When I was a kid, I felt like all my friends’ families had a niche. Some of their families went hunting, others rode dirt bikes, and some played sports. My family’s niche was hiking. I was hiking from a young age—although to me I was just going on a long walk. I mostly remember playing in streams, my mom encouraging me to carry my own pack the whole time, and tropical skittles. It’s a weird memory, but part of the reward of hiking was always the snacks that my dad would pack. I especially liked the Skittles. Snacks can be a good motivator for kids while they hike, plus they are good resources of energy to keep them going. Here are ten hiking snacks your kids will love.
1. Trail Mix
Trail mix is an iconic snack for any hiker, and now they come in more variety than your standard peanut, cashew, almond, raisin, and M&M packs. You can find all sorts of different mixes that will keep your little ones satisfied. You might even consider making your own mix with things you know they’ll enjoy!
When your kids are getting worn out from a day of hiking and exploring, it’s important to have protein to re-energize them. While the nuts in your trail mix are good sources of protein, sometimes what they need is a bit of jerky to spice up their pallet and keep their snacks interesting.
3. Granola Bars
Granola bars are easy hiking snacks because they are light-weight and easy to carry. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that there is a wide selection to choose from. You can choose to make your own or you can visit your grocery store and choose from their options. When it comes to granola bars, there’s something for everyone.
4. Apple Slices
Apples are refreshing but they aren’t always easy to eat on the go. Slicing an apple before and putting it in a baggy with lemon juice will keep the apples from browning while still maintaining their fortifying flavor. If you like the idea of fruit but don’t want to deal with slicing and preserving, you can just buy dehydrated fruit that’s ready to go.
5. Squeeze Pouches
Squeeze pouches are handy snacks that are typically filled with soft substances like applesauce. These are the perfect snack for any little kiddos who aren’t used to eating hard foods. However, your bigger kids, and even you, will still enjoy them!
6. Cheese Strings
If you are going for a short day hike, cheese strings are a great snack to pack. Cheese strings are another good source of protein and they are easy to eat on the go. You’ll probably want to eat this snack first to keep it from getting too warm in your pack.
7. Carrot Sticks
Like apples, sometimes what you want while you hike is something crunchy and sweet. Carrots are a healthy, easy to eat option that will mix up your snacks from packaged goods. Don’t feel like cleaning, peeling, and slicing fresh carrots into carrot sticks? Just buy a bag of baby carrots or dried carrots and be ready to go!
8. Frozen Grapes
If you know the day of your hike is supposed to be hot, consider freezing some grapes the night before. Frozen grapes are a delicious treat, especially when it’s warm and you and your kids are sweaty. Of course, raisins are a great alternative that are ready to go any time.
Saltines, Ritz, Cheez-Its, and Goldfish are snacks that your kids are probably familiar with and enjoy. Crackers are light-weight which makes them easy to carry for the entire day, plus they can give you an appreciated sugar rush at the end of a hike.
Maybe this is because of my dad’s influence, but I like to bring some candy with me on hikes. Rewarding myself for making it to a certain marker or distance with candy can help motivate me to keep going farther. While it’s not the healthiest treat, Skittles can help your kids perk up and give them little boosts of energy when they start slowing down.
Every parent and every child is different, and it might take you a couple of hikes to decide what your go-to snacks will be and what your child will enjoy most. My advice is to always bring more snacks than you think you’ll need… just in case. And, of course, to always bring tropical Skittles.