15 Easy and Balanced Camping Snacks
By Jenna Braddock, MSH, CSSD, RD, ACSM-CPT, a mom and consultant sports dietician who works with Clif Bar & Company.
The ideas and suggestions written below are provided for general educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or care. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider before beginning any physical fitness or health- and nutrition-related activity.
One of my favourite ways to enjoy the great outdoors is with good old-fashioned camping which offers individuals and families alike so many benefits. You don’t have to go far from home, it’s low cost, it’s a way to become more connected to your public outdoor spaces and community.
Whether you are going for a weeklong excursion in the woods or an overnight stay down the road, identifying the right foods to pack can leave you scratching your head and wondering, “What kinds of snacks should I take camping?” Sure, it’s great to bring fun foods like s’mores and chips on your trip, but you also need camping snacks that will help keep everyone energized, full, and happy.
Camping snacks need to deliver on many things, including being fun AND balanced. This might seem like a challenging task, but here’s a simple way to break it down and use a nutrition formula to choose the best snacks to bring. Easy, balanced camping snacks have a combination of whole food ingredients, protein, whole grains, and good fat. Here’s why:
Whole food snacks contain recognizable ingredients you can see and taste. There are many convenient, packaged options that prioritize whole foods and make nutritious snacking on the go a breeze. Simply read the ingredient list and look for options you might find in your own kitchen like whole grain oats, nuts and seeds, nut butters, and fresh or dried fruits.
Protein is known for its ability to repair muscles post-workout, but its satiating powers make it a crucial nutrient for camping snacks too.1 Protein can help curb hunger and allow you to focus on enjoying the great outdoors and not a nagging hunger pang, especially if you’re participating in activities during your trip.
Foods made with whole grains include fibre, a nutrient that most adults and children do not get enough of in their diets.2,3 Fibre is important when travelling because it can help promote a healthy gut and keep you regular.4
Lastly, healthy fat rounds out the winning mix of nutrients for camping snacks. Fat can help your body better absorb important nutrients. Good fats (mono- and polyunsaturated fats) from plant-based sources like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil are also satisfyingly delicious.5
Now that you know how to build a balanced camping snack, check out this list of favourites that the whole family will love.
No-Cook, Grab ‘n’ Go Camping Snacks:
- Harvest blend with nuts and dried fruit
- Freeze-dried fruits and veggies with roasted bean or chickpeas
- Cheese stick + single serving whole grain crackers
- Snack bars like CLIF Kid Zbar® for the kids or CLIF® Nut Butter Bar for adults
- Squeezable yogurt + a mandarin orange
- Baby carrots + single serving hummus cups
Light-Assembly Camping Snacks:
- Campfire Banana Boats – Slice fresh bananas down the centre from tip to tip. Do not peel. Gently open the split and fill with toppings like berries, granola, nuts, or chocolate chips. Wrap the stuffed banana in aluminum foil and warm over a campfire for about five minutes. Remove them from the heat and let them cool slightly. Open the foil and use a spoon to scoop out the warmed banana mixture.
- Savoury Popcorn Snack Mix – Gather ‘round the campfire and pop some popcorn using an open fire popper or a ready-to-pop stovetop option. Let the popcorn cool then mix in add-ins like pretzels, roasted peanuts, crunchy roasted chickpeas, cheese crackers, and/or dried fruit. No campfire? No problem! Store-bought popcorn makes this savoury snack even simpler.
- Cheese + Fruit Kabobs – This is a fun way to mix up the traditional cheese board. Simply fill skewers with alternating cheese cubes and fruit like grapes, blueberries, or strawberries.
- Deli Meat Roll-Ups – Try a twist on a traditional deli sandwich by rolling a slice of deli meat with a half slice of cheese. Add a slice of fresh avocado or a pickle spear to the middle and wrap it all in a large lettuce leaf or a whole wheat tortilla.
- Peanut Butter + Jam Skewers – Who doesn’t love PB&J? Use your favourite spreads and bread to make a traditional PB&J sandwich. Then cut it into cubes and thread it onto a wooden kebob skewer along with fresh strawberries, blueberries, or grapes.
Make-Ahead Camping Snack Recipes:
- DIY Chips + Dip Bar – Create a build-your-own chips and dip bar at camp featuring homemade salsa, bean dip, and guacamole.
- Bento Snack Boxes – Keep hungry mouths happy during your road trip or at the campsite with a bento box packed with miscellaneous nutritious snacks to mix, match, and munch.
- Fruit and Veggies + Dip – For something sweet, dip fruit into this peanut butter frosting dip, or for something savoury, dip veggies into a roasted carrot & ranch hummus.
- Morning Glory Veggie Muffins – These veggie-filled muffins can be made before you leave home and enjoyed by the whole family throughout the trip.
Now that you have the snack situation figured out, go ahead and plan that getaway. Find some open space with a beautiful vista or a refreshing swimming hole. Pitch the tent (or plug in the campervan), kick up your feet, and enjoy your outdoor fresh air and views.
- Arentson-Lantz E et al. Protein: A nutrient in focus. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2015;40(8):755-61.
- Ahmed M, L'Abbe MR. Nutrient intakes of Canadian adults: results from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS)–2015 Public Use Microdata File. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2021;114(3):1131-40.
- Boctor D. The role of dietary fibre and prebiotics in the paediatric diet. Paediatrics & Child Health. 2020;25(4):263-.
- Slavin, JL. Fiber and prebiotics: Mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients. 2013;5(4): 1417–1435.
- Government of Canada. Fats: Fats and your health. Available at: https://www.canada.ca/en/healt.... Modified 6/30/22. Accessed on 11/19/22.