochemicals, selenium, copper, and magnesium. You can eat some seeds by themselves like the ones listed above. There are others like flax seed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, etc… that are best when mixed in a recipe, such as oatmeal, salads, fruit bowls, toast, or my favorite, energy bites. Here are 6 super seeds that you should be eating and 11 seeds that you should be eating.
You can make your very own baked chips at home. Yes! You can use potato, sweet potato, and other vegetables to make your own chips at home. These are fun to make with your kids at home the day before to help get them excited about the hike. Not only are they organic, fresh, and vegan… they are also very easy to make. Check out this recipe for more. If you don’t want to make your own, you can also buy some. Kettle is my favorite brand of healthy chips. They are made with organic ingredients that are good for you. My favorite ones are these Kettle Chips with Avocado Oil and Himalayan Salt.
Tuna is a very delicious food that is good for you too. This fish has some very good benefits such as Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Proteins, Melatonin, and improving your immune system. Tuna also has essential nutrients such as B-Vitamins (B12, B3, B6, B1, B2), selenium, and protein. You can read more about it here and here. You can make the tuna with mayo in a reusable baggie, grab some crackers and eat as you hike.
19. Meat Sandwiches
Another thing I like to take with me on the trails are sandwiches. You never know if you are going to be on the trail longer than expected or not. I like to cut my sandwiches into bite size to make it more “snack-ish” for the little ones. This way it keeps them occupied and fuller longer as we complete our hike.
I’m not a huge fan of jerky. Sorry! But it does have its health benefits. Just like dehydrated fruits, jerky is like dehydrated meats. You can make them yourself or even buy them. I won’t link to any as I personally don’t like to eat them so I can’t really tell you which ones are the best. If you have a favorite, let me know in the comments below.
Well these are the healthy snacks that I take with me on our hikes. Whether on the trail or on a long road trip, I think it is very important to watch what we give our children to eat. Not only are you creating a good eating habit, you are also preventing many other possible health conditions in their future. I hope that this list of 20 snack ideas will help you create better and healthier hiking foods.