Energy Snacks for Eating While Walking

Granola mix

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Walking is an endurance activity. When walking for two hours or more, and particularly when embarking on a monumental challenge like walking a marathon, it's ideal to replace energy by fueling up with portable snacks. Energy bars, energy gels, and sports drinks can replenish you.

These are things to take along or eating while walking. But you should also think about what to eat before a morning walk and what to have as a recovery drink or snack.

Energy Bars

Energy bars offer a good mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.​ They are convenient for a snack when on a long walk, especially as a meal replacement. Most products rely on either peanuts (or other nuts) or soy for protein, with the soy ones often targeted to women (but anyone can eat them). You may want to avoid chocolate-covered bars, as they don't tend to hold up well in your pack, particularly in hot weather.

Nutrition bars often provide many vitamins and minerals and tend to be high in calories and protein. Be sure to check the labels to choose the balance of ingredients that's best for your needs.

Fruit Snacks

Take along fruit for the truly all-natural carbohydrate burst. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium. Apples, small oranges, and raisins are also great packable snacks.

Be sure to dispose of peels and cores appropriately—in the trash, not just tossed in the bushes. The drawback is that the high fiber in apples and raisins may get you, er, moving—and in need of a restroom, so plan accordingly. Some people may have stomach upset from various types of fruit, as well.

Trail Mix and Gorp

Trail mix is the original energy bar, with less melting. You can mix it up yourself or buy it in bulk or pre-packaged. Generally, trail mix contains nuts for protein, raisins or other dried fruit for carbohydrates, and often chocolate or carob for taste. The salted varieties can help to replace electrolytes. Be mindful of portion control, as trail mix is often high in fat and calories—usually about 140 calories and 9 grams of fat per ounce.

Energy Gels

Energy gels provide a carbohydrate blast designed especially for those doing endurance events such as marathons. If you walk fast and breathe hard, a gel pack is safer than chewing and possibly choking. Energy gels must be taken with water. Newer brands aim often to be natural and less cloyingly sweet than many of the original offerings.

Energy and Sports Drinks

Water is not enough to keep you hydrated on a long walk. Sports drinks with sugar and salt better replace both water and electrolytes when walking for more than an hour to prevent dehydration and hyponatremia (low salt).

Steer clear of those with fancy additives and herbs, which do you no good on the walk, and look for those with proper salt and carbohydrate replacement. You can also make your own sports drink cheaply.

One type of drink isn't recommended for exercise hydration—the popular, high-caffeine energy drinks in small cans. They provide too much caffeine and not enough water.

A Word From Verywell

If you're walking for long enough that you'll want a snack (before, during, and/or after), you've got lots of options to choose from. You may need or want to experiment with various snack and drink options to find the right balance of carbs, fat, and protein so that you get the energy you need without feeling weighed down.

By Wendy Bumgardner
Wendy Bumgardner is a freelance writer covering walking and other health and fitness topics and has competed in more than 1,000 walking events.