While banana’s are near the top of many lists of most energizing foods , they are also at the top of our list of “fruits that turn disgusting the fastest, when in heat or stuffed in a backpack”.
To circumnavigate this conundrum, enter the banana chip! High in essential vitamins and key energy-boosting minerals these chips made of dried banana slices make the perfect hiking buddy without risking a warm gooey banana or those terrifying brown marks that bananas suffer in their mortal forms.
High in magnesium a vital mineral for energy production, DNA synthesis, and cell growth, it also work in synergy with other minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, to make new bone tissue, counteracting the stress on your bones caused by carrying a heavy pack or an overly-strenuous hike.
Bananas also contain a lot of sugar and a high calorie count and low density score so while these may be a great fruit when on a hike, we do not recommend these as a go-to snack in the office or when lounging at home.
Make sure to look at the ingredients as well and be on alert, and steer clear, of banana chips that are fried or high in added sugar as these will turn your banana chips into a energy bomb and leave you depleted and thirsty.
#6 Walnuts / Almonds (TIE)
Whether you are #TeamAlmonds or #WildforWalnuts both of these mineral rich and calorie dense superfoods will power you through a tough hike or endurance excursion.
Packed with fiber, protein, and omega 3’s these quick, easy, and portable snacks will keep you full, keep your muscles fueled, and provide your body with a long, steady supply of energy. As a bonus these nuts also pack a powerful punch of electrolytes in the form of potassium, magnesium, and calcium. This keeps your heart, which is working hard during your hike, functioning properly and replenishing key minerals without all the high fructose corn syrup and body draining sugars found in “Sports Drinks” that tout their electrolyte replenishment benefits.
With additional benefits to heart health, blood pressure, low impact on GI for diabetics, and a big boost to your brain function and cognition , it is easy to see why doctors, nutritionists, and wellness coaches are going nuts for these nuts!
#5 Dark Chocolate
Boasting more antioxidant activity, polyphenols, and flavanols than other well-known superfood champions Blueberries and Acai Berries (and much easier to pronounce too), dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and ready for your body to put to work.
The key here is to ditch the sugary crap and look for dark chocolate products that feature 70-85% cocoa. Made from the seed of the cocoa (pronounced co-co) tree, it is not only one of top sources of antioxidants on the planet, it also has variety of minerals that will keep your muscles and heart churning through even the most rigorous of endurance hikes.
Plus, what is more satisfying than celebrating summiting a peak or stooping to take a rest and enjoying the view than a couple mouthfuls of chocolate?
#4 Smoked Salmon ( bonus with Whole Wheat crackers)
This one came to us from our friends in the Pacific Northwest, home of the top 5 most nutritious and flavorful salmon in the world. Salmon is loaded with protein, vitamins, and heart-healthy Omega 3’s.
Not only will the healthy fats keep your energy stores high, studies show that the Omega 3s present in salmon (EPA and DHA ) support brain, nerve, and eye development and has been shown to reduce the risk and frequency of depression in young adults and cognitive decline in seniors.
Pair the protein / healthy-fats rich salmon with the energizing effects of whole grain or ancient grain crackers for a potent 1-2 punch that will KO fatigue and keep you alert and energized during your hike and beyond!
With moderate outdoor activity such as brisk walking and hiking already showing a massive upside in the battle against mental health, adding smoked salmon to your hike is not only a delicious power-up, it will also make you happier!
#3 Trail Mix
Nuts, and fruits, and chocolate OH MY! Trail Mix is a top 3 choice as it is a potpourri of many of the ingredients on our list.
Not all trail mixes (trailmixi?) are made the same so here is a quick guide on how to make your own trail mix by heading straight to the bulk foods section of your local store.
Nuts – Almonds / Walnuts, Peanuts, Pecans, Cashews
Dried Fruit (Ideally Unsweetened) – Bananas, Apples, Cherries, Raisins, Cranberries, Blueberries, Apricots
Seeds – Pumpkin, Sunflower
Chocolate Chips – make sure cocoa % is over 70%
Another warning here to read labels and steer towards all natural or the myriad of homemade alternatives as many of the pre-packaged trail mixes in your local grocery store will have a ton of unnecessary additional sugar and chemical fillers.
#2 Pumpkin Seeds
Say What!? Pumpkin Seeds? You got it!
Pumpkin Seeds are full of valuable nutrients, high in antioxidants, very high in magnesium, high in fiber and the only seed that is alkaline – forming, this seed is rocketing up the list of physician and scientist studies and recommended foods.
100g of these seeds pack a whopping 30g of protein, 9g of healthy fats (energy!), and only 536 calories this is one of the most nutritionally dense and fuel efficient foods you can carry with you on your hike or endurance activity.
Additional benefits include improved heart health, prostate health, and anti-inflammatory benefits that studies are showing protect again cancer and feature cucurbitacin, a compound that has shown to kill cancer cells in clinical trials and have powerful anti-bacterial properties.
Look for dried pumpkin seeds that come in fun, savory flavors and add this secret weapon to your hiking arsenal and blow past your friends on your next outdoor adventure.
I know, I know, this is an article about the best Snacks for hiking, how can we top the list with water. The reason for this is simple; that is just how awesome this compound of two hydrogen atoms and an oxygen atom are.
While we will avoid going down a scientific wormhole discussing the molecular level benefits of proper hydration, let’s go over the cliff notes version.
The best time to hydrate for your hike is actually the evening before. That is right, you need your body well hydrated long before the first calling cards of dehydration start to become noticeable. The reason for this is that if you do not properly hydrate within 24 hours of your endurance activity, then by the time your mouth feels dry and thirsty, it is too late. So ideally you are drinking copious amounts of water everyday, but whenever you have a big hike, run, or day out in the sun, always start your hydrating 24 hours in advance
A good rule of thumb for hiking is 2 cups (.5 liters) of water for every hour (or approx. 2-3 miles) of your hike. Move that number up if your hike is additionally strenuous, if temperature’s are hot, or if you drank whiskey by the campfire the night before.
Water will always be your most healthy, most effective, and most vital resource on a hike so ditch the caffeinated drinks, sugar laden sport drinks, and save the whiskey for after the hike.