When hiking with toddlers I think the number one thing I have learned is snacks, snacks, and more snacks. Throw in some water and you have the makings of a good hike.
We honestly like to keep it pretty simple with our snacks. I don't necessarily like to bring anything crazy (except when I am rock climbing but that is a completely different story). Depending on the length of your hike, sometimes you can get away with usual favorites like a cheese stick or fruit, but sometimes you are camping or on longer hikes and don't have access to a fridge/cooler.
There are lots of considerations when you are packing your snacks, Is it going to be hot and sunny where the snacks might melt? How much space do you have? I am going to give you examples of some snacks that I will pack for a typical short hiking trip (no more than 4 miles) with my littles!
1. Chomps Sticks
Honestly, you can pack any sort of beef stick/beef jerky. My family absolutely loves Chomp sticks because not only are they healthier (these are paleo-friendly, Whole30, keto, sugar-free and high protein), but they also taste amazing. They have a ton of different flavors, right now we are loving the salt & pepper venison.
2. Rice Cakes
A super quick and easy snack for my littles. I learned quickly that these are their favorites so I usually have to pack a whole sleeve because they are probably going to eat more than one. This is one of those sweet but healthier options.
3. Trail Mix
This is going to be one of those snacks that you need to see what the temperature is like depending on what type of mix you like. My husband loves the peanut butter mix, while I like more of the spicier mix which doesn't really matter if it's hot out or not. I like putting them in little individual bags for each family member so that we aren't all fighting over one bag.
4. Nature Valley Honey Oats Bars
Any sort of protein bar or nutragrain bar is a perfect snack to kind of fill your stomach up. We like the Honey Oats bars because they aren't going to melt and even if they break up in the bag they are still going to be great!
5. Apple Sauce pouches
Apple sauce pouches are more of a kid's snack, but my kids are obsessed with them. It's something that does not have to be refrigerated so having them in your pack is not going to be a big deal. My husband gets a little "creeped" out by them because they remind him of baby food, so they are definitely more for the kids but I even grab them sometimes!
6. Liquid IV
Okay, so this isn't a snack, BUT it's definitely a necessity to help you stay hydrated which is not only a necessity for you but your kids as well. We love the tangerine one because it's also an immunity boost. I noticed for a while that after backpacking trips I would come down with a little cold just due to exhaustion and once I started taking these on a regular basis I stopped getting sick after trips. It's also great because the kids think it's juice! Liquid IV has all sorts of flavors and benefits, but there are some other great hydration pouches out there.
As I mentioned before, we like to keep it fairly simple on our hikes. If I am going for a super quick hike honestly I will grab beef sticks and rice cakes and run out the door. But If I am planning a slightly longer hike then I usually grab all of these.
Also, I hope this goes without saying but everything you pack in needs to be packed out! I will put each kid's snacks in a Ziploc bag and then put an empty Ziploc bag inside of that one for them to put their trash in. This helps you separate them so you're not getting any crumps/sticky things on your unopened food.
Nature is awesome and something we need to be getting our kids involved in, but we also need to be doing our part to keep it clean.