Like many, I was taught to bring plenty of carbs backpacking. But I’ve been focusing on eating more low-carb and thought to try it on my trip to climb my first 14er in Colorado, Grays Peak. Grays Peak is 14,278-foot (4352 m) and it is the highest point on the Continental Divide in North America. I was nervous and excited to take this adventure on and wanted to focus on keeping on my healthy track so I searched out some low carb hiking snacks.
I started my day with chocolate shakeology with MCT oil. This was healthy AND delicious.
The good news is regardless of the diet you choose Shakeology is always the ultimate starter meal (even in a high fat Ketogenic Diet). Why? Because Shakeology is made of over 70 exotic completely natural ingredients and is ranked super low on the glycemic index. 1 serving of Vanilla shakeology on it’s own (made with water and ice) has 14 grams of total carbs. And in the world of tracking carbs you can deduct the fiber grams from the total grams of carbs. Yes, dietary fiber counts as a carbohydrate, but your body has difficulty breaking it down into glycogen, or sugar. Therefore, the fiber doesn’t metabolize into glucose (the simple sugar transformed from sugar and starch that brings your blood sugar up). Fiber travels through your digestive tract without going through that glucose-conversion process. Note, there are 3 grams of fiber in Shakeology making it’s total carb count ONLY 11 grams! How awesome is that!
Rather than make meals besides a turkey and avocado low carb wrap, I snacked as needed. Interestingly, I didn’t develop cravings for junk food, which I always used to do when eating the traditional carb-rich backpacking diet. I was never really hungry, I never “bonked,” and I felt good with plenty of energy.
Low Carb Hiking Snacks – Proteins:
Jerky: Grass-fed jerky can be found at a lot of farmers markets, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and some higher end grocery stores. Conventional jerky can be bought anyway, from target to a gas station. Great last minute, emergency protein. I really like the above Jack Links turkey jerky as its lower in sodium. It has 4 grams of carbs.
Protein Bars: like bars like the quest bars because they are easy to pack and provide a quick boost of energy when you are on the trail or on the go. I chose flavors that had lower net carbs which were the chocolate brownie (5 net carbs) and the chocolate chip cookie dough (3 net carbs).
Low Carb Hiking Snacks – Chips:
Quest Sour Cream and Onion Protein Chips and Quest Sea Salt Protein Chips:
I saw these in the grocery and had to try these Quest Protein Chips are baked and never fried. These protein chips are Gluten Free, Soy Free and contain 21 grams of Protein with only 3-5 Net Carbs! So, the verdict are the sour cream ones were really good and the sea salt really tasted like nothing. I could not even eat really any of the sea salt, but enjoy the sour cream ones all the way to the top of Grays!
Low Carb Hiking Snacks – Nuts and Seeds:
Pumpkin seeds – These seeds are a solid bet. Thanks to their high levels of manganese, arginine, zinc, and magnesium, pumpkin seeds can provide you with a natural boost of energy ideal for powering through a trek’s steep sections. After you consume this “superfood,” the magnesium in pumpkin seeds breaks down glucose into energy, and arginine produces nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels and improves circulation. Do not worry, I did not take all those pumpkin seeds with me – I measured out a serving and put in a ziplock bag.
Unsalted sunflower seeds – You should also look for nuts that are unsalted. Often times, sunflower seeds will already come pre- salted.Remember that nuts are very high in Omega-6 fatty acids, so you’ll want to limit your intake. These seeds are mostly low-carb, but definitely check out the nutritional info. Pre-Measuring and placing in bags will help keep you from over-indulging.
Almonds – For their size, almonds are impressively high in nutrients. A small handful packs roughly 3.5 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and 14 grams of healthy fats. Fiber digests slowly and helps you feel full right away, while the protein keeps you feeling that way. What’s more, almonds are loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin E, both of which help to prevent oxidative stress and cell damage. What that means for you, the hiker, is that almonds can help combat the fatigue brought on by long hours on the trail.
Low Carb Hiking Snacks – Conclusion
It was a beautiful hike and definitely challenged us. Most of it was uphill and once we got to 12,500 Ft, multiple short breaks
were needed. I definitely had enough energy and felt empowered with my healthy snacks. It was breathtaking at the top. I definitely want to do another 14er!!
I hope you found these low carb hiking snack ideas helpful. Please feel free to share with others and I would love to hear some of your ideas for some healthy low carb hiking snacks!