Best Snacks For Hiking with Kids

I don’t think I will ever tire of reminding you snacks are the key to happy little travellers!

Whether it be healthy snacks to get you through a road trip, keeping little ones occupied at 38,000 feet or anywhere away from home, snacks are fuel for your little ones – and timing them well, with the right blend of carbs and protein ESSENTIAL! Remember, not all snacks are created equal!

This post is part of our hiking with kids & outdoor adventures series

What makes a good hiking snack?

The key to a good hiking snack is that it really needs to deliver some long-lasting energy. Far more than just staving off the munchies like normal travel snacks, hiking snacks need to met some of our special criteria to make the list!

  • Focus on proteins as well as carbs for long-lasting energy
  • They can be sweet, but avoid overly sugary snacks that will potentially give them a high, followed by a sugar crash!
  • Easy to eat by hand without any utensils
  • Light and fits in our hiking day packs
  • Travels well without refrigeration for a few hours

Easy hiking snacks – store-bought ideas

If you’re just an occasion hiker or travelling away from home then you may find store-bought snacks work best. Some of our favourite easy hiking snacks for kids include:

  • Trail mix
  • Dried fruit
  • Beef jerky
  • Mixed nuts
  • Dried fruit bars
  • Mixed pretzels
  • Apples, bananas, oranges
  • Punnet of mixed berries
  • Crackers & tuna (needs knife/spreading tool)

Do consider though that store-bought pre-packaged hiking snacks will undoubtedly come with protective wrappers – most likely plastic – which then needs to be thoughtfully disposed of after your hike. We always take a trash bag tucked away in our hiking backpack for exactly this reason.

Find more on the best hiking backpacks and carriers suitable for family hikes here

Homemade hiking snacks

If you are looking at being regular hikers, no doubt the cost of all these packages snacks (not to mention the waste you need to bring home with you) can soon add up.

Not being brilliant in the kitchen ourselves, we’ve turned to the experts for tips on the best homemade hiking snacks your kids (and will even get involved with making – we know how much more inclined kids are to eat something when they’ve had a hand in creating it!


Transporting your hiking snacks for kids

There’s nothing worse than putting all the amazing effort into creating healthy snacks for your trip then discovering everything is crushed and broken at your rest stop!

To prevent this from happening, we use small bento box-style containers. If you are taking anything that’s been freshly baked, an insulated box can be a great way to keep them fresh and ready to eat! Small individual boxes are easier to fit in a backpack than a larger lunch box.

Make sure you pick a micture of savoury and sweet snacks and allow enough for your return journey too, little legs can tire more during the second half of a long hike.


Hiking drink bottles for kids

And don’t forget, of course, liquid refreshments too. This is the most important thing you’ll pack out hiking with kids.

They can either take their own small water bottle that can attach to a backpack, or older kids may prefer their own wearable hydration pack. If you’ll be topping up along the way from rivers and streams, we always recommend choosing a filtered water bottle that removes impurities.

Water is always best, of course, but we sometimes let our kids have an extra few drops added of flavour enhancer with electrolytes as a special treat when we are doing active outdoor adventures (just read the labels, some described as ‘energy’ rather than ‘sport’ have a small amount of caffeine).


Learn more about hiking with your family

Before you set off on the trails with little ones, it’s important that you are prepared for what lies ahead. Be it short nature trails close to home or longer day hikes, you’ll want to read:

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