Healthy Foods to Send Your Paleo Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker

We all have that friend who went paleo or has a list of intolerances about a mile long. Perhaps you happen to have a particularly food sensitive friend hiking the Appalachian Trail this year? Perhaps you want to send these friends something special to help support their endeavor, but you are lost as to what they can eat? I’ve put together some pretty good foods that are tolerated by those that are avoiding gluten, dairy, and pretty much whatever else you can think of that someone could have developed a sensitivity to.

Although, I don’t normally refer to myself as a paleo eater, it is the easiest way to describe how I eat because of my food intolerances! That is, I avoid grains, legumes, dairy and processed sugar. I say mostly because I happily enjoy a piece of raw cheese or raw milk ice cream on occasion. As paleo, primal and ancestral eating becomes more popular, some people are bound to be having questions about what to send their friends who are eating this way.

In an effort to save your friend an awkward moment where they have to explain to you that the box of little debbies you send them will unfortunately have to be given away, I’m going to give you some great products and recipes you could make and send to your friend! I’m sure they’ll be glad to see some of these products.

Paleo and mostly nut-free options (some people, like myself, have a hard time digesting some nuts too):

  1. Grass-fed meat jerky: I have a whole post about the awesome meat
    Kimchi Jerky from Salt, Fire & Time- another great sponsor!

    Kimchi Jerky from Salt, Fire & Time- another great sponsor!

    jerkies I’ll be taking along with me. A lot of them you can find online, or at your local health food store. They are small and can be stored in their packs easily. A handful of meatsticks will provide your friend with the much needed protein!

  2. EPIC Bar Sriracha Chicken– Oh. My. Gosh. EPIC Bar just released a handful of new bar flavors. Luckily, these guys are one of my sponsors but I’ll mostly be carrying their new liver bars. But, Sriracha Chicken?!?! This would be some major trail magic if I discovered one of these waiting for me along the trail.
  3. Jackson’s Honest Potato Chips– These are incredible chips that are cooked in coconut oil, instead of the typical rancid vegetables oils used. This is something your friend will not be able to pick up at a gas station along the way and will come as a REALLY wonderful treat.
  4. Plantain chips- These are another great chip/snack option to send to a friend. Remember, they don’t have much room in their backpacks, so refrain yourself from sending more than a bag or two at once. Again, look for chips cooked only in coconut oil or palm oil!
  5. Dang Toasted Coconut chips- These are the only coconut chips I’ve found without added sugar! If your friend doesn’t mind added sugar, the carmel and original are also fantastic (I don’t mind a little added sugar while hiking).
  6. Wild Zora- This is a great product! It combines grass-fed meat AND
    Mixing meat and veggies in one bar! Thanks for your donation Wild Zora!

    Mixing meat and veggies in one bar! Thanks for your donation Wild Zora!

    vegetables into one bar. These taste fantastic and are a great on-the-go option. I’m so grateful to the company for donating product to me! This will make your friend the healthiest hiker in the forest.

  7. Wonderfully Raw Brussel Bytes– Caution, these have cashews in them. They are so fantastic though and a great snack option for anyone. Like the chips, the packaging makes this product difficult to hike with, so send only one that your friend can eat right away! A great way to send vegetables!
  8. Homemade vegetables chips- Do you have a garden or some extra vegetables? Do you have a dehydrator or oven? Dry up some veggies and send them to your friend! I’m sure they’ll be desperately missing kale, spinach and broccoli.
  9. Homemade coconut granola- This is a very healthy and delicious recipe your friend will delight in. You can mix it up by adding dark chocolate
    My mouth is already watering.

    My mouth is already watering.

    or dried fruit to it. If they can handle nuts, through some nuts in there! If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can dry it on the lowest setting in your oven until it’s crispy and has a crunchy texture all the way through.

  10. Veggie-Go’s– This is an ingenious product. They dried fruit AND vegetables together to make a sweet vegetable leather without added sugar. I’m so grateful that this company donated some of their product for me to take along on my hike. These are super tasty and a great option for kids too.
  11. Organic dried or freeze dried fruit- Look for organic, sulfite-free options. There are plenty of great brands out there! Papaya, apple, pineapple, dates, cherries, blueberries… it’s all good (I can’t eat banana or strawberry though… in case you were thinking about sending some to a particular blogger).
  12. Sprouted Cashews– Obviously this isn’t a nut free option, but this is one of the few companies that I can process without a sore throat or stomach ache. My favorite are the ginger, turmeric and cayenne sprouted cashews. They are kind of like giving your friend an anti-inflammatory pill.


Sweeter treats (some organic/natural syrups or sugars added):

  1. Nutiva Organic O’Coconut– These are my vice. Everytime I go to Whole Food’s, I can’t help but get one. I like that they are packaged into little bites so you don’t over eat them! I’m sure a handful of these in a care package will make your friend smile!
  2. White Chocolate Peppermint Kale Krunch– Contains cashews… but so delicious and even my sensitive stomach handles these without a problem.
  3. Taza Chocolate: I’m pretty sensitive to low quality chocolates and can feel it in my throat right away if it is not good. Taza Chocolate is the only (and arguably one of the highest quality chocolates available) brand I’ve had this year that doesn’t make my throat sore for a day! An envelope with just a couple pieces of this chocolate would be like opening a little bit of heaven (because, let’s be honest, it’s too good to just send it to your friend without trying a piece).

Homemade treats (just make sure you send them right away so they don’t go bad, preferably 2-day mailing (and also to the closest pick up location your friend has given you).

  1. Homemade Paleo Nut-free Brownies! Um… yes…
  1. Nut-free, Egg-free Chocolate Cookies- Again… yes. This is a treat that even when my stomach is very sensitive- I could handle. Even better? Omit the chocolate and use ginger and lemon! That’ll soothe any upset hiker’s stomach!
  2. Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins- Your friend will gobble these up pretty quick!
  3. Pumpkin Spice Dehydrator Cookies- Sigh. How come I didn’t make these in bulk for my hike?!
  4. Simple Cookie– Again, you can leave out the chocolate and turn this into a ginger lemon wonder.
  5. Coconut Macaroons- Bahaa… now my mouth is watering.
  6. Apple Cinnamon Muffins– It’s a good thing I’ll be hiking 20 miles a day…
I can't wait to "model" some more foods on the trail. I have less than a week to go!

I can’t wait to “model” some more foods on the trail. I have less than a week to go!

Remember, always chat with your friend and see what their food preferences are. Granted, I’m sure a few weeks into their hike, they’ll just be happy to get whatever they can. The thought is what counts!

Not sure where to send your delicious food donations? Send your friend a message and see what towns they’ll approaching and what places on the trail would be easy to pick up a package at.

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Comments 6

  • imin2w8s : Apr 8th

    Yay!!!!!! Thank you SO MUCH for this article!! I plan to eat paleo as much as possible while on the trail next year. Big help! Happy trails! 🙂

  • Justin : Apr 9th

    They sound good, and I think I’m going to share them with my brother too.

  • Scott : Apr 14th

    Great email. Sounds like You and I have a similar diet. Thanks to your article, I will start referring to it as “Paleo eating”. Lots of great info in your article; I’m starting my research now on how to maintain that kind of diet on the trail and keep enough calories and energy for the long days on the trail. Interested to hear how it works out for you. Lots of luck! – Scott

  • Lorraine : Jun 24th

    I take Paleo Meals To Go! They are dehydrated, delicious, healthy & high in calories/ protein.

  • Dawn Anderson : Jun 28th

    This is a great article with great recommendations! Thank you for putting it out there, actually one of our customers sent me the link and suggested I contact you.

    Would you be interested in writing a blog about our gluten free, soy free, milk free, grain free, preservative and additive free, freeze-dried meals, or would you consider amending this one to include our meals? Please check out our website at and let me know what you think. I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have or send you a sample to try.

    We are sponsoring two thru hikers on the PCT and have a very dedicated customer base, many of whom are hikers on the various trails in the US. We would appreciate your help and support in getting our name out to all those who would benefit from a high protein (as many grams as 60 in our Summit Savory Chicken meal) and gluten free selection of backpacking meals.
    Thank you,
    Dawn Anderson
    Paleo Meals To Go
    Denver, CO


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