Backpackers and food go together. Always. As I plan for my John Muir Trail hike, I have been dreaming about all the food I'm going to eat while dreading the weight adding to my pack and the limited space in my canister.
My plan is simple: bring the highest calorie to weight ratio foods that I'll actually want to eat. I have decided to dehydrate my own meals to be able to control what's in my dinners. I am going to bring a variety of foods to eat throughout the day so I can get up those passes!
For "lunch" I will be eating either a pro bar or some type of peanut butter mixture on tortilla. I will be trying Joe's Ultralight Moose Goo soon and letting you know how that is! I will spend time between breakfast, lunch, and dinner snacking. I will be making my favorite trail mix combo and also eating some of the snacks pictured above.
I am not a doctor, a nutritionist, or a dietitian. I know what works for me and hope this will get you get you to think about a wider option of food out there!
The snacks I bring are high in nutritional value for their weight, require NO cooking, and can be eaten on the go.
Look for bars that are calorie dense and high in nutrition. Also find bars you like! Would you pack it for work? I don't like PowerBars so they don't come with me on the trail. Many people have to push themselves to eat after long days on the trail so make things easier on yourself. Usually the better energy bars are expensive, but worth it, in my opinion. I will be taking Pro Bars, Lara Bars (their Uber line is amazing!) Raw Revolution, Kind, and for my sweet tooth- Sunspire Coconut Bars. These bars natural ingredients, less sugar than some of the more traditional bars and have good nutritional value. The Pro Bars and Organic Vegan Bars are 125 calories per ounce.
Pro Bar Meal (Superfruit Slam)
Calories per ounce: 131
Carbohydrates: 44 grams
Total Fat: 20 grams
Protein: 10 grams
Kind Bar (Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein)
Calories per ounce: 141
Carbohydrates: 17 grams
Total Fat: 13 grams
Protein: 7 grams
Larabar Uber (Bananas Foster)
Calories per ounce: 163
Carbohydrates: 14 grams
Total Fat: 17 grams
Protein: 4 grams
Raw Revolution (Chocolate Coconut Bliss)
Calories per ounce: 134
Carbohydrates: 22 grams
Total Fat: 16 grams
Protein: 7 grams
Calories per ounce: 147
Carbohydrates: 27 grams
Total Fat: 15 grams
Protein: 2 grams
I will also be taking some of the following goodies:
Vermont Real Sticks
These are individually packaged BBQ flavored sticks satisfy my "real food" fix. I will be craving food that has not been dehydrated or freeze dried and these will do the trick. This will also be the only meat I'll be eating on the trail (I'll have tuna too) as I will not be dehydrating my own meat for dinners. The sticks are free of antibiotics or preservatives and have very few ingredients. They are also made in Vermont!
Dried fruit adds fiber, minerals, and vitamins to your diet. They also add much needed variety. They are lower in calories per ounce (around 80 calories per ounce) but are so good paired with trail mix or just to break up your bar eating day. My favorite dried fruits to take are cranberries, mangoes, apples, and apricots. I'm also a fan of fruit leathers. Just make sure you don't over do it on dried fruit or you'll upset your digestion.
Trail mix is a hiking staple, but try to mix it up! Also, choose the nuts you use in trail mix carefully. Try for the most nutritionally rich, calorie dense variety! I just bought a few bags of almonds, pecans, and walnuts at Trader Joe's that I will be using to make some trail mix along with some m&ms.
Nutritional Content of Common Nuts (1 oz.)
|Nutrients per 1 oz. (weight)|
|Nut Variety||Approx # of nuts||Calories (kcal)||Protein (g)||Total Fat (g)||Saturated Fat (g)||Mono-|
ed Fat (g)
ed Fat (g)
|Carbs (g)||Fiber (g)|