Last Updated on 06/04/2022
Best Nuts For Hiking
Out of interest, I wanted to know which were the Best Nuts For Hiking in terms of energy and protein so thought I would make a quick post about it. In this guide, I have chosen 10 of the most common nuts found in stores around the world to see which add the most value to your trail mix. You will learn which offers the most energy and which hiking nuts provide other nutritional benefits.
What Makes Nuts so Good for Hiking?
In terms of foods that you can carry for hiking fuel, nuts are up there at the very top of the list. Nuts are packed with healthy fats and protein calories to take the edge off your hunger with a mere handful. Lightweight in terms of what you get from them and easy to pack or keep in your pocket or backpack lid, nuts are ideal for snacking on before, during, and after a hike.
Energy is released slowly instead of in quick bursts and the slow digestion of calorific fat can ‘help maintain energy over long periods of endurance’ which perfectly describes most challenging hikes. Nuts do a fantastic job of restoring lost nutrients and providing a range of valuable vitamins which aid your muscles and joints in recovery.
While you might enjoy all these incredible facts about nuts for hiking, the best thing about this healthy snack is that they taste fantastic and can be added to lots of food or eaten as snacks all day long. They also promote a healthy gut and immune system.
Is Keeping Nuts in Your Pocket on Hikes a Good Idea?
Many hikers like to keep small snacks at hand to eat on the go or access without having to route through all your gear. I personally do this with trail mix which I make myself and keep in a 250 ml container (recycled smoothie bottle). Having just a couple of nuts every hour or two will be just enough to keep you going all day long, so keeping them in your pocket is a smart idea.
10 Best Nuts for Hiking
All nuts have their own unique qualities and contain varying levels of nutrients, vitamins, and health benefits. This list is made up of what many might consider the 10 best nuts for hiking as well as some of the tastiest. The measurements below are representative of 100 grams of edible nut and do not include any shells or casing.
- ENERGY: 718 cal per 100g
- PROTEIN: 7.9 g per 100g
Macadamia Nuts are native to Australia but are also grown in other subtropical places like brazil and South Africa. They are one of the best nuts for hiking thanks to their high levels of calories, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. A delicious nut that, like Brazil nuts, has a good dose of selenium and helps reduce bad cholesterol. Slow releasing energy makes these nuts great for hiking.
- ENERGY: 687 cal per 100g
- PROTEIN: 9.2 g per 100g
Pecans have a rich and buttery taste with a crunchy texture which makes them delicious on sweet food, but they also have some great health benefits for hikers. Packed full of energy, minerals, antioxidants, and other incredible nutrients, pecans are great for replenishing your muscles during a hike. Pecan nuts have also shown promising results in protecting the body from cancers which is just one more reason to eat these nuts.
- ENERGY: 651 cal per 100g
- PROTEIN: 14.8 g per 100g
Walnuts have been known to mankind since around 7000 BC and make a fantastic snack for traveling by foot. They are loaded with minerals, vitamins, omega-3, and other beneficial nutrients to help your body run efficiently. Studies have shown that consumption of walnuts actually lowers bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol as well as helping minerals be absorbed by your body. Improved metabolism and faster recovery times after strenuous treks are some other notable benefits of walnuts for hiking.
- ENERGY: 654 cal per 100g
- PROTEIN: 14.3 g per 100g
Brazil Nuts, or Bertholletia excelsa as they are scientifically known, are a nutrient dense nut from South America with an unusual amount of Selenium content. A balanced mix of essential proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and fiber make this nut an excellent addition to trail mixes as it is not recommended to gorge on Brazil nuts alone. Chocolate Brazil nuts are a family favorite of ours.
- ENERGY: 623 cal per 100g
- PROTEIN: 26 g per 100g
Peanuts are perhaps one of the most common nuts people take hiking and are also one of the cheapest. They are rich in energy and minerals, are the perfect nut to bulk up a trail mix, and come in a multitude of flavors and formats. Peanut brittle and cereal bars make a tasty snack but Peanut Butter has got to be one of the best and energy dense nut products to take camping. Get your peanuts!
- ENERGY: 561 cal per 100g
- PROTEIN: 17.2 g per 100g
Cashew Nuts are full of nutritious proteins and minerals including magnesium, iron, calcium, copper, phosphorus and vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, B6, E, and K! And as if that wasn’t enough, Cashew nuts are also a good source of oleic acid (Omega-9) which helps burn fat if you are trying to shed a few pounds. Cashew nuts taste great and should be a staple nut in every hiker’s trail mix.
- ENERGY: 594 cal per 100g
- PROTEIN: 19.3 g per 100g
Pistachios are a delicious treat to snack on both for their nutritional qualities and unique taste. The ideal form to buy pistachios in is unshelled and unsalted for both storage and a healthy sodium intake. They are one of the few nuts that have almost a complete profile of nutrients that humans need to stay healthy/alive. A fantastic all-rounder that should be a part of your regular diet let alone your trail mix for hiking.
- ENERGY: 634 cal per 100g
- PROTEIN: 12.6 g per 100g
Hazelnuts have a fairly sweet flavor and contain lots of healthy fats, phytochemicals, and vitamins B and E. Rich in Magnesium and manganese, hazelnuts also support muscle, bone and joint health for a full day of hiking. Typically eaten raw instead of roasted, these healthy nuts retain all of their natural properties.
- ENERGY: 598 cal per 100g
- PROTEIN: 18.6 g per 100g
Almonds have multiple benefits to your health and are high in Vitamin E which is an immunity booster and antioxidant. The high concentration of monounsaturated fats is particularly good for your heart, bones, skin, blood sugar levels, and cognitive performance. Found in lots of baked goods, almonds have a distinct flavor that adds a punch to any hiker’s nut mix.
- ENERGY: 552 cal per 100g
- PROTEIN: 31.1 g per 100g
Pine nuts are actually seeds from pine tree cones but I have included them on the list because they possess some good qualities. High levels of protein, monounsaturated fat, iron, and magnesium can help boost your energy and improve your bodies ability to absorb nutrients. The sweet nutty taste has made them a delicacy on menus around the world and taste great when added to salads, hot food, and trail mix (in moderation).
Are Nuts the Best Food for Hiking?
Nuts are one of the best foods for hiking because they pack so much energy and protein. It is hard to beat one of nature’s most nutritional foods in terms of energy per gram but not only that but they release energy slowly to keep you going for sustained periods (unlike chocolate which is fast release). The only foods I can think of that are better than nuts on their own are nuts with dried fruit and chocolate for the rapid energy release as well as the sustained energy release.
What Is a Trail Mix?
Trail mix is a collection of different nuts, seeds, dried fruits, chocolates, and any other small snacks you want to mix in. The idea is that you can keep a portion of trail mix in your pocket or within reach so that you can snack as you hike and don’t need to take your backpack off. A common trail mix might be peanuts, cashews, walnuts, chia seeds, raisins, dried apricot, broken up chocolate, m & m’s, and even cereal.
Are Nuts Better than Chocolate for Hiking?
Nuts are much better than chocolate for hiking as they are packed with so much more energy, protein, and vitamins that all help to maintain a healthy body. Chocolate on the other hand tastes amazing and will give you a quick rush of energy that is sometimes followed by a ‘sugar crash’. This can actually slow you down and make feel less energized after an hour or so.