How to arrange foods when hiking or lightweight camping with kids

Fueling Your Kids for a Fun and Fuss-Free Outdoor Adventure


When it comes to family hiking or lightweight camping trips with your little explorers, one thing’s for certain: food can be the ultimate motivator and source of comfort for them. It’s the secret weapon for keeping those young explorers energized and content throughout the journey. While you may have fond memories of spontaneous, sneaker-clad hikes in your pre-parenting days, today’s adventures with kids call for a different kind of preparation.

For every outdoor enthusiast, a picnic is an essential part of the journey. The excitement of exploring nature and discovering new wonders is often complemented by the joy of a well-prepared meal. However, what you pack largely depends on the weather and the season. Let’s dive into some delicious ideas for your kids’ outdoor experience, whether you’re hiking in the rain-soaked countryside or basking in the warm sunshine.

Cold Days Hiking:

If you are living in the UK, many of our hikes involve wet and chilly weather. That’s where a warm and comforting soup takes the spotlight. Imagine huddling next to a rustic stone wall with a Thermos filled to the brim with rich tomato soup, accompanied by slices of tiger bread spread with butter. It’s a comforting treat for both parents and kids.Of course, the little adventurers have their trusty ham and cheese sandwiches. Sausage rolls and bite-sized popcorn chicken are perfect for curbing their hunger. You also can carry protein-packed cereal bars and flapjacks for added energy, and a punnet of juicy grapes or strawberries to add a touch of sweetness.

Hot Days Hiking:

As the sun graces us with its warmth, your hiking menu takes a lighter turn. You can opt for simple sandwiches or tortilla wraps filled with chicken salad. Tuna pasta salad is a hit – it can be enjoyed either warm or cold, providing sustenance during those long miles on the trail.Here’s a handy tip for keeping your drinks and food cool during hot days: freeze a large bottle of water the night before your hike. The icy bottle will not only chill your food but also offer a refreshing cooldown for the entire family.


How to plan your meals and nutrition while hiking with your little ones?


Pre-Hike Nutrition:

Before setting out on your hike, opt for foods that provide lasting energy and support your kids during the initial phase of the adventure. A well-rounded breakfast featuring protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats is ideal. Think scrambled eggs with whole wheat toast, fruit, or oatmeal with milk and nuts or seeds.

On-the-Trail Snacks:

During your hike, choose snacks that combine protein and simple sugars to provide quick bursts of energy for your youngsters. Look for items that are easy to carry and won’t create a mess in your backpack. Peanut butter pretzels, popcorn, cheese sticks, trail mix, peanut butter pouches, and easily portable fruits like mandarin oranges, grapes, and sliced apples are excellent choices. Don’t forget salted nuts and seeds for an electrolyte boost. Younger kids might enjoy “ants on a log,” featuring celery sticks filled with peanut butter, raisins, and chocolate chips – a tasty and energizing treat.

Pack Generously:

As a parent, you know your child’s appetite best, but it’s wise to overpack when it comes to snacks. For shorter hikes, aim for one or two snack items per child. If you’re embarking on a half-day or longer adventure, pack at least three snacks per child to ensure their energy levels remain high.

Post-Hike Refuel:

After those hiking boots come off, offer your kids a well-rounded snack that includes protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. A turkey sandwich with cheese on whole wheat bread, paired with fruit and chips, is a satisfying choice. Consider keeping a cooler in your car for a post-hike picnic – this allows the family to enjoy a full meal, ensuring everyone can rest and recharge before the journey home. A relaxed meal break increases the chances of a peaceful car ride back.

A Sweet Incentive:

Sometimes, motivating kids to complete a hike might require a little extra motivation – and that’s perfectly fine. The promise of hot cocoa in a thermos, a few cookies, or even ice cream can be the perfect carrot to keep them going until the end.

Last thing you need concerned-Stay Hydrated:

Water is the unsung hero of any outdoor adventure, especially when you have kids in tow. While the amount of water needed varies based on factors like the hike’s length, your child’s age and weight, and their level of thirst, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Consider equipping your little adventurers with their own hydration packs, Since children may not always vocalize their thirst, schedule regular hydration breaks and encourage everyone to take a sip. For longer hikes, consider bringing drinks with electrolyte replacement, such as Gatorade, Propel.


Remember, a well-prepared picnic is the key to a successful outdoor adventure. Start your day with a hearty breakfast and pack an assortment of delicious snacks to keep your kids fueled and enthusiastic. After all, it’s not just about the journey; it’s about the tasty treats and memorable moments that come with it. So, gear up, hit the trails, and savor those outdoor adventures with your young explorers.

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