Guide: What to Eat Before and After a Hike

Dietitian Kate Scarlata told us how to stay fueled and energized for a hike.

If you’ve got a grueling hike ahead of you, scarfing down a bowl of cereal and hitting the road isn’t going to cut it. We asked registered dietitian Kate Scarlata what to eat before and during your trek to keep you going all the way to the summit.


1. Oatmeal with fruit

Scarlata says the ideal pre-hike meal contains carbohydrates and protein, so oatmeal with a hearty side, like Greek yogurt or a hard-boiled egg, is a smart breakfast choice.

2. Bagel with peanut butter and banana slices

Bananas further enhance this carb-and-protein-rich meal. “You’re going to lose some potassium when you’re sweating, so I like to include potassium-rich fruit like orange slices or banana slices,” Scarlata says.

3. Greek yogurt parfait

Scarlata recommends topping your yogurt with fruit and granola to add healthy carbohydrates. “You really want to have the carb boost to maintain your glycogen stores so you’re fueled during most of the activity,” she says.


1. Banana with almond butter

 Scarlata says this is a nutritionally balanced but convenient option. “It’s pretty portable and you don’t have to worry about perishable snacks,” she says.

2. No-bake energy bites

Scarlata suggests simple snacks made from nut butter, oats, maple syrup or honey, and seeds. “You’re getting grain, you’re getting protein, and most of the recipes have honey or maple syrup, which is a quick-using fuel,” she says.

3. Trail mix

It’s a hiking classic for a reason. Scarlata recommends nuts and seeds for protein, pretzels for carbs and sodium—especially important if you’re sweating a lot—and chocolate chips for fast energy.

Want to make your own hiking snacks? Try this homemade granola recipe from Asia Bradlee:


3 cups rolled oats
3 tbs raw cacao or cocoa powder
1 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped sour cherries.


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Stir together all of the dry ingredients, except the cherries. Add the coconut oil and maple syrup and stir, making sure the oats are well-coated. Spread out the mixture on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until lightly brown. Let the granola cool and add the cherries.