Best Energy Food for Hiking: 16 Easy and Cheap ideas you will love!

If you are wondering what are the best energy food for hiking, you are in the right place. Here you will find the easier and best high-energy food before you hit the hiking trail! It doesn’t matter if you are planning to go on a day hiking, or planning to hit some of the hardest hikes in the world, the truth is that you will need to have the right energy food plan before you hit the trail.

As fun and healthy as it is, hiking is also a draining activity. Hiking usually includes walking in nature, often in steep areas that require a lot of energy, as you probably don’t even have another option except to finish the hike to get to your car. Even if you are halfway through and decide that you want to get back, you still need to walk back to your ride. 

Therefore, hiking is an activity that requires a lot of energy, to begin with, and it also calls for reenergizing during the hike, as you will probably tire at some point. Therefore to feel energized during your hike, it is best to wisely combine foods that contain moderate amounts of each category: healthy fats, proteins, fibers, and carbohydrates.

Here you find a list of 16 best energy food for hiking that you can easily prepare at home and carry on your hiking backpack. So without any further ado, let’s discover the best food for your next hike!

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Best energy food for hiking

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Import Nutrients for Hiking

To energize during your hike, you need food rich in carbs but not overwhelmingly abundant in carbohydrates, as overloading on carbs will additionally drain you while you digest it. 

For example, if you overload protein, you will have trouble digesting the food while hiking, just like carbs. Overloading fiber can cause stomach pain because fiber tends to digest faster as you move. A large number of fats will cause your stomach heaviness and possibly pain. 

So, the best energy food for hiking combines healthy fats, protein, fiber, and carbohydrates. If your hiking energy food has an overly large amount of any of these nutrients, you will have trouble finishing your hike. 

HEALTHY FATS: A balanced diet should include healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Some of the best sources of these fatty acids include: avocados, olive oil, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish.
PROTEINS: Consuming protein before and after hiking is excellent for helping your body rebuild tissues and recover after exercise/activity. It can also provide sustained energy for long endurance activities. Some excellent sources are: eggs, chicken, fish, steak, cheek peas, dairy foods, seeds, and nuts.
FIBERS: Eating more fiber delivers a slew of health benefits, as fiber-rich foods fill you up faster and keep you satisfied longer, they also prevent your body from absorbing some of the calories in the foods you eat.  Found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes
CARBOHYDRATES: Carbs are the most important source of energy. The higher the level of activity and duration, the more carbohydrates you may need. Keep this in mind based on the course and status of your hiking, and choose the best energy for hiking based on the calorie intake that best fits your needs. Some good sources include fruits, legumes, nuts, grains, and potatoes.
Best energy food for hiking
Ice caving Iceland

What is the Best Energy Food for Hiking

To energize yourself for your hike, eating energizing food before going hiking is very important, but don’t forget to consider the timing.

Eating right before your hike could be risky because you won’t give your food enough time to digest and energize your body. Therefore, eating too close to your hike will additionally drain you instead of giving you energy.

Before your hike, it is best to combine protein, fat, fiber, and carbohydrates with a special accent to the carbs. However, not all carbs are good carbs, and more isn’t always better. To get optimal results from your hike, you should eat no later than 30 minutes before your hike and hydrate well.

1. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Total Calories: 390 gramsCarbs: 46gramsFat: 18 gramsProtein: 12 grams

Containing protein, carbs, fats, and fiber, the peanut butter, and jam sandwich is one of the best food for and before your hike. Peanut butter is known as a very healthy condiment and is very recommendable to have regularly. It contains protein, fat, and calories, giving you an incredible energy boost. 

I recommend making your peanut butter and jelly sandwich with rye bread slices for an extra boost and healthy meal. The bread will give you the carbs you need to feel full and at the top of your game. The jam is rich in sugars and fiber, as it is made of fruit, so you will also get some extra energy from it.


2. Egg and Cheese Sandwich

Total Calories: 150 gramsCarbs: 12 gramsFat: 8 gramsProtein: 8 grams

The protein and fats from the eggs and cheese combine into a powerful energy bomb that is easily digestible and incredibly nutritious. The bread slices provide the carbs for your hike, and you will get the much-needed fiber from the lettuce between the egg and cheese slices. 

To make the most of this sandwich, I recommend you use wholegrain bread and mozzarella cheese. Hardly boil your eggs as a precaution to prevent any stomach pain or bacterial infection.


3. BLT Sandwich

Total Calories: 549 gramsCarbs: 4e gramsFat: 34 gramsProtein: 16 grams

The BLT sandwich is an old classic that will energize you before hiking and delight you with its deliciousness. It combines the protein and fat from the bacon with tomato, lettuce fiber, and the bread’s carbs. 

Having a BLT sandwich 40 minutes to half an hour before your hike will give you all the energy and enthusiasm you need.

Best energy food for hiking

4. Cesar Salad

Total Calories: 220 gramsCarbs: 15 gramsFat: 8 gramsProtein: 25 grams

Healthy and delicious Cesar salad is an excellent food for hiking. The chicken breast used for Cesar salad contains an abundance of protein, and the dressing has all the fat you need, whereas the croutons will provide you with energy-giving carbs. 

Since Cesar salad is a salad and it contains a variety of vegetables such as lettuce, arugula, tomatoes, and corn kernels, you will get a substantial amount of fiber too. So, take the Cesar salad if you don’t know how to energize before hiking.


5. Mushroom Omelet

Total Calories: 484 gramsCarbs: 8 gramsFat: 37 gramsProtein: 31 grams

Containing protein and fats, as well as a pretty generous amount of calories, the omelet is a great energizing solution for your hike. You can add some wholegrain flour to your eggs to make your omelet denser and add some carbs to the meal. 

The mushrooms will give you fiber, and an additional kick of protein, so you will have a full and rich yet light and easily digestible meal.


6. Wholegrain Pancakes

Total Calories: 268 gramsCarbs: 38 gramsFat: 8.4 gramsProtein: 11 grams

Known as the favorite breakfast of many, pancakes are on this list for a reason. They are the Babushka doll of breakfast ideas, exposing a different nutrient with each subsequent bite. Wholegrain pancakes are the healthier version of pancakes but just as tasty. 

They contain fiber, protein, carbs, and fats, making them a whole four-in-one meal, ideal as food for hiking. However, a big part of the pleasure of eating pancakes is covering them with syrup, so don’t be stingy and load up on sugars, as you will certainly need the energy. 

In addition to the syrup, top your pancakes with a scoop of berries. You will be ready to turn your hike into an energizing and enthusiastic experience.


7. Fruit Salad

Total Calories: 97 gramsCarbs: 24 gramsFat: 0.5 gramsProtein: 2 grams

The fruit salad is an excellent energy-boosting pre-hiking meal, rich in fiber and fructose. All that is missing from this story are the protein and fat which you will get from a scoop of crème Fraiche on top of your salad to make it rich and creamy. 

You can also add some nuts for some extra healthy fats and much-needed nutrients to give you an additional boost and launch into your hike like a rocket.

Best energy food for hiking

8. Oatmeal

Total Calories: 390 gramsCarbs: 46gramsFat: 18 gramsProtein: 12 grams

Like wholegrain pancakes, oatmeal is another Babushka doll idea for your pre-hiking meal. A bowl of oatmeal contains protein, fiber, fats, and carbs, just what you need to skyrocket yourself into your hike. 

Top your oatmeal with some rice or almond milk, and you get a delightfully creamy, insanely healthy, and energy-boosting meal.


9. Chicken Wrap

Total Calories: 166 gramsCarbs: 28 gramsFat: 3.6 gramsProtein: 6 grams

Somewhere between a sandwich and burrito, the chicken wrap bursts with nutrients so much you feel energized just by looking at it and are great energy food for hiking. Fill it with chicken breast slices, vegetables, and cheese, and harvest the nutrients that will make your hike a pure success. 

Combining carbs, fiber, protein, and fats in the perfect amounts, the chicken wrap is one of the best things you can have to energize before your hike.


10. Spinach Salad

Total Calories: 134 gramsCarbs: 3.2 gramsFat: 10 gramsProtein: 7 grams

The spinach salad is a superb energizing solution bursting with protein from the spinach, fiber from the tomatoes and arugula, protein from the mozzarella, and healthy fats from the crushed nuts and almonds and an incredibly delicious and satisfying meal for hiking. 

Add some croutons to get the carbs, and you are good to go and enjoy your hike.

Best energy food for hiking

How to Quickly Increase Energy While Hiking

Even though you have eaten a nice and proper meal before your hike, hiking can be a demanding activity requiring more energy than you may have thought. Therefore it is best to be prepared for every eventuality and bring some portable snacks you can quickly pop for a quick energy boost. 

Before I give you some excellent energy-boosting ideas, I need to mention that you need to keep your snacks in airtight containers if they are homemade and if the packet has been opened. If you are hiking during late spring or in the summer, make sure you have an appropriate hiking backpack or even some Freon pack to keep your snacks safe.

11. Cheese Sticks

Total Calories: 85 gramsCarbs: 0.6 gramsFat: 6.3 gramsProtein: 7 grams

Delicious, practical, and most importantly, durable cheese sticks are an excellent solution to reenergize during your hike. You can safely keep them out of the fridge for a few days if they are unopened and in an airtight container. 

Packed with protein and healthy fats, the cheese sticks are the perfect pick-me-up when you feel your energy levels decrease during your hike. A word to the wise, though, don’t load up on cheese sticks eating them all in a second. Eating them slowly and preferably while resting is best so that you don’t overburden your stomach and cause a counter effect and lose energy instead of gaining.


12. Dark Chocolate

Total Calories: 155 gramsCarbs: 17 gramsFat: 9 gramsProtein: 2 grams

Dark chocolate contains about 70% cocoa, an amazing antioxidant, and great energy food for hiking activities. Since chocolate is a product that is very sensitive to heat and direct sunlight, keep it in the middle of a cool and dry bag. 

This way, your dark chocolate will be safe and sound, waiting for you to unwrap it and enjoy the energy flow from the healthy sugars, fats, and protein.


13. Seed Snacks

Total Calories: 80 gramsCarbs: 7 gramsFat: 5 gramsProtein: 2 grams

Incredibly healthy, durable, easy to make, and even easier to store, seed snacks are an excellent idea to reenergize during your hike. They are easily digestible and a natural energy bomb. 

Mix pumpkin and sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia, and flaxseed in a big mixing bowl; add your favorite spices and an egg or two to bind the ingredients together. You can also use an egg alternative for a vegan version of the snack. 

Place the mixture in a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. Let the mixture cool, and break the snacks with a wooden spoon. Pack the snacks in a zip lock baggie, and you are good to go.


14. Chickpea Balls

Total Calories: 390 gramsCarbs: 46gramsFat: 18 gramsProtein: 12 grams

Chickpea balls are an excellent hiking snack you can have while hiking or on your resting breaks. All you need are some softened chickpeas and a blender. Blend the chickpeas and add an egg or an egg substitute and spices of your choice. 

Make balls with your hands and place them in a baking tray to bake for 20 minutes. Chickpeas are very healthy and contain many nutrients and dietary fiber. They are a great hiking energy booster and delicious and durable snack. 

Keep them in an airtight container, not a zip lock baggie, as they will quickly fall apart if squeezed or pressed.


15. Spinach and Cheese Balls

Total Calories: 150 gramsCarbs: 19 gramsFat: 8 gramsProtein: 6 grams

Incredibly rich in nutrients and especially famous as an abundant source of fiber and protein, the spinach and cheese balls are insanely healthy and a great way to energize your body if you start feeling down during your hike. 

All you need is to blend fresh spinach and cheese, add the spices you like, add some oil, and make balls with your hands. You can also add some wholegrain flour to make the mixture denser and thicker. 

Place the balls on a baking tray and bake them for 20 minutes. Transfer them to an airtight container and place them in the middle of your backpack as they are perishable, so you’d better play it safe.


16. Dried Fruit

Total Calories: 110 gramsCarbs: 29 gramsFat: 0.2 gramsProtein: 1.1 grams

Dried fruit is probably the simplest reenergizing solution you can think of as food for hiking. The sugars from the fruit will give you just what you need to continue with your hike, and the best thing about them is that you can nibble on them whenever you want to. 

The downside is that they can become sticky if squeezed together, but they will be perfectly fine to eat and delicious as well.


What is the Great High-Energy Food to Eat After Hiking?

Now if your question is “what is the great source of high-energy food to eat after my hiking?”- I have prepared a quick list of some great ideas. As important to keep the energy high during your hiking, is to replace your energy level after your hiking.

Therefore, when you are planning a meal for the end of your day hike, you have a lot more flexibility because you are not limited to what you can fit in your backpack. A few great options for meals to eat after a hike include:

  • Rice or pasta
  • Oatmeal
  • Potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • Leafy greens
  • Lean meats
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Nuts or nut butter
Hiking in Arizona
Hiking in Arizona

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Best Energy Food for Hiking Conclusion

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