Dreaming of a hiking trip right about now? 100% plant based friends: Don’t just take your hiking boots and call it a day! Vegan hiking snacks are important too.
But what should I keep in mind for a vegan backpacking trip?
Are homemade vegan recipes better than the store-bought versions?
Lets talk about it in this Dietitian written article.
Disclaimer: This post is not a substitute for medical or dietary advice. Talk to your doctor before starting new supplements or making major dietary or changes. See our Disclaimers for more details.
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Ready, Set, Prep!
While we are focusing on snacks, don’t forget hydration too! Before you set out for that hike make sure you have enough water packed.
If you prefer cold water, consider insulated water bottles or ice packs.
Here is an examples of an insulated water bottle that I use! I have been impressed with how well it keeps cold water cold (affiliate link*):
Now that we have our water, what should I consider when it comes to packing snacks?
Here’s what Gail Mayer, MS, RDN, CDN has to say:
“As a novice hiker/backpacker and dietitian, I don’t worry about macros. My focus is on how heavy my food will be on my back, and trying to get as much calories/nutrition with less weight.”
On top of that, Rachel Badtke, RDN, CPT says this:
“also a hiker and dietitian and I agree with this – all about nutrient density plus weight of the item. I will also add that having a ‘fun’ item is important since a lot of your comforts are no longer with you on the trail and can really make the day better!”
So if nutrition and less bulk are important, what vegan snacks tend to take up less space, but pack nutritional punch along with energy for the trails?
I’m so glad you asked, because that is the the (vegan) “meat” of the article (do you see what I did there? 😀 )!
Vegan Hiking Snacks – A Few Ideas
Check out our list (provided in no particular order).
As an FYI: this is a non comprehensive list, and pairings are just ideas.
Also, keeping food safety in mind is key! Check out this article from Eatright.org for food safety tips related to hiking.
*As a reminder, this post contains affiliate links that are marked in this manner : (affiliate link)”. If you click on these links and purchase, I may earn a commission at no added cost to you.
Whole Fruit and Nut Bars (store-bought, or DIY)
Larabars are a popular store-bought one that also happens to be vegan! Here are a few may have spotted in the store, and flavors that I have enjoyed (affiliate links*):
Want to DIY a fruit and nut bar? Check out this recipe from Nutrition Refined!
Nuts/Seeds or Seed/Nut Butters With Whole Wheat Crackers
This classic combo contains energy in the form of fat, carbohydrates, and some protein.
And both nuts and crackers are often vegan! However, if you are an ethical vegan, you may want to look out for things like honey, and even dairy (learn more in our article about Peanut Butter here)!
Contrary to popular belief, granola doesn’t necessarily require milk!
That’s good for hikers, as taking that extra liquid might be cumbersome (although, there are some single serving individually portioned plant based milks available- so you could take some)!
Store-bought, or making your own? Just be on the look out for non vegan ingredients, like honey and dairy.
Hey, its even got “trail” in the name!
One FYI here: Some store-bought versions may include non vegan ingredients, like honey and milk chocolate chips.
Mixing up your own means you get to control the ingredients! here is a simple recipe idea from To Taste.
Roasted Chickpeas and Fresh or Dried Fruits
Never heard of roasted chickpeas? Now you have (and here are some vegan recipes by The Dietitian Feed)! You’re welcome.
Roasted chickpeas make for an easy way to bring along some whole food plant based protein. Add some fresh fruit, like a banana or dried apricots, and you’ve got your self a sweet and savory snack.
Energy Balls – With Beans!
Have you seen those delectable looking energy ball recipes trending on the internet?
Well, did you know you can sneak in some plant based protein too?
If you are skeptical, check out this recipe that uses white beans by Plant Based Juniors, and let us know what you think below!
Just another idea to get the goodness of legumes on the go.
Vegan Protein Bars
Don’t be fooled by the “protein” terminology!
Protein bars can also be a source of energy from carbohydrates, and contain fat to (potentially 😉 )keep you satiated longer!
There are so many varieties of protein bars out there. Some have more or less of those macronutrients.
I really enjoy this one from 88 Acres. In my opinion, the banana bread flavor really lives up to its name, and this one has a whopping 12 grams of plant based protein!
You can find it here (affiliate link*- as a reminder, this means if you click on the link and purchase, I earn a commission at no added cost to you):
Premade Sandwiches or Wraps (ex: Hummus Wrap, Peanut Butter and Jam, etc)
Consider making one of these hunger crushing combos before you hit the trails!
- Peanut Butter and Jam (you can even make your own! Here is one berry chia jam recipe from Cookie and Kate to slather on bread)
- Hummus Wrap (whole grain wrap + hummus + veggie add ins)
- Tofu “Egg” Salad Sandwich
There are so many combos when it comes to sandwiches. What’s your favorite?
Dietitian Approved Vegan Food For Hiking
Still stumped about what to bring? Or perhaps you periodically go for hikes that last days, go mountain hiking – etc.
Why not get some personalized recommendations from a Dietitian?
Some hikers might need extra amounts of calories, protein, fat, and/or electrolytes, like sodium depending on hiking intensity, the amount of weight you carry, and much more.
Setting up a consultation with a Dietitian could be key to a nutritionally sound vegan backpacking food plan. Find out if that vegan jerky really is or isn’t the best hiking food for you!
Don’t Forget About Outdoor Etiquette
Your hiking boots aren’t the only thing that leaves a footprint!
When you are out on the trail, it’s important to be respectful of the rules. Many hiking trails ask that you don’t liter for example.
You could hold on to your trash until you find a waste bin, or consider bringing some of your snacks in reusable food containers.
In Summary: Choosing Vegan Hiking Snacks
As an ethical vegan, you probably give a lot of thought into the ingredients of your food. But choosing snacks for hiking doesn’t have to be complicated!
Vegan ideas include:
- Whole fruit and nut bars
- Nuts and seeds or nut and seed butters with whole wheat crackers
- Trail mix
- Roasted chickpeas and fresh or dried fruit
- Energy balls made with beans
- Vegan protein bars
- Premade sandwiches or wraps
If you need extra help planning your hiking food, set up an appointment with a Registered Dietitian.
Don’t forget your water, respect the trail rules, and have fun on your hike!
We hope you learned something new from this post. Let us know in the comments: What are some of your favorite vegan snacks for outdoor adventures? Did your hiking guide go over trail etiquette with you (is your guide vegan now because you shared our resource 😉 )?
And while you are here, why not explore the other juicy topics on the blog? We discuss subjects like Is Vegan Gluten Free? and Plant Based Diet Book Picks From Dietitians.
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and may the fork be with you!