Hiking Lunch Ideas

A great hike is perfect for getting some exercise and clearing your mind. The last thing you want, however, is to return from your trek hungry, having to worry about what to eat. In search of some nutritious and tasty lunch ideas and snacks for your hiking trip? This post has got you covered, offering a variety of options that will keep you satiated and energized for your next hiking adventure. From sandwiches to a selection of fruits and vegetables, it’s all here. So whether you’re new to hiking or an seasoned outdoor enthusiast, do take a moment to review our collection of food ideas. That way, you’ll be all set to confidently tackle your day of hiking.

Hiking Foods

Sandwiches are always an excellent option for hiking lunch ideas and snacks. They’re easy to make, portable, and can be filled with a variety of different ingredients depending on your preferences. If you’re looking for protein-packed options, consider packing tuna or chicken salad sandwiches. Alternatively, try out turkey bacon avocado wraps if you’re in the mood for something sweet and savory.

Mixing and preparing the types of food depends on the hiking time and will determine the things to pack for lunch. If you are going on a day hike and will be back in your car by evening, you can bring along a cooler with perishable foods. However, most overnight or multi-day hikes will require that you carry all of your food with you. In this case, it is best to plan lightweight and calorie-dense foods. The meals are to be broken down into; breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. The food is to be prepared before hiking to avoid unnecessary weight while on the trail.

Meal Breakdown

Breakfast is usually the first meal of the day; it must fuel you up and prepare your body for a long day ahead. It should include easily digestible foods, like instant oatmeal or cereal with milk or raisins. You can also pack fresh fruits such as oranges and bananas, which will provide energy-boosting nutrients like vitamins C & B complex, respectively, and fiber content to ease digestion if there was any indigestion from last night’s supper.

I always enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning.  Consider a source or method to produce hot water either for cooking a hot meal (maybe dehydrated meals) or a hot drink (like coffee).

 Bread made from whole grains, such as rye or pita bread/wraps; protein-rich foods like lean meats (turkey), eggs, beans, fish/seafood (shrimp); dairy products including yogurt, cheese stick slices; nuts & seeds. These foods provide plenty of nutrients without weighing down hikers too much during the day’s hike.  Add a little olive oil in a small container for a good source of energy and flavor.

Lunch is an important meal while hiking as it will provide the energy to get you through the rest of your hike. When packing your lunch for a hike, it’s essential to consider the type of terrain you’ll be traversing. Heavier items like sandwiches may not be the best option if you’re tackling a strenuous mountain trail. It is best to include a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables. Salads are perfect for this, as they’re easy to make and can be tailored to your liking.

Depending on the nature of the hike, a good option for backpacking lunches is a sandwich with lean protein, like turkey or chicken, and lots of veggies. You can also bring along a thermos with hot water, soup or chili, hard-boiled eggs, hummus, or pre-packaged tuna salad, which are all healthy and calorie-dense options. If you’re looking for something sweet and filling, try packing grapes, raisins, dried cranberries, or apricots. Lunch ideas may include a PB&J sandwich, deli meat wrap, cheese, quesadilla, veggie burger on a bun, and caesar salad wrap. If you’re looking for convenience and speed, you could also pack a complete meal bar to eat easily on the go.

Dinner is the last meal of the day, and it’s essential to make sure that you have a filling and nutritious one. Hiking can be exhausting, so you’ll need all the energy you can get to refuel your body. Dinners on hikes usually consist of simple foods that are easy to prepare and don’t require any cooking. A great option is a Mountain House freeze-dried meal, which only requires boiling water and takes just a few minutes to cook. 

Another idea is pre-packaged pasta or rice dishes with chicken or beef and canned fruits and vegetables. If you’re looking for something sweet, try bringing along some chocolate bars or trail mix cookies. Dinner ideas may include macaroni & cheese, chili, fresh vegetables like broccoli, spinach, or kale; beans and legumes like lentils which are all high in fiber content (essential for maintaining healthy digestion while out on the trail), and they’re low-fat too.  Add a chicken packet or tuna packets for additional proteins.


Snacks are what you eat between meals when hunger strikes, but there isn’t enough time to stop for lunch. Delicious hiking snacks may include:

Nuts/seeds/dried fruit mixed into a trail mix

Granola bars

Crackers with peanut butter/cheese spread on them

Fresh fruits like apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, and mangoes


Protein Bars

Chocolate-covered pretzels

Popcorn (with no butter or salt)

Trail mix

Energy Bars

You can also bring along a pack of Oreos, high in calories and fat, and will provide quick energy when needed. Snacks should be small so as not to weigh down your backpack too much, but they should still feel like they’re filling you up so that hunger doesn’t take over while out on the trail. Pack some granola bars for an easy way to get protein without cooking anything at all. Other options include dried fruit like raisins, apple chips, mangoes, apricots, dates, cherries, cranberries, peaches, and plums.  Cream cheese,  almond butter, or nut butter spread on bread is a tasty snack.  Energy gels can also produce a quick boost of energy and extra calories.

Hiking Lunch Ideas And Snacks:

Trail Mix

 A simple mix of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit is the perfect trail snack. It’s high in protein and healthy fats, which will help keep you fueled up for the rest of your hike. Be sure to pack a variety of different flavors, so there’s always something new to try.  Add some dark chocolate for a flavor boost and tame your sweet tooth.

Granola Bars

Granola bars are a quick, easy way to get protein without cooking anything at all. They’re also packed with vitamins and minerals that will help keep you going strong throughout the day. Pack some for an easy healthy lunch idea or snack on them during your hike; make sure they’re not too sweet (thereby creating unwanted sugar highs).

Yogurt Parfait

Yogurt parfaits are delicious healthy snacks for hikers. You can mix up different combinations of yogurt, fruit, nuts, granola, and cereal in layers; this makes it easy when packing because everything stays separate until eaten together later on during your hike.

Classic Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

 The protein from the peanut butter and carbs from the bread will help keep you going strong throughout your hike, while the jelly adds a touch of sweetness. Be sure to pack some napkins, as PB&J can get messy on the go.

Hard-boiled eggs

 Boiled eggs make for a tremendous high-protein hiking snack. They’re easy to transport and can be eaten on the go without any fuss.

Hummus and pita bread

Hummus is another high-protein option that’s perfect for a long trail. It comes in a variety of flavors, so there’s sure to be one that you’ll love. It’s packed with healthy fats and fiber, which will help keep you energized during your journey.

Pre-packaged tuna salad

Tuna salad is an excellent high-calorie hiking lunch idea and provides plenty of energy.

Salami and cheese

This hearty snack is perfect for those who want something more substantial. Salami and cheese provide plenty of protein and fat, which will help sustain your energy levels throughout the day on the trail.

Fruit leathers 

These are a fun way to enjoy the outdoors without needing utensils or dishes; they’re also lightweight enough that hikers can carry them with ease. They come in several flavors, including apple, cherry, grape, pineapple, banana, strawberry, mango, peach, raspberry, lemon, lime, orange blueberry, blackberry grapefruit, coconut, berry, pomegranate, cranberry, kiwi, pear, apricot, plum, papaya, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, huckleberries, and strawberries.

Tuna and crackers; cheese and crackers

These two classic combos are always a hit with hikers. They’re easy to transport, don’t require any cooking, and provide plenty of protein and fat.

Chocolate-covered pretzels

They make for a delicious high-calorie hiking snack that will give you an instant energy boost when you need it most.

Popcorn (no butter or salt)

Popcorn is another great option for hikers because it’s healthy and tasty. Be sure to pack some without butter or salt so that you can add your flavors as needed.

Peanut butter crackers and cheese crackers

These two classic combos are always a hit on a hiking adventure. They’re easy to transport, don’t require any cooking, and provide plenty of protein and fat. Cheese Crackers – A delectable combination of salty goodness in every bite. The sharp taste from cheddar cheese goes so well with these crunchy little snacks that we like using them as an alternative to raw veggies.

Beans and rice are suitable for vegetarians. Beans are a good source of protein, while rice adds complex carbohydrates to give you plenty of energy. Make sure to pack some hot sauce or salsa for a little extra spice. This meal is easy to prepare on the trail and can be cooked over an open fire if needed. It’s also filling enough, so it’ll keep you satisfied even after hours spent hiking up mountainsides all day long.

Health Conscious Hikers 

Dried meat like beef jerky, hard cheese (Swiss, cheddar), granola bars/cereal bars/oatmeal packets that have been cooked and then dried out before packaging, so they’re not mushy in your pack when you need them. Dried meat can remain in a good state when at room temperature without spoiling too quickly due to its high-fat content. You can also consider eating fruits such as bananas, apples, oranges, and grapes because natural sugars provide the energy needed during hiking.

The last thing to remember is to pack plenty of fluids, especially if you’re planning on doing a strenuous hike. Dehydration can quickly lead to fatigue and dizziness. Ensure to bring along plenty of cold water (or another hydrating beverage) and drink often. By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious and healthy hiking lunch no matter where your adventures take you.

Factors to consider with Backpacking Trips

1)Calorie dense: These are the most important foods because they provide you with much energy to refuel you during the hike.

2)Lightweight: Backpacking meals are typically lightweight because you want to save as much space in your backpack for other things like water and clothing.

3)Non-perishable: You don’t want your food to spoil while you’re hiking, so bringing along non-perishable items is vital.

4)Easy to prepare: You don’t want to spend a lot of time preparing your food while you’re on the trail, so bring along items that are easy to cook or eat.

5)Tasty: This is a personal preference, but you’ll likely be happier if you bring along food that you enjoy eating.

Final Thoughts on Backpacking Food

Packing the right food is an integral part of any hike, and it can make or break your hiking day experience. No matter what type of hiker you are, we hope this list has given you some day hike lunch ideas for tasty and healthy hiking. Carefully pack so that you can enjoy your hike without having to worry about being hungry. We hope these ideas will help you eat well while enjoying nature on your next trip into the woods. The best way to stay energized during long trail hikes is by packing snacks high in calories but low weight like nuts, dried fruit granola bars to not weigh down too much. Carry more than just trail mix when hiking because then it’s only one kind of snack that gets boring after a while.

Kevin Macey
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