If you plan to backpack into the back country for any length of time, you’ll need to plan ahead to ensure that all your nutritional needs are met. Hiking in general burns a lot of calories, particularly when you hike over rugged terrain. You need to choose nutrient rich food that is easy to carry along with you and eat along the way. Here are four suggestions for cheap healthy snacks to pack for your next hiking trip.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, beef jerky is one of the best foods that you can take with you while hiking. The thinly sliced strips of dehydrated beef are nonperishable, easy to pack and light to carry, and are an easy way to refuel as you hike. Most importantly, they are also packed with protein. Either make your own, or choose from a variety of flavors that are available at the supermarket. Store them in a watertight, airtight container to protect them from exposure and to preserve the flavor.
Tuna With Crackers
Tuna has always been a great option to eating when out on the trail, but since purchasing it in plastic pouches has become an option, it is more convenient than ever. Like beef jerky, tuna is packed with protein, and, consumed on crackers, it provides your body with much needed carbohydrates and salt as well. If you’d prefer not to have yours plain, take along a couple small packs of mayonnaise or mustard, and squeeze them over the tuna.
Most fruit, like apples and strawberries, make convenient, vitamin-rich foods to carry in your backpack to replenish the nutrients that you lose along the way. They’re also excellent sources for boosting your energy levels. Slice fruit, such as apples, and carry them in a zip-lock bag for convenience. Protect softer fruits by packing them into small containers with snap-on lids. One final alternative would be to dehydrate them. Dyhydrated fruit is lighter as the water’s been removed, won’t spoil or get bruised, and retain the nutrients, fiber, and calories that you need.
There are snack mixes available that are specially formulated with the hiker in mind, and geared toward providing the additional carbohydrates required by an active lifestyle, but you can also elect to make your own at home. Include some salty items like crackers and pretzels, to help replenish the electrolytes that you lose through physical exertion. Add nuts and seeds to provide a protein boost to your body, for that extra energy that you need to keep pushing forward. For added flavor and nutritional benefit, throw in a handful of dehydrated fruit.
Whenever you go out on a hike, make sure that someone else knows where you’ll be in case you run into trouble. Be proactive, and pack enough of these cheap healthy snacks and water to keep you going, should the need arise to wait for help due to an injury or becoming lost.