It's summertime and that means our family is digging out our hiking gear and hitting the trails. Now that the little guy (Owen, age 3) is hiking on his own this year, we're excited for the outdoor adventures ahead of us.
As I mentioned in my Tips for Hiking with Kids post, however, it's important to make sure we're stocked up with some good hiking snacks for the kids. Keeping the kids energized and motivated is a huge part of successfully hiking with children. Luckily, my kids are very motivated by snacks. For me, it's important that they are also nutritious and give my son and daughter the energy to walk long distances. Here are a few of our favorite hiking snacks.
9 Hiking Snack Ideas That Kids Will Love
Trail MixTrail mix is great because you can basically cherry pick your way through the snack cabinet to create your own mix. I like letting the kids make their own. Get ideas from this homemade snack mix recipe or try these nutritious ingredient ideas: raisins, nuts, dried fruit (cherries, mango, pineapple, apples, etc.), pretzels, M&M's, dried cereal, mini marshmallows, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
Granola BarsGranola bars are another great hiking snack that can be a source of protein that kids need for energy. Try to avoid bars that include mostly corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. If you have the time, you can make these homemade granola bars with your kids. We also like Clif Kid Z Bars and, if your child has a nut allergy, Cascadian Farm has a chewy chocolate chip bar that is not manufactured in a facility with nuts (which is rare in the granola bar space).
PB&J Mini SandwichesPeanut butter, or sunflower seed butter, and jelly sandwiches are a great energy booster for hiking and convenient to pack. Cut sandwiches in quarter-size or different shapes for kids so they can grab and eat as they walk.
Crackers SandwichesAnother fun idea is to make mini cracker sandwiches. Kids can choose their own filling - peanut butter, jelly, cheese spread, hummus, cream cheese, deli meat, etc.
Mini MuffinsMini muffins are lightweight and easy to eat on the go. Try one of these recipes: Zucchini Carrot Apple Muffin or Peanut Butter Banana Muffin.
Fresh FruitFresh fruit is not as convenient as dried fruit but my kids like fresh fruit much better. Good hiking fruits are grapes (if you can stand the extra weight), blueberries, clementines, or small snack apples.
Veggie SticksAnother great hiking snack idea is to cut carrots, peppers, celery into sticks for munching along the trail.
Chocolate or CandySometimes a candy "bribe" is needed to keep kids hiking to the summit or at the end of the day. It's always safe to have a secret stash of chocolate or candy - your wife or husband will also appreciate it!
Finally, it's most important to have plenty of water while hiking with kids. Balance out your backpack load to ensure you have more than enough water to keep everyone hydrated.
And let me know if there are other hiking snacks that your kids love to eat on the trail!
Related Resources for Children and the Outdoors
- E-family news: Explore Your World – Fun Nature Walks for Families
- E-family news: Children & Nature – A Winning Combination
- Bright Horizons Online Community: Exercising Outside with the Whole Family
- Read more posts about family fitness and posts about summer from the Family Room bloggers