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Jason of the Woods
02-17-2008, 13:28
I am looking for ideas of the best, most filling, and lightest foods. We use a lot of Mountain House right now but I wanted to mix it up. Any suggestions?

Wise Old Owl
02-17-2008, 13:35
Yea its all over this part of the WB make sure you check out the Utube video when visiting the site and if you have any questions after purchasing the book PM Sabar here on the site.

I recommend this, and going down to Walmart and getting your own food dehydrator, and some glad bags of various sizes. If you go to a super Walmart - pick up some meats to experiment with and at least turn out your own jerky's

http://www.freezerbagcooking.com/

warraghiyagey
02-17-2008, 13:36
While it may not be at the top of the nutritious list 'Honey Buns' are light and at least 500 calories each. If you're looking for some calories and have a sweet tooth, they're a good snack.
I use Lipton sides and Ramen for my dinners - also very light. Once I start introducing protein it seems the foods get heavier but a pack or two of vanilla Carnation instant breakfast added to (water) and cereal in the morning makes a great tasting 'milk' and has a pretty good protein content.
Also - beef jerky, kind of light for the protein content.

RenoRoamer
02-17-2008, 14:24
The most calories for the weight is lard or butter, but this is not an effective food, since your body is extremely unlikely to run short of fat supplies on the AT. Even the leanest hiker has about 10% total body fat, of which 5% is essential and can't be burned for fuel, but that leaves 5% which can be burned. 5% of 150 lbs is 7.5 lbs of fat and most people can't burn more than a pound a day of fat. For most people, it is fairly easy (too easy, in fact) to replenish that fat during town stops. So that 7.5 lbs (which is for a very lean hiker) is enough to get your through even the 100 mile wilderness.

What is in short supply while hiking is carbohydrates, since your body can only store a limited amount of glucose and needs a constant supply of glucose for the brain and for the muscles when running short on oxygen (climbing hills). The brain cannot run on fat and the muscles can only use fat when there is plenty of oxygen (sleeping, walking on level ground). If you don't feed the body with carbohydrates, then it will break down muscle to convert protein into glucose. The body cannot convert fat into glucose, only protein and carbohydrates. Many hikers warn about getting enough protein for muscle building. I suspect that many of these hiker are actually not getting enough carbohydrates and that is why they have such a huge need for protein, since protein acts as a substitute for carbs (both can be converted to glucose).

So the best food for most people is one which is rich in carbs and has just enough protein to rebuild tissues. Any form of wheat, or oats both will work. (Some people say the protein in grains is unbalanced. This is true but unimportant. There is so much protein in wheat that you will get plenty of even the amino acids which are in short supply, and the amino acids which are in excess supply can be converted to glucose and burned.) If the distance between town stops is just a few days, then the body can store protein in the liver, so you could actually get by eating nothing but sugar. A vitamin B/C pill is also a good idea, regardless of what you eat, since the body cannot store these vitamins (it can store the other vitamins and minerals) and vitamin C especially is hard to find in dried foods.

One important consideration. If you eat a high-carb diet, be careful about insulin reactions. Some people (diabetics, pre-diabetics) have more problems with insulin than others, and some foods are more problematic than others. A safe approach is to eat gradually while hiking--this makes insulin problems very unlikely.

Personally, I usually eat a lot of high-sugar cookies, cereals, granola, candy, and dried fruit while hiking, then load up with fat, protein (canned fish), fresh fruits and vegetables in town.

YeOldeBackpacker
02-17-2008, 15:02
Ok this is a little off as far as lite wt. but it's easy to make, taste great and is close to balanced.
Take chicken breast, you can find precooked, in packages at most grocery stores, some cheese ( your Preference) I like to use swiss, and some mushrooms, either ones you deyhdrate or purchased, a veggy (green beans) a mashed potato mix. you can make all this quickly with minimal skills and prepwork, it taste great what your packing out trash wise is minimal and it is a real meal, total preptime/cooking time isn't that long while your veggies are rehydrating reheat chicken and melt cheese over top put the nushrooms on top of melted cheese, use water you used to rehydrate veggies to mix your potates up and beans, enjoy, all you need is 1 pot,1pan, & a person to share with because it equals about 2 large servings

Deadeye
02-17-2008, 16:17
Ok this is a little off as far as lite wt. but it's easy to make, taste great and is close to balanced.
Take chicken breast, you can find precooked, in packages at most grocery stores, some cheese ( your Preference) I like to use swiss, and some mushrooms, either ones you deyhdrate or purchased, a veggy (green beans) a mashed potato mix. you can make all this quickly with minimal skills and prepwork, it taste great what your packing out trash wise is minimal and it is a real meal, total preptime/cooking time isn't that long while your veggies are rehydrating reheat chicken and melt cheese over top put the nushrooms on top of melted cheese, use water you used to rehydrate veggies to mix your potates up and beans, enjoy, all you need is 1 pot,1pan, & a person to share with because it equals about 2 large servings

Sounds like my typical dinner. The chicken can be in foil pouches or small cans (not much difference in weight or trash, but cans are much cheaper), or freezed-dried. I use harmony house dehydrated veggies and 'shrooms.

Appalachian Tater
02-17-2008, 16:41
Cornbread stuffing is pretty light for its ability to fill because of low moisture content. A pouch of chicken and some dried cranberries make it a meal. You can pour the boiling water right into the pouch so there's no cleanup. It also takes olive oil well if you need more calories--the instructions call for added fat.

maxNcathy
02-17-2008, 17:47
For me:

3 types of nuts
dried fruit..what's available..apricots,raisins,dates,cranberries,..
Macaroni
cheddar cheese
packaged tuna,
dried greens if available

In town:

V8 juice
salads
steak
potatoes
milk
bread
eggs

++

Eat well and have FUN

Sandalwood

rafe
02-17-2008, 17:52
You need carbs and/or fat for short-term energy, but you also need protein for long-term energy and rebuilding bones and muscle mass. Short term energy comes from sugar and carbs; carbs come from grains of all kinds. Protein comes from meat, nuts, seeds, beans, cheese, eggs, etc. Meat for the trail can be in several forms -- jerky, sausage, in foil packets, and in cans. Heavily seasoned meat and certain types of sausage can be carried safely for days without refrigeration. Sausage and cheese have been my hiking staples since day one. Many soup mixes have beans of various types. You might also try dried (dehydrated) hummus for that purpose.

Tipi Walter
02-17-2008, 17:56
I'd say the best backpacking food is VARIETY. I've taken out everything over the years, humped in a watermelon, carried out two pints of Hagen Daz ice cream and drank it like a milkshake at camp.

I've taken sprouts and cabbage, apples, pears and oranges. I've taken glass quarts of fruit juice and bottles of spritzer water(added it to apple juice for a fizz), cans of soda and many cans of beans and soup.

I've carried 12 eggs in a plastic container, a loaf of bread, a small bottle of mayonnaise, baby carrots and broccoli.

There's no secret to backpacking foods, just carry what you want to eat. It's real simple.

hopefulhiker
02-17-2008, 18:08
Get a dehydrator and experiment!

warraghiyagey
02-17-2008, 19:09
Anyone ever dehydrate Little Debbie Strawberry Shortcakes??:)

Jason of the Woods
02-17-2008, 23:34
Here's another twist. I am a skinny guy and don't want to lose any weight. Can you all suggest any foods to keep the weight on?

Appalachian Tater
02-17-2008, 23:41
Here's another twist. I am a skinny guy and don't want to lose any weight. Can you all suggest any foods to keep the weight on?Olive oil added to everything. Fat has 9 cal/g, carbs and protein only 4 cal/g, more or less. The goal would be to take in more calories.

sarbar
02-18-2008, 00:51
Olive oil added to everything. Fat has 9 cal/g, carbs and protein only 4 cal/g, more or less. The goal would be to take in more calories.
You beat me to it! :p

Yep, drizzle oil on anything you can. And in town butter is your friend. So will be pizza covered in cheese, tubs of PB.........

Wise Old Owl
02-18-2008, 00:57
Here's another twist. I am a skinny guy and don't want to lose any weight. Can you all suggest any foods to keep the weight on?


Sure a small jar of Jiff and lots of Snickers. Jam the Snickers into the PB and enjoy

kayak karl
02-18-2008, 01:13
Here's another twist. I am a skinny guy and don't want to lose any weight. Can you all suggest any foods to keep the weight on?
http://www.gnc.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2134215&cp&fbn=Taxonomy%7CSports+Nutrition+%26+Protein&f=Taxonomy%2FGNC%2F2167077&fbc=1&kw=milk&parentPage=search
i drink this after breakfast but mix it with powdered low-fat milk 600 calories per 16 ozs.
this chart might help also. helped me alot. i take it to the store with me.
http://www.whiteblaze.net/index.php?page=nutrition

Terry7
02-18-2008, 13:37
How long do you think eggs will last in summer time hiking?

RenoRoamer
02-18-2008, 14:57
The problem with adding fat to your diet is that you may not be able to use it because of shortage of oxygen (climbing hills). So you'll end up adding body fat while burning up muscle to produce the glucose that your body needs. If you are worried about losing weight, just add more food. Eat 2 or even 3 lbs of dry pasta or oats or even sugar per day if that is what it takes to keep you going.

Jason of the Woods
02-18-2008, 15:03
Thanks all, especially Reno. Reno, you seem to be very knowledgable about nutrition. Could it be your profession?


The problem with adding fat to your diet is that you may not be able to use it because of shortage of oxygen (climbing hills). So you'll end up adding body fat while burning up muscle to produce the glucose that your body needs. If you are worried about losing weight, just add more food. Eat 2 or even 3 lbs of dry pasta or oats or even sugar per day if that is what it takes to keep you going.

Tinker
02-18-2008, 15:27
Eggs in summertime:

The late Ed Garvey did an experiment, which he had heard from another hiker in the 1970s.
Boil eggs for five SECONDS before packing them for a trip. When you use them at the campsite, prepare them as you normally would. His experiment involved putting some eggs in his Virginia home's attic in the summer. He ate one the first week, one the second week, one the third week, and one the fourth week. He didn't get sick, and said all eggs tasted like fresh eggs, but the yolk got flatter the longer they were stored hot.
I usually take a couple of eggs for the next morning when I do a section hike. Eggs aren't a big part of my diet.

Terry7
02-18-2008, 16:19
Thanks for the egg info. I am just trying to shake things up this year and not eat the same old same old. One thing I am doing is adding a light weight frying pan. Going to try working with Bisqick and things like that.

kayak karl
02-18-2008, 16:59
How long do you think eggs will last in summer time hiking?
two days packed next to water bladder.

mudhead
02-18-2008, 17:04
The mighty peanut is your friend. Goober on.

kayak karl
02-18-2008, 17:07
i carry powerd eggs also. when it gets too hot to take a chance. im working on cooking beans; pinto, navy, split, black, lentils on the trail. i know i have too pre-soak and want to mix with lipton side dishes and a pouch meat. any body else experiment with this.

nightshaded
02-18-2008, 17:53
i carry powerd eggs also. when it gets too hot to take a chance. im working on cooking beans; pinto, navy, split, black, lentils on the trail. i know i have too pre-soak and want to mix with lipton side dishes and a pouch meat. any body else experiment with this.
as far as pre-soaking beans, i know people who just use one of their water-bottles, put the beans in with the water and let them soak during the hike...by the time you get to camp, they're ready to be cooked, and you just dump the bottle's contents into your pot.

Wise Old Owl
02-18-2008, 18:33
If you are going to carry eggs and I like the five second rule I saw above - what is wrong with hard boiled with a packet of salt taped to the side? That would last a week plus a few days.

johnny quest
02-18-2008, 18:51
peanut butter and ritz crackers.
best, most filling and light. well, at least the crackers are

Terry7
02-18-2008, 20:35
This may sound dumm but how do you tell when an egg is right on the edge of bad. I know a full blown bad egg would stink, right.

Montego
02-19-2008, 03:28
This may sound dumm but how do you tell when an egg is right on the edge of bad. I know a full blown bad egg would stink, right.

It floats.

Dogwood
02-19-2008, 06:14
For wt., high calories, and good nutrition experiment with nuts(almonds, walnuts hazelnuts, pine nuts, cashews, pistachios, etc.), seeds(sunflower, pumpkin, flax, hemp(highly nutritious, no U can't sprout them), sesame, etc.), legumes(black beans, dried hummus, dehydrated lentils, red beans, etc.), whole grains(cous cous, quinoa, millet, quick cook brown rice, amaranth, etc.), granola and quick cook oats, various seaweeds(Dulse is my favorite), dried mushrooms, packets of tuna, dried beef, chicken, dried tomatoes, dried coconut, dried fruit(dates, goji berries, strawberries, blueberries, mango, pineapple, just beware of high or added sugar!), sried spices, dried peppers. Bon Appetit!

Dogwood
02-19-2008, 06:31
Dehydrated mashed potatoes(get the unflavored kind WITHOUT hydrogenated oil and flavor them to your liking with Italian spices, dehydrated granular garlic, dried parsley, seasalt, pepper and Butterbuds), Textured Vegetable Protein(TVP, dried tofu). If u repackage those dehydrated store bought meals into Ziploc bagged serving sizes that suit U U might be surprised to find out how much wt. U will save in excess packaging materials. If u can find a place that sells in bulk from bins U can buy as little or as much as u want to test new recipes without having to buy a whole lot.

Dogwood
02-19-2008, 06:41
Eat 2 or even 3 lbs of dry pasta or oats or even sugar per day if that is what it takes to keep you going.[/quote]

Who carries 3 lbs of pasta onto the trail for each day??? Are U hiking with a mule? Are U seriously recommending eating 2-3 lbs. of sugar??? Yeah, that sounds real healthy!

RenoRoamer
02-19-2008, 14:19
Well, no, I think 3 lbs of sugar is a very poor choice. But sugar is pretty close to what your body actually needs while hiking, which is glucose. White sugar is sucrose and converts quickly (too quickly for type-2 diabetics and pre-diabetics) to glucose, without any by-products. It is certainly better to eat pure sugar than pure fat, because fat cannot be converted to glucose. Pure protein causes diarrhea, but a mix of sugar and protein (non-fat dried milk is a mix of lactose and milk protein) is an excellent choice, since excess protein can be converted to glucose, with uric acid as the byproduct. Milk has no fiber, so it would be advisable to mix the dried milk with oats. Supplemented with Vitamin C and light salt (50% sodium chloride, 50% potassium chloride) that is a pretty much perfect summertime trail food. For winter, add fat to this mix (lard or butter) as needed, since the body has no problems burning fat in cold weather.

Some people might need 3 lbs of dry pasta per day, or even more. 3 lbs of dry pasta is only about 5200 calories, and large muscular men can easily burn more than that doing heavy work. Which brings up a point, one of the reason hikers lose weight is they can't cook much pasta or anything else, because their pots are too small. There is thus much to be said for carrying non-cook foods or else a larger pot.

Jason, nutrition is not my speciality (I'm a retired computer programmer with physics degree) but it isn't a particularly difficult subject. A high-school physiology textbook has everything you need to know. It is a tricky subject, because there are a number of different factors to consider (it isn't just one-dimensional food calories in equals bodily energy out) but it certainly isn't difficult in the way that math or physics is difficult. What is surprising is that so many people spend far more time learning how their car works than how their own body works. Most car owners in cold areas know, for example, that you sometimes need to add fuel-line antifreeze to the gas to get rid of water, and this works because the fuel-line antifreeze contains methanal which absorbs water, and the mix of methanol and water then burns off in the combustion chambers of the engine. That's pretty detailed information. But how many of these car owners understand anything about the insulin cycle, which is so important in controlling their own body's fuel supply?

The thread implies that you eat only one thing for 6 months. That is just unrealistic. What actually happens is that you alternate between town food and hiking food. So whatever you are missing during the hiking, you can make up during the town stops, and thus you don't have to carry things like fresh fruit and vegetables. Thus while my recommendation for a perfect trail food would be a mix of oats, dried milk, light salt and Vitamin C (plus butter, lard or olive oil in cold weather), even pure pasta or pure sugar is acceptable, provided you supplement this with other foods during town stops.

Wags
02-19-2008, 14:50
something i'd like to add that hasn't been touched upon is meal frequency. it is much, much better to eat at frequent intervals (both for people trying to lose weight and for people trying to pack it on or maintain). this is accomplished by keeping some trailmix or granola in your pocket b/t meals or w/e. the key is to not get your 3000 calories or w/e in breakfast and a late dinner... once you start feeling hungry your body is already starting to eat itself (both muscles and fat), for a simplified explanation. thought i'd add this in