10 healthy camping snacks to fuel you up

by | Jun 10, 2022 | Food

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Going camping means you need snacks—lots of snacks! Healthy camping snacks are always better than junk food, and this is something that Ross and I are trying to prioritize more for our trips.

While we certainly do love to pack a jumbo-sized bag of M&Ms and a freezer bag full of hickory sticks in our canoe food barrel every so often, it’s worth the extra effort to pack healthy snacks that will help keep us energized and satisfied during our camping trips. Honestly, most are just as tasty as junk food—but without the guilt!

Here are some of our favourite healthy camping snacks.

1. Fresh grapes and berries

Red grapes

Grapes (especially red ones) and berries (especially blueberries) are a newfound favourite snack of ours—mostly because they’re packed with natural sugars that make them taste just like candy. Although they’re among some of the more high-sugar fruits, they’re far less sugary than conventional candy. They also contain antioxidants, vitamins, and a lot of water to help you stay hydrated.

Good for: When you have a sweet tooth and don’t have to worry much about food weight or bulk.

Preparation and storage

  1. Remove grapes or berries from their vines at home and rinse thoroughly using a strainer.
  2. Place them in a sealable freezer bag or container and store in the refrigerator until it’s time to depart on your trip.
  3. Grapes and berries can be stored in your cooler if you’re bringing one (and if there’s room), but they can last a couple of days without refrigeration.

2. Carrot and celery sticks with hummus

Carrots and celery with hummus.

This healthy snack is one of our go-to’s because it requires no cooking and very little preparation. Simply slice up some carrots and celery, pack a small container of your favourite hummus, and you’re good to go!

Tip: To be even healthier, why not consider making your own hummus? You can also dehydrate your hummus ahead of time and then rehydrate it in small portions over the course of your trip so it lasts longer.

Good for: When you’re craving something crunchy but don’t want to consume a bunch of empty calories.

Preparation and storage

  1. Chop carrots and celery pieces.
  2. Add 1 can of chickpeas, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, 1/4 cup of tahini, 1 garlic clove, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, and salt to taste to your blender or food processor and then blend until smooth.
  3. Store carrots and celery in a container with 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of water to preserve freshness.
  4. Store hummus in a container in your fridge or freezer bags in your freezer until it’s time to leave for your trip.
  5. Keep both carrots/celery and fresh hummus in your cooler during your trip, and plan to eat them up within 2 to 3 days.

3. Dried fruit or fruit leather

Dried apple slices.

Dried fruit and leathers are a healthy, chewy alternative to candy that are great for satisfying sweet cravings. You can find them at most health food stores, or you can make your own by dehydrating fruit at home. The benefit of drying them yourself is that you can control how much sugar and other ingredients are added, plus you get all the nutritional value of eating the fruit in whole form (just without its water content).

Good for: When you’re craving something sweet, but don’t have the weight or bulk capacity to carry fresh fruit.

Preparation and storage

  1. If you’re simply drying fruit, wash and slice the fruit thinly.
  2. If you’re making fruit leather, puree the fruit in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  3. Spread the fruit onto dehydrator sheets or trays, and then dry at 135 degrees Fahrenheit for 6 to 12 hours or until leathery.
  4. Pack dried fruit or fruit leathers in an airtight container or freezer bag.

4. Homemade chocolate nut butter energy bites

Chocolate nut butter energy bites.

You might also know these as “energy balls” or “fat bombs” depending on their ingredients and whether they’re marketed to a low-carb or ket-friendly crowd. There are all sorts of different recipes you can find online, but our favourite includes a bit of everything: protein powder to fill us up, quick oats to give us energy, and nut butter to satisfy our craving for fat and bind all the ingredients together.

Good for: When you’re expending a lot of energy and need a seriously filling snack that’s both convenient and portable.

Preparation and storage

  1. Add 3 scoops of your favourite chocolate protein powder (we do 2 scoops whey protein isolate and 1 scoop casein), 2 tbsp cocoa powder, 1/2 cup of sliced almonds, 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, 1/2 cup shredded coconut, 1 cup quick oats, and 3/4 cup your favourite nut butter to a large ball.
  2. Add 1/4 cup water and stir to combine. Add more water slowly as needed, being careful not to add too much. You want the batter to be a thick consistency you can mould with your hands that’s not not too wet or watery.
  3. With clean hands, take a small portion of matter and roll into a ball with your hands. The size of the ball is up to you.
  4. Place balls on a plate until you finish rolling all of them, then store in an sealable freezer bag or container in the fridge until embarking on your trip.
  5. Ideally, theses should be kept in your cooler during your trip, but we’ve found they last a few days as long as it’s not too hot out. If you decide to keep them out of the cooler, watch for white fuzzy mould, which can grow on them when kept at warm temperatures for too long.

5. DIY trail mix

Trail mix

Trail mix is a classic camping snack for a reason: it’s easy to make, easy to eat, and easy to pack. Plus, you can tailor it to your own taste by adding or removing ingredients as you see fit. The sky’s the limit when it comes to trail mix, but our favourite combinations always include sweet and savoury flavours, plus a variety of textures to keep things interesting.

Good for: When you want something that’s easy to eat on the go, filling, and won’t make a mess.

Preparation and storage

  1. Start by picking your favourite nuts like peanuts, almonds, cashews, and pecans for healthy fats and protein. Seeds like pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are also great.
  2. For sweetness, add dried fruit like raisins or Craisins, chocolate chips, or even a little bit of candy like M&Ms.
  3. Finally, don’t forget the salty snacks! We love adding pretzels, popcorn, and potato chips to our trail mix for a little bit of crunch.
  4. Once you’ve gathered all your ingredients, mix them together in a large bowl and then portion into individual servings. We like to use Ziploc bags or small containers for this.
  5. Pack your trail mix in an airtight container or bag and store in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to hit the road.

6. Quest bars

Quest bars

There are countless different protein and energy bars out there, but Quest Bars are our current favourite for a few reasons. First, they’re relatively low in sugar compared to other bars on the market. Second, they’re high in fibre and protein, which makes them filling and satisfying. And finally, they come in a ton of different flavours, so you’re sure to find one (or more) that you like.

Good for: When you need a quick snack that will hold you over until your next meal.

Preparation and storage

Quest Bars don’t require any preparation, which is one of the things we love about them. Just grab one (or two) and put them in your bag before you head out on your camping trip. They’ll last for months without going bad, so you don’t have to worry about them going bad during your trip.

Just make sure you have enough water with you, as Quest Bars can be a little bit dry and hard to eat if you’re not used to them. Our favourite flavours are birthday cake and cookies & cream!

7. Babybel cheese

Babybel cheese

Who doesn’t love cheese? Believe it or not, there are certain ways to have it as a healthy camping snack. Babybel cheese in particular is a type of semi-hard cheese (edam cheese) that’s high in protein and calcium. The harder the cheese, the better it is for camping, because hard cheeses mean longer shelf life without refrigeration.

Good for: When you need a filling snack that will give you energy to keep going.

Preparation and storage

Babybel cheese doesn’t require any preparation. Just unwrap and enjoy!

We recommend storing Babybel cheese in your cooler, but we’ve found that they’re pretty forgiving if they stay at room temperature for as long as a couple of days.

8. Parmesan cheese crisps

Parmesan cheese crisps.

Parmesan cheese crisps are a healthy and delicious alternative to potato chips. They’re made with just two ingredients: Parmesan cheese and olive oil (or another type of oil). They’re low-carb, and best of all, they’re incredibly easy to make if you’re willing to do so. If not, you can buy them in health food stores or online, but like most health foods, they can be on the expensive side. Our favourite is Whisps Tomato Basil cheese crisps.

Good for: When you want a cheesy, crunchy snack that’s healthy and satisfying.

Preparation and storage

  1. If you’re making your own parmesan cheese crisps, start by shredding or grating your cheese. We like to use a food processor for this, but you can also do it by hand.
  2. Next, heat your olive oil (or other type of oil) in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the cheese and spread it into an even layer. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and crispy.
  3. Remove from the heat and let cool on a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. Once cool, break into smaller pieces.
  5. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Bear in mind these may not be the best to bring in hot weather as the heat might cause them to lose their crunchy texture.

9. Duke’s smoked shorty sausages

Duke's sausages

Duke’s smoked shorty sausages are our favourite healthy camping snack for a few reasons. First, they’re high in protein and come in a variety of tasty flavours. Second, they’re one of the few varieties of fully-cooked sausages out there that are nitrate-free, meaning they’re a healthier option that may be less likely to contribute to heart disease. And finally, they’re shelf-stable, so you don’t have to worry about them going bad during your trip.

Unfortunately, they’re a little expensive. But if they can fit into your budget, we highly recommend them for how yummy and convenient they are.

Good for: When you need a quick and easy protein-packed snack.

Preparation and storage

Duke’s smoked shorty sausages don’t require any preparation. You just need to buy them. There are six different flavours:

Duke’s sausages are fine at room temperature when not opened, and in our experience they almost always last for a few days after opening them while keeping them at room temperature, but it’s always best to keep them in a cooler if possible.

10. Homemade beef jerky

Beef jerky

Homemade jerky is a healthy and delicious camping snack that’s easy to make if you have the time. If not, you can get it at most health food stores or online—just make sure you look for jerky from grass-fed beef that doesn’t contain any nitrates. If you plan on making your own in your oven or dehydrator, the key to making healthy jerky is to choose lean cuts of meat, such as flank steak, and to use healthy marinades that are low in sodium.

Good for: When you want a healthy, protein-packed snack with a pop of flavour.

Preparation and storage

  1. If you’re making your own jerky, start by trimming the fat off of your meat. Then, cut the meat into thin strips (no more than 1/4 inch thick). If you’re using a lean cut of meat, such as flank steak, you can leave the strips whole. If you’re using a tougher cut of meat, such as round steak, you’ll want to tenderize it by pounding it with a mallet or the flat side of a knife.
  2. Once your meat is trimmed and cut into strips, it’s time to marinate it. There are endless possibilities when it comes to healthy jerky marinades, but our favourite original recipe involves combining 1/2 Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1 tbsp honey, and 1 tbsp salt in a large sealable freezer bag.
  3. Add the meat strips to the bag, seal it, and squish everything around until the meat is well coated in the marinade. Then, refrigerate for at least 12 hours (but preferably overnight). If possible, take the bag out of the fridge every so often and squish everything around again to help distribute the marinade evenly.
  4. When you’re ready to cook your jerky, preheat your oven or dehydrator to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re using an oven, line a baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top. This will help the hot air circulate around the meat so that it dries evenly. If you’re using a dehydrator, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Place the strips of jerky on the rack (if using an oven) or dehydrator tray, making sure they’re not touching each other. Then, cook for 3-6 hours, or until the jerky is dry and slightly chewy.
  6. Once your jerky is done, turn off the oven or dehydrator and let the strips cool completely. If you’re using an oven, you can leave them on the rack. If you’re using a dehydrator, transfer the strips to a wire rack. Once they’re cool, store them in a sealable freezer bag or an airtight container in the fridge until you set off on your trip.
  7. We don’t like to take chances with our homemade jerky, or any meat for that matter, so we always store it in our cooler and eat it within a few days. Store-bought varieties are more forgiving because they contain preservatives, but when it comes to making your own without all those extra ingredients, the risk of spoilage is higher.

What are your favourite healthy camping snacks?

These are our current top 10. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!

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About Us

Elise & Ross

We’re Elise and Ross, avid backcountry campers and outdoor adventurers! We started Gone Camping Again as a way to share our knowledge and experience about wilderness living and travel. Our hope is that we inspire you to get outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer!

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