There's a great deal of preparation that goes into planning a day of backpacking from choosing your hiking locale to making sure you pack the first aid supplies. Often, planning for meals gets left until the last minute, forcing hikers to make unhealthy impromptu choices at the nearest convenience store. By plotting your meals ahead of time and packing them the night before the big day, you can enjoy some of these nutritious and satisfying foods on your hike.
This is an excellent choice that can be eaten any time of the day and can even serve as a great on-the-go snack if your team would rather not stop for a lunch break. Dried fruits pack a punch, giving you a good supply of fiber and calories, while also giving you a boost of energy. Since the water is removed in the drying process, they're lighter to carry and won't pack on excess water weight, when you eat them.
Tuna and Crackers
Here is another healthy treat that can serve as a great lunch, during your backpacking adventure. Whether you choose the plastic pouch or the can, tuna won't take up much room in your backpack and it can be mixed with lemon juice or a small packet of mayo to enhance the flavor. Spread it on your favorite whole grain cracker and it becomes a filling lunch.
Bake Some Special Cookies
There's nothing better than a batch of homemade cookies, especially when you've added cooked quinoa and chia seeds to the mix. The extra protein in these oatmeal cookies will be perfect for increasing your energy levels in the middle of your backpacking experience. Bring along some oatmilk to compliment the snack and give yourself an even bigger energy boost.
Cucumber and Tomato Salad
For a more filling meal, fill a plastic container with cucumber slices and tomato wedges. You might also want to add some leeks for an extra kick. Dress lightly with oil and vinegar or your favorite dressing and you'll have a nutritious dinner time meal.
A great on-the-go option is a cheese and it can be bought either as a block or sliced if you don't want to stop to cut the block by hand. Cheese is a great source of vitamins, calcium, and protein and can be filling on its own, or added to a salad or sandwich. Tip: harder or firmer cheeses can last longer without refrigeration.
While this might not seem like a healthy option and vegans will be unlikely to consider it, the U.S. Department of Agriculture does recommend it as an excellent option for hikers. Because they're dehydrated, they can be easily packed and won't spoil, which means you can eat them throughout the day. Beef jerky can either be eaten solo or it can be added to salads and soups to make a bigger meal. It provides an excellent source of protein, which will be needed for longer hikes.
Cinnamon Apples with Honey
If you're the type of person that gets frequent cravings for something sweet, you may want to bring this snack along. Cut apples up into wedges and toss in a baggy along with cinnamon and honey. Next, pack them in an airtight freezer back to seal in the freshness. They make a sweet, but sticky, treat, so be sure to pack moist toilettes to clean up with afterward.
Nuts and Seeds
Depending on your hiking schedule, you may prefer to pack a variety of snacks, instead of focusing on regular meals. If that's the case, you may want to add a few containers of nuts and seeds. There's a wide variety to choose from, whether you select nuts or seeds, so you can bring a couple different kinds. They're all great sources of vitamins, nutrients, and protein.
Preparing for a day of backpacking means ensuring you'll have enough to eat for your journey. This isn't just about satiating hunger, but also making sure your body has a good supply of energy to carry you through the strenuous hike. By bringing healthier foods, you can ensure the energy boosts you receive from eating will be longer lasting, instead of burning out quickly and leaving you feeling fatigued and weak.