Snacks for the Summit

June 13, 2022
| Created by Hannah Langley, MS, RDN, CD

Warmer months like June mean less snow at mountain summits and consistent weather for outdoor recreation. If you’re planning on venturing into the mountains this summer, here are some sports nutrition tips to ensure you go into your adventure adequately fueled and ready to bag some peaks! 

Before Your Hike

Supplying your body with enough calories before hiking is crucial for feeling energized and performing your best. Calories provide energy to prevent early fatigue and push through the steep or strenuous sections of your hike. About 3-4 hours before your hike, enjoy a meal that is rich in carbohydrates but lower in protein, fat, and fiber. Carbohydrates and quickly digested and used by our body for energy, while fat, protein, and fiber are more slowly digested. These slower-digesting nutrients can cause some nausea or stomach discomfort if eaten too much, too soon before exercise. An example breakfast would be pancakes with a little peanut butter, maple syrup, and a side of fruit. About 30-60 minutes before your hike, aim to have a small snack that is rich in carbohydrates but very low in protein, fat and fiber. Grab and go examples include fresh fruit, pretzels, applesauce pouches, and fruit leather. If you’re waking up to catch a sunrise and don’t think you’ll have time to stomach a full breakfast, prioritize your pre-hike snack!

On the Trail

Having snacks in your daypack is a must to help you stay fueled during long and strenuous hikes, or if you end up spending more time outside than you expected. Snacks during your hike should be rich in carbohydrates and low in protein, fat, and fiber, the same as your pre-exercise snack. You can also include sport gels or gummies if you want a decent source of calories that’s lighter in weight. If you’re hiking at a lower intensity, you might be able to tolerate snacks that are higher in protein and fat, like a classic trail mix.

During hot and sweaty summer months, adding electrolytes tablets like Nuun to your water bottle or making your own sports drink can help you stay hydrated. We lose electrolytes when we sweat, adding them back into our water can help our cells more effectively hydrate our body.  

At the Summit

You’ve made it to the summit and now it’s time to celebrate! While you’re hanging out at the top or making your way back down the trail, prioritize foods that have both carbohydrates and protein. In the first 30-60 minutes after exercise, we want to replenish the glycogen in our muscles, which is our body’s stored source of carbohydrates. We also want to provide our body with protein to repair and rebuild our muscles. Try bringing string cheese, a granola bar, dried fruit and nut butter packets, crackers, jerky, or applesauce and blended fruit pouches.  

For more snack and product ideas, check out our Sports Nutrition collection on eShop or reach out to your Harmons dietitian at