Day Hike Lunch Ideas

27 Day Hike Lunch Ideas (and snacks too!) 2022 Update

Looking for a few day hike lunch ideas for an upcoming trip?

Get inspired by some quick and easy meal ideas to fuel your next day hike!

Hiking is fun and a great way to get some aerobic exercise and lift the spirits.

Nevertheless, preparing your body well for a day of backpacking or hiking is key.

Whether you’re interested in some healthy snacks filled with protein for long-lasting energy, or useful tips on yummy meals for the whole family to enjoy, WWB guest poster Adiza will share plenty of day hike lunch ideas waiting for you to use on your next excursion.

Day Hike Lunch Ideas

DISCLOSURE

Some of the links on here are affiliate links and I may earn if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful! Thanks.

Related Posts on Hiking

Summary of 27 day hike lunch ideas: 

Vegetarian Lunch Ideas

1. Lentils And Rice 

2. Cottage Cheese And Fruit

3. Quinoa Bowl 

4. Fruit And Nut Butter

5. Hard-boiled Eggs

Protein-rich Lunch Ideas

6. Tossed Greens With Chicken Breast

7. Quiche With Mushrooms And Spinach

8. Tomato And Feta Pasta Salad

9. Hummus And Cucumber Wrap

10. Salmon And Wild Rice Pilaf

11. Canned Tuna And Avocado

Kid-friendly Lunch Ideas

12. Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwich With Fruit

13. DIY “Lunchable”

14. Chicken Nuggets And Veggie Sticks 

Hiking Sandwiches

15. Chicken Salad Sandwich

16. Egg Salad Sandwich

17. Classic BLT Sandwich

18. Tofu Banh Mi 

19. Caprese Sandwich

Salad Lunch Ideas

20. Cobb Salad

21. Three-bean Salad

Multi-day Trip Lunch Ideas

22. Beans

23. Spaghetti With Tomato Sauce

24. Oatmeal

25. Sausages

26. Soup

27. Boxed Macaroni And Cheese

Vegetarian Lunch Ideas

1. Lentils And Rice

Nothing screams a traditional hike meal like beans and rice…er, well, lentils and rice in this case! Lentils are cheap to purchase and quick to make.

Try seasoning them with some curry powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper for a kick! Add a bit of rice on the side and you have a balanced lunch of protein and carbs.

2. Cottage Cheese And Fruit

Cottage cheese is a nice base for a hiking lunch if you’re a dairy fan.

 You can top it with any fruit you like, canned, preserved, or fresh peaches, mango or plums are a nice addition to add some sweetness to the savory cottage cheese.

3. Quinoa Bowl 

High in protein, but with the texture of a carbohydrate, quinoa packs a punch! It’s a great base for a bowl lunch. You can add vegetables to it like cucumber, edamame, bell peppers, cucumber, and squash if you’d like.

For non-vegetarians, try adding a protein like beef or chicken to it to make it more hearty. Brighten it up with lime, mint, or parsley.

4. Fruit And Nut Butter

Fruit and nut butter is one of the most versatile and customizable trail lunches out there. Apple slices with peanut butter bring your taste buds salty and sweet flavor, with the creamy peanut butter and crisp apple slices.

If you don’t eat peanuts, try sunflower seed butter, almond butter, or any other nut butter. Banana is another fruit option to replace or supplement the apple slices.

This is also a great meal or snack option for kids!

5. Hard-boiled Eggs

Got an extra ten or fifteen minutes in the morning? Hard-boil some eggs! I suggest two if you’re a light eater and three if you’ll be really hungry on your hike.

Eggs are full of protein, quick to make, and easy to pack, so a good lunch idea overall. You can even add them to your lunch bag as a snack for long excursions.

If you make them fresh, just be sure to chill them in a bowl of ice water for a bit before you pack them, otherwise, they’ll be incredibly hard to peel later on!

If you don’t have those extra few minutes to cook them fresh, you can boil them the night before and refrigerate them until you’re ready to pack your bag.

Protein-rich Lunch Ideas

6. Tossed Greens With Chicken Breast

Chicken breast is a lean protein that is a versatile addition to many meals.

For a hearty salad, toss some greens like arugula, spinach, and lettuce in a light dressing and add chopped chicken breast on top. Walnuts or pecans can add some crunch to the salad, and dried cranberries or apricots can provide a bit of sweetness.

7. Quiche With Mushrooms And Spinach

As mentioned before, eggs are a great base for a meal, and cooking them in a quiche is another creative way to prepare them.

One of the best things about quiche is that it can be jazzed up to your liking: add ham, bacon, turkey, peas, spinach, mushrooms, kale, and any variety of spices you wish.

Quiche can be made days prior to your hike and frozen. For bite-sized quiche, bake in a muffin tin.

8. Tomato And Feta Pasta Salad

Pasta salad is a spin on a classic salad, just using pasta as the base. It can be eaten cold and is a popular choice for summer lunch, including when hiking.

Feta cheese and baby tomatoes pair well for a macaroni pasta salad and can be enjoyed with a light Italian dressing to brighten it up.

9. Hummus And Cucumber Wrap

Hummus and cucumbers are delicious on their own, and made into a portable lunch when put into a wrap! Try spinach or whole wheat tortilla as wrap choices, or traditional pita bread. Add your choice of fillers as well, such as sprouts, tomatoes, leafy greens, sweet potato, and more!

10. Salmon And Wild Rice Pilaf

For hikers who enjoy cooking, salmon and wild rice pilaf is a protein-rich and savory lunch idea that you can take along with you on your next trail excursion.

Salmon, being full of Omega-3 fatty acids and protein, is a favorite of many outdoorsy types and wild rice is a great complex carbohydrate. Add a side salad or piece of fruit to round out the plate.

11. Canned Tuna And Avocado 

Pack some high-quality canned tuna, avocado, salt, and pepper. Make sure you have a knife and a can opener in your bag as well.

When you’re ready for lunch, cut the avocado in half, take the pit out, fill the hole with tuna on both halves of the avocado, and season to your liking. Add hot sauce for a kick!

Kid-Friendly Lunch Ideas

12. Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwich With Fruit 

I’ve never met a kid (or an adult, for that matter) who doesn’t enjoy a PB&J! They’re simple to make, use little ingredients, and will hold up well on a hike. To complement the sandwich, add cut fruit or veggies.

13. DIY “Lunchable”

Make hiking fun with a DIY lunch that kids can put together themselves. Pair multigrain crackers with salami, crackers, cheese, and carrots or celery sticks. Add a sauce on the side, if you like, marinara sauce and aioli are good options.

14. Chicken Nuggets And Veggie Sticks

For the extremely picky eater, bring along some chicken nuggets that you either bake or microwave beforehand, fruit and veggie sticks like celery or carrots. What kid could say no to that?

Children can be picky eaters but are hungry often, so packing yummy lunches and snacks specifically made for them is the way to go! 

Fun tips:

  • Cut sandwiches into silly shapes using cookie cutters for a creative twist
  • Use bento boxes to keep mains and sides from mixing together and to keep track of each kid’s lunch in a unique way

Hiking Sandwiches

15. Chicken Salad Sandwich

A chicken salad sandwich is a tasty option for meat-eaters. Prepare by mixing pulled or cubed chicken with mayonnaise, diced celery, and onion.

Season to taste and put on toasted bread with tomato and lettuce, if desired.

16. Egg Salad Sandwich

Egg salad sandwiches can be prepared with hard-boiled eggs and mixed with spices, mayonnaise, mustard, and paprika. Season to taste and place on toasted bread.

17. Classic BLT Sandwich

BLT stands for bacon, lettuce, and tomato and this sandwich is an absolute hit at many diners across the United States, but did you know it’s simple and easy to make at home?

Just cook some bacon over the stove or in the oven and add to toasted bread with slices of fresh tomato and crunchy lettuce.

If you don’t eat pork, use turkey bacon, and vegetarians can try tempeh bacon. You’ve got yourself a hiking sando!

18. Tofu Banh Mi

Vietnamese Banh Mi have taken over the sandwich world with their versatility and array of fillings.

The main objective is to have a nice french roll, pickled carrot and daikon radish, fresh chili (jalepeño works a charm), cilantro, cucumber, mayonnaise, and a solid protein. Grilled tofu is absolutely delicious in Banh Mi.

19. Caprese Sandwich

A Caprese sandwich pairs fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and sweet basil, and is typically seasoned with salt and olive oil.

You can add arugula if you wish and balsamic vinegar for a fancy finish. Fresh, light, and Italian-inspired. Perfect for lunch outdoors!

Salad Lunch Ideas

20. Cobb Salad

Cobb salads are well-liked for their colorful look and interesting flavor with all the various ingredients.

Chopped greens provide the base of the salad, and then avocado, chopped hard-boiled eggs, ham, chicken or turkey, bacon bits, tomato, blue cheese, and a red-wine vinaigrette make this salad complete.

21. Three-bean Salad

Kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and canned green beans make the trio in this non-traditional take on a salad.

Finely chopped red onion, celery, and parsley add layers of acid and crunch. Top with an apple cider vinegar-based vinaigrette that is slightly sweet for good balance.

Multi-day Trip Lunch Ideas

Multi-day hike lunch ideas can be the same as for your short hike, just with larger portions. 

Or, you can branch out by trying different types of recipes. You can break out your camping stove and make hot meals! 

Here are 5 different day hike lunch ideas that you can cook:

22. Beans

Canned or dehydrated beans can be warmed on the stove with some water and eaten with some bread or rice. Try toasting the bread on a pan with some oil for a nice crunch.

23. Oatmeal

Oatmeal can be a nice meal option and is simple to prepare. Simply add oats to your pot, with water or milk and cook on low heat. 

Then, you can add your choice of toppings, including nuts, fresh or dried berries, sugar, and cinnamon to jazz your bowl up!

24. Spaghetti With Tomato Sauce

A traditional campfire dinner recipe is simple spaghetti with tomato sauce. Bring a bag of dried noodles and a can of crushed tomatoes along with you. 

  • Boil water in a medium camping pot with a sprinkle of salt
  • Cook the pasta and then drain most of the water.
  • Put the noodles to the side, and add the canned tomatoes with a bit of pasta water, and spice to taste.
  • Toss the cooked noodles in the sauce and you’ve got a delicious Italian-inspired camping dinner!

25. Sausages

If you’re a meat-eater, try bringing along some sausages or hot dogs to roast over a campfire or on a cast-iron. You can eat them by themselves or put them in a bun. 

For balance, add some roasted vegetables like zucchini and carrots to your plate for some fiber and freshness.

26. Soup

Finally, a simple option is to make soup. It’s not the easiest meal to bring along with you on a hike unless you have a reliable thermos to use. But, some freshly made soup can be absolutely delicious! 

Water, chicken, or vegetable broth can be your base, and then go wild with what you toss in! Veggies, cooked meat, and potatoes are all great soup add-ins. Get full and hydrated at the same time!

27. Boxed Macaroni And Cheese

Bring along some boxed mac and cheese and enjoy it warmed over the campfire in a pot.

All you need is water or powdered milk in addition to some dried sausage and chopped spinach to make it a bit gourmet. Spice to your liking as well!

Best Snacks To Pack

Day Hike Lunch Ideas

Apart from your full portioned meals and water, snacks are the next most important food item to bring along for a day hike lunch ideas.

Snacks filled with protein and complex carbs can help you keep your energy up on the last legs of a longer hike.

Some popular hiking snacks to add to your hike lunch ideas are:

Bonus Campfire Snack Ideas

Day Hike Lunch Ideas

Try some classic S’mores by roasting a marshmallow over a campfire and wedging it between a couple of graham crackers with some chocolate! 

You can add all kinds of yummy flavor-boosters to s’mores like roasted berries, salted caramel, or almond butter.

For a healthy, enjoyable snack idea to share with everyone in your camping group, bring coconut oil and popcorn kernels along with you in your hiking backpack. 

  • In your pot, add a spoonful of oil and ¼ cup of kernels and heat over medium heat. Make sure to use the lid to keep the popcorn from flying toward your face while it pops! 
  • Toss nutritional yeast, garlic salt, and/or parmesan cheese on top for a burst of flavor with every bite. 

You’ll be glad you tried these creative recipes!

Always pack more snacks than you think you may need to ensure you have enough food for the trip. 

That way, you have extras to share with any friends you may make along the way!

Best Trail Bars

Trail bars are portable and non-perishable snack items that are a popular option for many hikers. They make a simple and nutritional addition to a day hike lunch ideas incase you were unsure what to bring.

They can be quite lightweight, well-portioned, and contain a bunch of nutrients in a small powerful punch.

Trail bars also come in a variety of flavors and types, including gluten-free, sugar-free, nut-free, and more to be tailored to your dietary needs and taste preferences. Some popular brands of trail bars and granola bars are:

Slide a couple of trail bars into your hiking lunch box before you leave for the day and you’ll be sure to have enough for the road!

Day Hike Lunch Ideas

Hike Nutrition

Why Carbs Are Important

If you ask a marathon runner or competitive swimmer what they had for dinner the night before a big race, they might tell you that they carb-loaded (ate a whole bunch of carbs in a short amount of time) to get ready for their event. 

Carbohydrates help us gain quick energy and are perfect for consuming right before or even during exercise. 

They can give you a burst of energy!

Common sources of carbohydrates are bread, rice, wheat, and sugar. So, packing some crackers to munch on or fresh fruit can be a great way to get carbohydrates in your day hike lunch. 

Carbs are one of the main food groups you should load up on if you’re going on an enduring hike. Just be sure to pair carbs with protein and fat for long-lasting energy!

Protein 

Protein is the nutrient that helps you feel satisfied and staves away hunger. Cheese, meats, seeds, and nuts are some foods that are high in protein and great to take along with you on a hike. 

Eating enough protein helps us sustain the muscle that we build. Protein – which contains a ton of amino acids – also helps our bodies repair cells and create new ones.

Perishables

Anything that is hard to keep fresh on a long hike is probably not a good option to carry with you.

Fresh fruits and vegetables that are firmer or have a peel like apples, oranges, carrots, pears, and cucumbers will keep well, so consider packing those types of foods instead of foods that are easily spoiled.

Fats

We need fats to absorb certain vitamins and antioxidants our bodies need to be balanced and healthy. So, don’t shy away from sources of healthy fats!

Day Hike Lunch Ideas

Why You Need A Healthy Lunch When Hiking

  • Lasting energy for getting you through the hike
  • Nutrients to feed your body 
  • Meals with balanced servings of fruits, vegetables, protein, and complex carbs won’t weigh you down while you hike
Day Hike Lunch Ideas

Food For Hot Weather And Cold Weather

For hot weather, try out:

  • Fresh fruit, like apples, oranges, avocados, watermelon, cantaloupe, etc.
  • Sandwiches and wraps with light ingredients like cucumbers, salmon, kale, spinach, green onion, etc.

In cold weather, you may want:

  • Instant ramen, topped with chopped greens, and chunks of meat
  • Instant mashed potatoes (with your choice of toppings)

Foods To Not Bring On A Hike

If you’ve packed a particularly special lunch with you for school or work, only to find it spilled all over your bag when you arrive at your destination, you know that not all foods can handle being jostled around in a backpack!

Avoid bringing foods that are difficult to transport and easy to spill like: 

  • Pre-made soup
  • Smoothies or shakes
  • Yogurt

Avoid overly sugary foods such as:

  • Soda or carbonated drinks
  • Candy

The caveat here is to avoid most liquid foods unless you have a trusted thermos or spill-proof container. Just make sure to test it before you leave!

Stay Hydrated

Did you know that if you wait to drink water when you feel thirsty, you’re likely already pretty dehydrated?

Water is your best friend on any strenuous excursion, but especially when you’re spending time enjoying the outdoors on a hike. Bring a large water bottle along with you on all hikes and take sips often. 

Staying hydrated will also ensure you are safe from heat exhaustion, which is more common than many people think.

Many sources suggest that you drink at least 8 glasses of water (which is around 2 liters or half a gallon) a day, but always go for more if you’ll be a #sweatyBetty during a long hike!

If you like your water extra cold when you’re hiking, pack ice cubes in your water bottle instead of water, and let it melt while you’re out and about.

Day Hike Lunch Ideas

FAQ

What Foods Are Good For A Hike?

Are you wondering what foods are good on a hike? For day hike lunch ideas, pack light, nutrient-dense foods that will keep you energetic, like cheese sticks, nuts, and sandwiches. Meals should be filling enough to keep you satisfied, but not too heavy that you’ll just want to go home to take a nap!

Is A Sandwich Good For Hiking?

Sandwiches are good for hiking as they are easy to make and quite portable. Sandwiches are also backpacking lunch ideas, no cooking involved! You can make sandwiches for your whole hiking group in just a few minutes for cheap so they are one of the best food options for a day hike lunch ideas that super fast and convenient to make.

What Is The Easiest Thing To Make For Lunch?

The easiest thing to make for lunch is anything that you can toss together with simple ingredients that you have in your kitchen! Not to mention, if you can eat it with just your hands, that’s a huge plus. Some examples are sandwiches, wraps, burritos, and salads. These are also hiking lunch ideas vegetarian hikers will enjoy!

How Do I Keep My Sandwiches Good While Hiking?

To keep your sandwiches good while hiking, remove seeds from vegetables like cucumbers or tomatoes to prevent your bread from being soggy. You can also add extra pieces of lettuce between ingredients to keep the moisture at bay. Try storing them in this waterproof bag to keep them sealed and lasting longer!

Day Hike Lunch Ideas

Before You Head Out The Door…

Whether long or short, hikes are a fabulous way to spend a weekend day or two.

Use these creative day hike lunch ideas in this post to plan your next hikes. Remember to stay hydrated and bring enough food to fuel yourself for the entire time you’ll be active.

Have you tried out any of these meal prep ideas recently? Do you know of any others? We would love to hear!

Share with fellow hikers below and check out the comments to learn what others love to carry along to stay energetic on their hikes. 

More To Explore

Women Wandering Beyond

Hello and Welcome!

Hi there. My name is Aisha Preece. Founder and owner of Women Wandering Beyond.

Learning how to adventure and explore through the world transformed my life and helped me become a happier person.

I want to help you do the same.
My female adventure travel site is dedicated to helping women travel more, step outside their comfort zone and experience wonders of the world beyond their wildest dreams!

Ladies, we are going on an adventure!

Search for something specific

follow our adventures