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Eating Healthy on the Trail

Posted by Esther Drebelbis of Littlbug Enterprises on

Is it just us, or does food always taste better in the backcountry? After walking for miles with a pack on your back, or peddling your supplies for hours, you’ve burned thousands of calories. What you eat in them morning, during the day, and in the evening can have a big impact on your energy levels throughout the day and the next day. While consuming calories is important, it’s also important to make sure you’re giving your body healthy nutrients.

There are plenty of options out there that give you a lot of calories, but the ingredients lack nutrients and sustainability. From processed foods to artificial or added sugars, it can be difficult to find food that offers calories and nutrients. Here are some food tips to help you pack the calories, stay healthy, and keep your body fueled for adventure:

Dehydrated Meals

Not much beats a hot meal after a long day on the trail. Dehydrated food is lightweight and compresses easily helping you save weight and space in your pack, while providing you with a delicious hot meal. You can buy pre-made dehydrated meals, or build your own to avoid unnecessary additives. It’s also easy to dehydrate nutrient packed vegetables that can often be challenging to fit into a backcountry diet. Use your wood burning backpacking stove to boil water and quickly rehydrate your dehydrated meal.

Dried Fruit, No Sugar Added

Dried fruit packs in the nutrients you need, while giving you sweet relief and energy you need to keep going. They make for the perfect mid-day snack, a sweet addition to your morning oatmeal, or a nice dessert after dinner. Since fruit is naturally sweet, added sugar is often unnecessary. If you aren’t able to dry your own fruit, try finding packaged dried fruit without added sugar. Organic focused grocery stores, or the organic section of large grocery chains are often where you’ll find no-sugar added dried fruit. Some of our favorite fruits to take on the trail are dried mango, dried strawberries, and dried cherries.

Homemade Nutrition Bars

There are plenty of options of granola bars to choose from in grocery aisles. And if you have found a favorite, that’s great! But often times packaged foods come with preservatives or additives to help increase its shelf life, and give it good flavor. While not all nutrition bars include these ingredients, it can be hard to find one that tastes good and aligns with your nutrition needs.

If you struggle finding a great tasting bar, try making your own. Simple ingredients like oats, nut butters, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits give you the opportunity to control what's going into your trail food and how it’s made. There are plenty of online recipes you can try, or get creative in the kitchen and create your own. While bars pack in a lot of calories, they can tend to be a heavier food item, so try and limit how many you pack along. If you don’t mind the extra weight, pack them in!


Oatmeal offers a great dose of carbohydrates and is the perfect medium to add delicious and nutritious foods to your first meal of the day. It’s easy to build your own homemade oatmeal packets with quick oats, dried fruit, and a nut butter for some added protein. As their name promises, quick oats quickly absorb boiled water, so your breakfast only takes minutes to make. Use your ultralight backpacking camp stove to boil water, add in your quick oats and fixings, wait a few minutes, and before you know it, your delicious breakfast is ready to eat.

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