This article is written by Stu. Stu is a fit beast; he trains hard (lots of cycling and ultra-marathon running - and has been known to run several 100miles+ plus races over hilly off-road terrain). Stu's has an appetite to match his training; here are his tips on how to feed yourself on an adventure.
Click here to read Part 1 of this article, or continue reading for this Part 2: Meal Planning and food ideas for longer trips. Here we cover some detail around how to plan basic meals. Below are some useful ideas and recipes to help you plan your menu. Well perhaps recipe is a generous description – but read on to find out more!
Freeze Dried Food
Reducing your pack weight is a great idea (see 10 tips for packing lighter on your next adventure). Freeze dried foods are the lightest food option to take with you and they are convenient; you just add boiling water and let them sit for 5-10minutes. However, they are not necessarily the best option – the taste is not to everyone’s liking they can quickly lose their appear, particalarly on multi day trips. They are also quite expensive; expect to pay £5-7 per pack and one pack may not leave you feeling very satisfied.
I suggest trying some at home first, there are lots of brands available such as Mountain House and Summit to Eat. The simpler options such as pasta with bolognaise sauce or beef / vegetarian chilli are good place to start. A pack is apparently two servings, but for me a single pack feels very small after a day on the trails!
Alternatives to Freeze Dried
If you're avoiding freeze dried foods, I would still recommend not carrying too much liquid. Any ‘wet’ foods – such as ready made sauces or prepared meals will be heavy. Also it’s worth avoiding metal or glass packaging if you are going to be carrying it any distance. Carrying dried foods and then re-adding the water at your campsite saves carrying the water all day. Below are some meal suggestions for how to do this.
Instant oatmeal or porridge is a great way to start the day and is easy to prepare. Add full fat milk powder to boost the creaminess and add more energy. I prepare this at home into individual bags (per day) with oats, milk powder, dried fruit and a little sugar. This is virtually the same weight as the freeze dried.
Peanut butter is an excellent source of energy and I also add this to my oats in the morning. Sachets are a handy way to carry this when you are not out for long enough to warrant a jar.
Trail mix is convenient to graze on through the day and high in energy. The possibilities are endless here so vary it according to taste. My basic recipe is salted peanuts, cashew nuts, raisins, and dark chocolate chips. On a longer trip a few variations are good to keep it interesting.
Fruit can be a good idea; apples generally travel better than bananas, dried mango or raisins are easy to snack on when you're on the move.
Chocolate bars are a fantastic boost - sweet and satisfying, a great snack that’s sure to bring a smile to your face! In hot conditions cereal bars or energy bars may be a better option to avoid a complete mess!
Don’t forget some salty snacks as well as sweet, especially in warm conditions if you are sweating a lot. You will be losing salts relatively quickly and may soon find yourself craving something salty. Pretzels, crisps or salted nuts are good options.
Wraps keep well over several days and are a versatile option for lunches. Make them at breakfast time and pack them up ready for later in the day. Ideas for fillings could include cheese and salami, hummus (it is possible to get this powdered), peanut butter and jam or honey, powdered mash potato and cheese.
The other option is to simply include more snacks and forego lunch altogether. This is not my preferred choice and a stop in the middle of the day does break up the day nicely. The chances are if you have a habit of eating lunch at a similar time that you get hungry too!
I build dinner around a carbohydrate base – instant noodles or pasta are great options. Cook these up and once ready add powdered soup or sauce and stir well. Add a little more water as necessary. Final touches might be some powdered cheese, salami/chorizo or chopped nuts or seeds for added calories and taste. This basic meal is practical, using only one pot with minimal clean up required.
Other lightweight options you may want to consider for dinner: Powdered mash potatoes (so much better than it used to be!), tuna or other fish, dried vegetable flakes – these really boost the heartiness of a meal, rice (there are some good flavoured rice options too) or cous cous.
Some luxuries such as chocolate or some alcohol for after dinner can make a great treat after a long day.
Read Part 1 of this article here if you missed it. Don't forget to also check out Stu's 10 tips for packing lighter on your next adventure.
Stu also wrote this article: Outdoor Gear on a Budget;
Watch Chris' video on What food to take Wild Camping;
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Here's a fantastic tent for camping in the UK;
This is how we tie our hiking boot laces;
Know someone getting married? Check out these stag or hen events;
Check out these adventure gift ideas;
Here are our recommended walking boots;
Watch this video on what to pack for your first wild camping trip;
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