One of the biggest joys after doing any kind of physical activity, is to have something warm and tasty to eat. At first it might seem like it’s hard to find food that won’t go bad without a fridge and that’s not too heavy to carry. Even to bring a stove and fuel might seem like more of a drag than an actual benefit, but with a bit of practice it really gets easier.
By no means I want to claim that I know everything about outdoors food and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. This is just my point of view.
When leaving for one night or longer, I usually bring a warm meal for lunch and one for dinner. Of course something for breakfast, which may be warm as well or just bread with some kind of topping. I usually bring some smaller snacks and something warm to drink. It’s most important that all meals are light to carry and do survive a warm day in my backpack- this is achieved by bringing dehydrated food- the lack of water makes it lighter and more durable.
Here is how my menu for a day out hiking can look:
A package of crispbread, a vegan paté (or fishpaté) and a little bag with powder for a warm chocolate that doesn’t require milk (milk powder included).
A sweet soup with blueberry taste and almond biscuits. A tea to drink.
Müsli with milkpowder, or porridge. I often also drink an effervescent multi-vitamin pill in water.
All of these alternatives are under 100 g per day, taste good and are fairly easy to digest. I’m ot a big fan of feeling full and tired already before starting to walk, just cause I ate something way too greasy. But this is different for everyone of course- find out what your body feel best with!
Next in the daily menu is…
I usually have a freeze dried meal. These are light, tasty, have up to 600 kcal and are fast to prepare, even in bad weather. The downside is the price, which can go up to 10€ for one meal. It is possible though to find them online for about 5 to 6€ per bag.
I buy all kinds of different brands, such as: Blå Band, Real Turmat, Adventure Food, Mountain House, Aptonia, Travellunch and Trek’n’Eat…
Why freeze dried food that is rather expensive: Because it tastes like actual food and it is enrichened with vitamins and minerals. If I just eat ramen noodles everyday I will start to feel exhausted and tired after some days. This doesn’t happen when I take care of my nutrition. Be aware of what your body needs! It’s not just about calorie intake, but about a healty mixture of carbs, protein, fat, and nutrients.
Sometimes I eat a soup with couscous or noodles instead. Another possibility is bread with tuna or other canned fish. The disadvantage here is that you will have to carry the empty, stinky can around with you.
Next up is dinnertime.
For dinner I often choose a meal that takes some time to prepare, cause I’m not in a hurry. There are many cheap freeze dried meals you can get in any supermarket. If it’s very windy I cook inside my tent (make sure to be familiar with your kitchen before attempting this). After dinner I usually have another tea and some chocolate.
When I’m out only for a shorter while, of course I prefer to bring fresh food. Here’s how dinner can look in such a case:
Another way of spicing up your dinner is to go fishing. Alongside with my catch I often have potato mash. I also bring a smaller bottle with olive oil- which is not only delicious but also has a lot of calories.
Here you can see an example of how my food for 11 days looked this summer (chocolate, jellies and a bottle of olive oil not yet included):
This is my food packed down in daily rations. Having one bag for each day makes it easier to organize my backpack and there is no doubt how much food I will have left. If you pack food for many days it is easy to lose the general view of how much you can eat per day. Also there is a certain risk that you pick all your favorites first and will have to eat the worst food on the last days.
On the picture above you can also see some snacks I like to have during my hikes. Muesli bars, nuts, chocolate, dried fruit, cookies, energy bars and gels. Sometimes I even bring a bag of chips.