The Absolute Best Keto Hiking Foods for Your Outdoor Adventures
If you’re hitting the trails for a while, you’ll definitely want to pack a few snacks to keep your energy up. But what should you stock up on while following a keto diet? You’ll find some of the best keto hiking foods below that will keep you satisfied and feeling strong during your trek.
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Can you really fuel exercise without carbs?
You can! Hiking is generally a moderate intensity, long-lasting exercise. When people eat a standard American diet, the body uses both carbohydrates and fat to support that activity.
However, when you’ve been on a keto diet for a while, the body becomes more “fat adapted”. This means you’re able to better utilize fat for fuel during this type of exercise.
While not eating carbohydrates can limit your ability to do short, high intensity exercise (like sprinting and power lifting, for example) – you can still most definitely do moderate intensity hikes on a keto diet and fuel with low-carb food choices.
Keto hiking snacks
Ideally, foods for a hike should be relatively lightweight, and should not require refrigeration. On a keto diet, you of course also need to consider the macronutrient breakdown of any foods you’re taking.
Each of the keto hiking foods below is a great choice for a low carb diet. None have more than 4 grams of net carbs per serving, and most fall around 0 to 2 grams of net carbs per serving. Several are high-fat options.
Keep in mind that while on a long hike, you may not hit your exact preferred macro ranges. For example, those on a strict keto diet generally aim for around 70% of calories to come from fat each day.
For most people following keto for personal reasons though (and not strict medical reasons) – it’s OK if you don’t hit exactly around this range for a day or two of hiking, particularly if your overall net carbs stay low.
(However, if following keto for medical reasons, always check with your doctor to see if you must stay at a certain percentage of macronutrients or certain amount of fat each day.)
Ready to get moving? Here’s 13 of the best snacks to pack for your adventure!
1. Nut Butter Pouches
When it comes to a lot of energy in a small, lightweight food – nut butter pouches are an excellent option. They’re high in healthy fats and calories, making them a perfect keto hiking food.
At most grocery stores, you should be able to find Justin’s almond butter packets. One packet contains 220 calories, 19 grams of fat, and 2 grams of net carbs.
You should also check out SuperFat pouches, which can be ordered online. They come in five standard flavors and range from 20 to 31 grams of fat per pouch. The macadamia coconut (27 grams of fat) and cacao coconut (22 grams of fat) are my two favorites, with just 3 grams of net carbs each. (Find a full review of SuperFat products here with more information.)
With any nut butter packet, just remember to knead them for a few minutes prior to eating. (The oil can separate, and if you don’t knead them, it can be a bit unpleasant getting a mouthful of oil.)
2. Nuts and Seeds
Aside from nut butter pouches, nuts and seeds can also be convenient. Keep in mind that nuts vary as far as their net carb counts. For example, pistachios and cashews are a bit higher in carbs, so you may want to choose other nuts instead most of the time.
Here’s some of the lower net carb options:
- Macadamia nuts– 1 oz (10-12 macadamia nuts) – 200 calories, 21 g fat, 1.5 g net carbs
- Pecans– 1 oz (19 pecan halves) – 195 calories, 20 g fat, 1.5 g net carbs
- Pumpkin seeds– 1/4 cup – 180 calories, 13 g fat, 2 g net carbs
- Walnuts– 1 oz (14 walnut halves) – 185 calories, 18 g fat, 2 g net carbs
3. Cheese Snacks
If you’re heading out on a long hike, cheese that needs to be refrigerated may not be the best option. However, there’s tons of dehydrated cheese snacks on the market these days that are so tasty! They’re salty, crunchy, cheesy, and filling.
Here’s a few popular brands that you might like, which are all shelf stable:
- Just the cheese bars – 1 pack of two bars – 150 calories, 12 g fat, <1 g net carbs
- Moon cheese – 6 to 7 pieces – 70 calories, 5 g fat, 1 g net carbs
- Whisps cheese crisps – 1 single serve bag – 100 calories, 7 g fat, 1 g net carbs
- Parm crisps – 1 single serve bag – 100 calories, 7 g fat, 0 g net carbs
4. Olive Pouches
Olives are one of the few fruits and vegetables that are naturally higher in fats. Pitted olives can thus make a great snack on a low carb diet. While they’ve traditionally come in cans or glass jars, you can now find pitted olives in pouches, making them convenient for hikes.
Here’s a few options on the market:
- Frutto d’Italia Green Pitted Olives – per pouch – 52 calories, 6 g fat, 0 g net carbs
- Mario Camacho Foods Pitted Snack Olives – per pouch – 50-60 calories, 6 g fat, 0-1 g net carbs (varies based on flavors)
Of course, you could also buy a big ‘ol jar of pitted olives and just portion some out yourself in a zip top bag or a food storage container for your hike.
5. Beef Jerky
This is one option where you’ll need to be careful with brands. Many popular brands of beef jerky that you’ll find at the grocery store clock in between 6 to 9 grams of carbohydrates per serving. For many people trying to stay under 20 grams of net carbs per day, that can be a lot.
However, there are a few brands on the market without added sugar that can be a great store-bought option for keto hiking food. Here are some options:
- Jack Link’s Zero Sugar Beef Jerky –70 calories, 2 g fat, 0 g net carbs, 13 g protein
- Tillamook Zero Sugar Original Beef Jerky –70 calories, 1.5 g fat, 0 g net carbs, 14 g protein
- People’s Choice Old Fashioned Beef Jerky –90 calories, 2.5 g fat, 0 g net carbs, 16 g protein
You can also make your own homemade keto beef jerky. This is great if you were able to find a good deal on eye of round, top round, bottom round, top sirloin, or flank steak.
6. Cured Meats
Aside from jerky, other cured meats can also excellent for your hikes. Salami, pepperoni, and summer sausage all come in shelf-stable options, and all provide a variety of fat and protein.
7. Low Carb Yogurt Pops
This is an odd one, but we like it. Most brands of yogurt are usually a no-go on a keto diet, but Two Good yogurt makes it an accessible option. Each 5.3 ounce container of Two Good yogurt contains 80 calories and 3 grams of net carbs (including 2 grams of naturally occurring sugar in the milk used to make the yogurt). This can fit into an overall balanced keto diet.
Now, yogurt may not seem the most practical for taking along on a hike, but here’s how you can get clever: Take the yogurt and freeze it in popsicle tubes. You can pack these to take with you, and they’ll slowly defrost, keeping your yogurt snack good for a couple hours. It can make a refreshing cool snack to eat a little bit into your hike (just don’t wait too long to enjoy it).
8. Keto Trail Mixes
Most keto trail mixes are blends of different types of nuts along with some other add-ins (like chocolate or dried cheese, for example).
Our homemade keto trail mix is an excellent option to bring on a hike. A quarter cup serving packs in 220 calories, 22 grams of fat, and just 3 grams of net carbs. However, it does contain no-added sugar chocolate, which may be a no-go on a hot day (as it could melt). If you’re hiking in warm weather, leave that out of the mix.
You can also find some store-bought keto trail mixes available these days, like one of these options:
- Nature’s Garden Keto Snack Mix – a mixture of macadamia nuts, pecans, pepitas, almonds, and dried cheese balls – 170 calories, 15 g fat, 2 g net carbs
- NuTrail Keto Snack Mix – a mixture of almonds, pepitas, cheddar puffs, pecans, and macadamia nuts – 170 calories, 15 g fat, 2 g net carbs
- Santa Cruz Paleo Chocolate Chip Trail Mix – a mixture of almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, and stevia-sweetened chocolate* – 187 calories, 18 g fat, 1 g net carbs
- simplyFUEL Keto Granola Trail Mix – a mixture of almonds, pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips*, coconut, sunflower seeds, pecans, hemp seeds, MCT oil, and peanut butter – 180 calories, 15 g fat, 1 g net carbs
*As these two options contain chocolate, they may not be ideal for hot days.
9. Tuna and Salmon Pouches
Those little pouches of seafood have made it convenient to enjoy nutrient-rich fish anytime, anywhere. You don’t need a can opener, and the pouches are very light to pack in a backpack.
You can find plain varieties or different flavored options like buffalo and lemon pepper. You can also find tuna pouches packed in olive oil, which are a great option for getting more fat into the hiking snack (as opposed to the other pouches which are more protein focused).
Most seafood pouches clock in around 80 to 100 calories per pouch with 1 or less grams of net carbs. However, always double check the labels based on the flavor you are looking at purchasing; some flavors (like honey barbecue for example) may have more net carbs than you’d like.
Also, remember to bring two things with you if you’re packing pouches of tuna or salmon:
- a) a fork or spoon to be able to eat it
- b) a zip top bag to pack your trash – unlike the wrapper of a bar or other snack, you don’t want a torn open pouch of seafood sitting in your backpack. Placing it in a zip top bag will prevent any leftovers in the pouch from getting on your gear, and also prevent your bag from smelling like seafood.
10. Keto Bars
Packaged snack bars and protein bars are light, shelf-stable, and easy to carry on a long hike. You can throw a few in your backpack to ensure you’ve got enough energy to keep you going. Here’s a few great options:
- Perfect Keto bars (almond butter brownie) – 1 bar – 240 calories, 19 g fat, 2 g net carbs
- K The Ketogenic Bar (chocolate peanut butter) – 1 bar – 220 calories, 19 g fat, 3 g net carbs
- FattBar (caramel and sea salt) – 1 bar – 140 calories, 11 g fat, 2 g net carbs
- Genius Gourmet keto bar (creamy peanut butter chocolate) – 1 bar – 170 calories, 13 g fat, 3 g net carbs
- Stoka Bar (vanilla almond) – 1 bar – 250 calories, 22 g fat, 4 g net carbs
Yep, just a straight up avocado. A full one contains about 320 calories, 29 grams of fat, and has 4 grams of net carbohydrates. There are avocado savers on the market that can prevent this from getting banged up in your backpack.
Just keep in mind a full avocado has 17 grams of total carbohydrates, 13 of which are fiber (hence the 4 grams net carbs). While some people may be just fine with that fiber, others may find the high fiber snack has them needing to find a spot off the trail to use the bathroom more frequently.
12. Keto Bricks
This is a product I came across fairly recently and seems like it would be a great option for a hike. Essentially, these keto bricks are like giant, shelf-stable fat bombs. They’re each 1000 calories, come in a variety of flavors, and last for 6-12 months.
The peanut butter, chocolate malt, and mocha keto bricks all contain just 4 grams of net carbs each, and between 88-92 grams of fat.
13. Water and Electrolytes
Of course, with any hike, the most important thing of all to bring is water. Be sure to pack plenty, as you’ll need it to stay hydrated.
You’ll also want to make sure you’re meeting your electrolyte needs. You lose electrolytes like sodium and potassium in your sweat, and it’s important to replenish these. There are different electrolyte powders or fizz tabs on the market that you can mix with water.
Science in Sport GoHydro tablets are a nice option as they have less than 1 gram of carbohydrate per tablet but provide 350 mg of sodium along with 65 mg of potassium, 8 mg of magnesium, and 100 mg calcium. (Note – they are sweetened with sucralose, an artificial sweetener, so using them may depend on your personal comfort level with that).
It’s also a good idea to pack something like LifeStraw as an emergency hydration option. This is a small, ultralight, portable filter that you can use in rivers or streams if you run out of regular water. It filters more than 99% of bacteria and parasites in the water.
While it’s not something you’d want to rely on instead of packing water, it is a low-cost tool that you may want to have in the event you went through your water quicker than anticipated or you got lost on a trail.
A Final Word
Hopefully all this info is helpful as you get ready for your hike! Look for shelf-stable snacks that don’t require refrigeration, that are light and don’t weigh your pack down too much, and that are low in net carbs. Try to include several options that are high fat. With a little planning and preparation, you can definitely have a successful time on the trails while continuing to follow your keto diet.
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