Sugar-Free Backpacking Menu + Energizing Trail Mix!

I would choose hiking over one hour of cardio at the gym any day.

I love being able to workout outside. Not only do you get a killer workout, but you get to see beautiful views and breathe in some fresh air. How can the gym compare to this view!?

Why Travel Alone- My Solo Adventures in Quebec & Ontario - Unsweetened Caroline-2

Don’t get me wrong, I love going to the gym! I just prefer to go hiking whenever possible. Thankfully, we have a park 5 minutes from our new apartment and lately, I’ve been hiking and running almost twice a day… Yes, I’m obsessed!

I love day hikes, but every summer, we plan at least one overnight backpacking trip. This is usually a 3 day hike on the Fundy Footpath, my favorite trail in New-Brunswick! Check it out if you live near NB, it’s the best!

One of the challenges is to have enough food, but not too much weight to carry. Planning a backpacking menu can be tough, but with time, I gained a few tricks. Here’s a look at my sugar-free backpacking options:


  • Overnight oats. I bring small containers with half a cup of oats and one tablespoon of chia seeds each. Every night, I add about one cup of clean water and I wake up to oatmeal! I have this recipe as a guide, but of course these toppings might not be ideal on a hiking trip. Instead, I like to stick with peanut butter. You could also add a sweetener, nuts and seeds or dried fruits.
  • Another option would be my raw espresso donuts. I brought them on our last hike and they were perfect for breakfast! They’re high in complex carbohydrates which gives you the energy needed before a day of hiking and they contain a bit of caffeine which could be good if you’re missing your coffee while camping. 😉
  • Granola. I haven’t found a sugar-free store-bought granola yet, but it would definitely be an easy portable breakfast! I might have to make my own version soon. Yum!
  • Breakfast cookies. I love this recipe from Oh She Glows and these muffin tops are to die for!!! They could also double as a snack. Just try them!!


  • My favorite backpacking snacks are energy bites. I posted this recipe and this one, but the possibilities are endless! They’re perfectly portable in a plastic bag and they’re high in energy and nutrients! They’re a must-have in my opinion! 
  • Trail Mix. It’s a classic backpacking food and for good reasons. Trail mix is also high in energy and nutrients, it’s easily portable and you can eat it on-the-go. They’re also versatile, but some are healthier than others. Store-bought trail mix usually has chocolate and a bunch of sweetened dried fruits, so I like to make my own (see bellow). 
  • Granola bars. These are similar to energy bites and they’re easy to make at home! Some store-bought granola bars are very high in added sugar, but my favorites are LaraBars which are sweetened with dates only.
  • Dried fruits. Even though I add dried fruits to my trail mix, I sometimes like to bring a few dates for a snack high in carbohydrates (perfect before a workout!).

Sugar-Free Backpacking Menu + Energizing Trail Mix! - Unsweetened Caroline

Sugar-Free Backpacking Menu + Energizing Trail Mix - Unsweetened Caroline


  • Nut butter sandwich or wrap. We always eat lunch on-the-go, which means we take a quick break somewhere with a beautiful view and we eat a sandwich. My favorite is peanut butter (with jelly when possible!) or almond butter with a sprinkle of cinnamon. If I’m just doing a day hike, I like to bring a banana and peanut butter sandwich. The best combination ever!!


  • Nut butter sandwich or wrap. Yes, when I’m lazy, I eat a peanut butter sandwich for lunch and diner.
  • Grains and lentils. I once brought a bag of mixed grains and lentils for diner. It’s very light and all you need to do is add it to boiling water taken from a nearby river! I don’t always bring a portable stove, but it gives us a nice break from cold food. Trust me, it’s a treat after 3 days!
  • Tuna. On my first backpacking trip, my friend and I brought some tuna packs (not canned tuna which would be heavier). This is usually the only meat product I feel comfortable bringing with me on a hike and it’s a great source of protein which is perfect after a full day workout! 
  • Dehydrated meals. I never bought a dehydrated meal since they’re very expensive, but they might be a good option for you.
  • Pasta. Like grains and lentils, they don’t weight much and you simply need to boil them! You can bring those instant packages of noodles with different flavors, but the ingredients aren’t always healthy. A jar of tomato sauce might not be the best idea while backpacking though… you’ll hate yourself when climbing those hills!


  • Water, water, water!!! My first time backpacking, I brought 4 liters of water for 4 days… worst idea ever! I was so dehydrated! Now, I always bring a water filter with me, along with a CamelBak (both worth the money!). This way, I don’t have to carry a lot of water weight, but I’m never dehydrated either.  
  • Coffee or tea. If you need it, you can bring instant coffee or a few tea bags.

Chickpea Sandwich-0686

For the drive

What I usually do is I bring some fresh veggies and fruits for the drive. This way, you don’t have to carry them and they won’t go bad, but you still get a few portions of fresh fruits and veggies before your hike! We usually start hiking at noon, so I pack a sandwich full of veggies for the road with a fresh fruit for dessert.

Sugar-Free Backpacking Menu + Energizing Trail Mix! - Unsweetened Caroline

My Energizing Trail Mix

Keep this energizing trail mix with you when hiking, backpacking or in your lunch box for a quick, healthy snack.


Dried Fruit

  • Goji berries
  • Dried mulberries
  • Dried coconut chips


  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts


  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds


  • Unsweetened carob chips or dark chocolate chips


  1. In a jar, add equal amounts of each of your chosen ingredients. I used 1/4 cup each. Shake your jar to mix them all together. Keep at room temperature.

Sugar-Free Backpacking Menu + Energizing Trail Mix! - Unsweetened Caroline

Hope this gave you a bit of inspiration for your next backpacking trip! What’s your favorite hiking food? 🙂

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