Get your healthy crunch on with a healthy combination of these best snacks for hiking in hot weather.
“Generally, you expend more calories when you’re hiking, and it’s hot outside because your cardiovascular system has to do a lot more work to keep pumping blood. Your heart also works harder to keep pumping oxygenated blood to your muscles, which are using more energy,” says John P. Higgins, FACC, MD, professor of cardiovascular medicine and sports cardiology at McGovern Medical School, UTHealth in Houston.
With Higgins’s insight in mind, it’s evident that a summer hike in hot weather demands hearty sets of snacks that boast the extra calories and hydration levels needed to power you through the day. Better yet, if you’ve ever gone hiking in hot weather, you also know that having enticing snacks in your backpack helps provide a mysterious burst of energy and the mental incentive we all need to keep climbing.
Before looking at the best snacks for hiking in hot weather, I have another tip worth noting. Try freezing the snacks listed below ahead of time before tossing them in a container. Chances are they will have thawed by the time you need to eat them amidst your hike, but they’ll still be pleasantly cold.
The Best Snacks For Hiking In Hot Weather
Here are the 10 best snacks for hiking in hot weather:
1. Sliced Cucumbers
Sliced cucumbers are, without a doubt, one of the best snacks for hiking in hot weather. Rich in nutrients like caffeic acid and silica, sliced cucumbers will work to keep you feeling energetic on your hike while simultaneously helping prevent water retention and reduce swelling.
What’s more? Sliced cucumbers are incredibly hydrating, so munching on them should help you hit your daily H2O needs, which is particularly essential for summer hiking.
2. Almond Butter Sandwich
When preparing sandwiches that’ll power you through a summer hike, skip the salty cold cuts or white bread and instead go for whole grains with veggies or nut butter. I use hearty whole-grain bread slices for my sandwiches and avoid animal protein unless I have a way to keep it cold.
I suggest using super hydrating veggies to compensate for the sweating expected while hiking in hot weather. If you’re still worried about overloading on calories, opt for thinly sliced loaves. The little fiber you’ll get from these slices should help keep your digestion running smoothly amidst your hike.
Related: 20+ Picnic Lunch Ideas For Hiking
3. Pumpkin Seeds
Whether you go for sweet picks like sugar and cinnamon or opt for somewhat spicy varieties, carefully seasoned pumpkin seeds should award your body the exact type of nutrition it requires to make it through a challenging hike in hot weather.
Boasting up to 9 grams of plant-based protein per ounce, varieties like Superseedz should ensure you do not feel hungry – and thanks to their high iron contents, you can rest assured you’ll have a steady supply of oxygen to your exhausted muscles.
4. Coconut Water
While regular water remains most hiker’s best bet, coconut water has been rising to be a majorly preferred (not to mention delicious) hydrating alternative while hiking in hot weather. Coconut water is also an incredible source of potassium, implying that, like all potassium-rich foods, it will help you ensure you don’t get bloated on the trail.
Have you ever wondered why you feel bloated after a tough hiking day in hot weather? It’s because you stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, which increases the production of stress hormones and shuts off digestion, leading to body swelling.
That’s why I’ve also ensured to list the best snacks for hiking in hot weather that aid in digestion as well. With one of these in your backpack, you can rest assured you’ll be feeling your best after the hike.
Without nuts, any guide on the best snacks for hiking in hot weather would be incomplete.
Rich in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats, nuts will not only keep you satisfied amidst your hikes but also keep your skin healthy and safe from the scorching sun. Just ensure you stay away from salted and roasted varieties.
Why? Because salt causes our bodies to look puffier by retaining more water.
6. Mango Lassi
Mango Lassi is a sweet, tangy, cooling yogurt drink popular throughout the Indian subcontinent. It’s akin to smoothies, just creamier. If the drink can work its cooling and refreshing magic in the humid Indian heat, it definitely qualifies as one of the best snacks for hiking in hot weather.
What’s even more appealing is you can make your own, including vegan versions.
7. Dried Fruit
Are you scouring the internet looking for the most nutritious and sweet option without all the clunky and messy transportation problems? Freeze-dried fruits could be what you’re looking for. These delicacies have been dehydrated to get rid of all the water, and what has been left is a tangy, crunchy snack that won’t go bad and transports easily.
The long-lasting nature should come in handy if you’ll be hiking in hot weather for several days.
Dried fruits also contain some fiber and are low in calories, thanks to the fact freeze-dried fruit options avoid added sugars (unlike regular dried versions that tend to have more added sweet stuff.)
8. Lettuce-Less Salad
I know –preparing and dragging full-fledged salad containers to your hiking destination sounds arduous, to say the least. That’s especially considering that the salad will likely be soggy and too warm when it’s time to dig in.
That’s why I suggest going for lettuce-less salad options as the best snacks for hiking in hot weather. Lettuce causes salads to get soggy and wilt, so go for alternative combinations with veggies like garbanzo beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers with light touches of olive oil vinaigrette and lemon. As you may have noticed, all these alternatives are also hydrating foods.
Word of caution for those who use beans. While they are a splendid source of protein, I advise against loading up on them if you’re worried about bloating. Also, ensure you place the salad in a freezer for up to an hour before leaving for your hike.
9. Watermelon Slices
You’re going to be baking in the hot sun, so it only makes sense that you stay diligent about your body’s hydration levels. That’s why this guide would also be incomplete without a snack like watermelons, which are mostly made up of water (92%.)
Even better, with about 40 calories per cup, watermelons are naturally low in calories. So, in addition to helping you fill up and flush out your system, you can eat as many slices as you desire and not feel guilty about loading up on too many calories.
10. Low-Sugar Granola
Granola is often a sugar-coated, calorie-dense trap. If you pick the right kind, however, it can be the hiker’s heaven most of us adventurers only get to experience once in our lives. Tell me that doesn’t sound like something you’d like in your list of the best snacks for hiking in hot weather.
I personally prefer almond chia granola clusters. Made with chia seeds, millet, amaranth, almonds, rolled oats, and a lot of other clean ingredients, these granola clusters can hold up even in the hottest climates.
Best Snacks For Hiking In Hot Weather: Final Thoughts
No matter your hiking expertise, there are a few essentials you don’t want to forget while embarking on your hiking expedition, particularly a hot one. Comfy, supportive hiking or walking shoes – check. Water – triple-check. Unfortunately, something most people tend to neglect is an assortment of the best snacks for hiking in hot weather. Don’t be one of those people.