by Amanda Morgan, M.D.
Now that you are outfitted with all the appropriate Bold Betties apparel and gear, let’s talk about how to fuel your adventure. Hiking and backpacking burn a TON of calories (yay!) and that number increases according to the amount of weight carried, distance traveled and elevation gained. Eating and staying hydrated are equally important and, in addition to water, carbohydrates and sodium in food help to store body water. This may sound like a good excuse to pack all your favorite junk foods, but we think you will feel better with some healthier, but no less tasty, options.
There are two important things to consider when planning your adventure meals:
- Size: Large items will be harder to pack and will add weight which may need to be limited depending on the length of your trip and size of your pack.
- Spoilage: Longer trips require food that keeps better due to lack of refrigeration. We like to eat small meals or snacks every couple of hours while hiking rather than fewer large meals because it keeps our energy up and is more convenient. Additionally you should know that it is always better to have EXTRA food in case of an emergency. This is an adventure, not a diet!
BREAKFAST IN THE BACKCOUNTRY
If you have a camp stove or other means to boil water, instant hot cereal is a great base to which you can add:
- any kind of seeds (chia, pumpkin, sunflower),
- nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans),
- dried fruit, and
- flavored protein powder
If you can’t live without a daily caffeine fix, Starbucks’ Via brand of instant coffee comes in convenient individual packets in multiple flavors and is perfect for backpacking coffee. Tea bags also work well.
If you can’t boil water or don’t want to carry a stove, energy bars such as Cliff, Luna and Odwalla pack well, are nutritionally better than granola bars with added fiber and protein and actually taste decent! Justin’s and Barney Butter brands of nut butters sell individual packets of nut butter that can be spread on crackers and whole wheat wraps or tortillas which tend to hold up better than bread.
For meals and snacks throughout the day, we like to think “happy hour” because we look forward to eating and happy hour food is good at any hour! Here are some of our favorites:
- Hummus: Some hummus brands sell single serving packages, but you can also pack your own in 4 ounce, plastic tupperware containers. Bring along some carrot and/or celery sticks for shorter trips or pita bread for longer trips, which comes in whole wheat as well as regular and mini sizes.
- Cheese: A decent protein source with many good options such as Babybel minis packaged in wax rounds and good old-fashioned string cheese. We like to get a little gourmet with individual wedges of brie and dried apples or banana chips.
- Meat: Jerky is a hiking staple, comes in multiple flavors, forms (turkey, beef, soy) and is healthy.
- Dessert: Salted dark chocolate and chocolate covered nuts or fruit are always welcome and pack well. If you are feeling more ambitious, try our no-bake trail bites (recipe below) and feel free to customize the recipe to your taste for happy, healthy hiking!
BOLD BETTIES BITES (No Bake)
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (we like toasted)
½ cup flax meal (can use ½ cup seeds ground in a coffee grinder or food processor)
½ cup mini chocolate chips (can use M&Ms, Reece’s pieces, butterscotch chips, ect)
1/3 cup honey (can use agave nectar or brown rice syrup)
½ cup nut butter (can use peanut, almond, soy nut, sunflower, ect)
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp sea salt
- Mix all ingredients until well combined (mixture will be sticky)
- Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap for at least one hour
- Roll the dough into individual balls about one inch in diameter (you can use a tablespoon as a scoop to help keep them uniform in size)
- Store refrigerated in an airtight container or freeze and pack frozen as they will thaw by the time you plan to eat them on the trail (depending on climate conditions)