November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Healthy 'no cook' meal plan
Display Avatars Sort By:
James R
(jamer) - F
Healthy 'no cook' meal plan on 10/03/2012 00:40:45 MDT Print View


I'm planning to do some light backpacking for the first time. I created a sample menu, although I really have no idea how many calories I typically consume. Looking at some online calculators I get required 'maintenance' estimates between 2 and 3,000 cal/day, this variation is probably due to assumptions of activity (2k seems a reasonable estimation for a day spent in bed, 3k for a typical day). Most likely, my intake is ~3,500 calories per day, though this is just a guess.
This week I'll try to record what I eat.
The following week, I'll experiment with car-camping to see how I feel with a backpacking menu, and to make sure there are no obvious problems.

Below is a sample meal plan for a day. I can't really estimate amounts yet. I'm posting this to get some initial opinions, and to see if there is anything that I have overlooked.

-grapefruit (if possible)
-coffee (cold brew if no hot water)
-trail mix (almonds, pistchios, walnuts, raisins, dates, figs)
-jerky (home made, with cider vinegar, honey, salt, spices)
-almond butter
-jerky OR sardines and crackers

This seems to cover most bases, there is vitamin E in the nuts, other vits and potassium in dried fruit, calcium in sardines, other minerals and B complex in jerky, carbs in crackers and honey, fats in nuts/nut butter, and complete protein in jerky and sardines. Vit C is difficult, so I have included grapefruit (at least for a few days).

Thanks for looking,

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Healthy 'no cook' meal plan on 10/03/2012 06:29:26 MDT Print View

Here is one list

There is a wealth of information here. Poke around.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Healthy 'no cook' meal plan on 10/03/2012 09:27:04 MDT Print View

how long are you talking? grapefruits are heavy and big to pack. for a few days hard boiled eggs would be an easier to carry and higher calorie breakfast. add some packets of True Lemon if you are concerned about vit. C..

you want to hike all day and have jerky on crackers for dinner? maybe add some instant potatoes and mix it with the jerky

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Healthy 'no cook' meal plan on 10/03/2012 10:03:55 MDT Print View

Skip the grapefruit - they are big and heavy. If you want vitamin C, just bring some dry juice mix. Some fiber (grain or fruit) is helpful to keep things "moving", but dried fruit or whole grains provide that at a lower weight.

Grapenuts cereal (the little rocks, not the flakes) is compact and no-cook. It can help, though, to soak it in water or make up some milk from dry powder.

Oatmeal with some honey, raisins, nuts, maybe even chocolate chips, can be no-cook by baking the oatmeal cookies in advance. Viola' - it is not only a no-cook breakfast, but you can eat it as you hike. It solves that whole cold-in-camp-while-fixing-breakfast problem. Just go from sleeping bag to hiking.

No-cook BPing dinners end of looking a lot like lunch. Really hard cheeses (Parmesan, Romano, etc) travel pretty well for a few days, are tasty, go on crackers or bread and are high in calories. It doesn't matter much what you bring for the first day because you'll carry it only a short distance. So buy a deli sandwich or make some up at home. Focus your more dense calories on your last days because you'll carry those meals for all the miles.

No-cook menus let you do serious miles if you're in condition to do so. In small part because they save some weight and volume of cooking gear, but in larger part because of the time you save by not doing kitchen duties. On death marches (30-50 miles in a day), I just pack a lot of sandwiches, some cookies, a little dried fruit or fruit leather. 5000-6000 calories (2500 basal metabolism plus 80 calories per mile at my 180 pounds).

Edited by DavidinKenai on 10/03/2012 10:05:51 MDT.

James R
(jamer) - F
Re on 10/03/2012 16:23:20 MDT Print View

Thanks for the replies,
I should have made my intentions clear at the beginning.
I'm just going to go for a long weekend at first, then a week or so. I won't be covering much ground, so I'm not too concerned with ultimate calories; I'd rather like to drop a few pounds of body fat actually. I just want to test the water first.

I've searched the site often, and was struck by the amount of 'junk food' some hikers seem to eat. This is not a criticism, but it's surprising to me as someone who doesn't really buy pre-made food products (items like cheeses, wine, spirits excepted). I wanted to see if I could assemble a meal plan that requires no cooking, is light, stable, and nutritious.
If I was hiking strenuously or for extended periods, I'm sure that this menu would be very different.

I thought that the grapefruits were impractical, but would be ok on the top of my pack for a few mornings. I will start looking for a powdered juice.
Also, the crackers are starting to seem impractical as well. I think they take up too much room and are too fragile. Something like lavash seems better, but it might mold quickly.

The oatmeal suggestion is excellent, I will definitely mix up a batch of muesli to bring. Personally, I quite like it with water (instead of milk).
Also, I completely forgot about the hard cheeses. Parmesan and Pecorino Romano don't need refrigeration. Such cheeses were favorites of travelers, pilgrims, and explorers for centuries (or millenia). If any one is interested, Costco has both, AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée) certified for ~11 and ~5 dollars per pound respectively.


Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re on 10/03/2012 16:32:16 MDT Print View

There are many, many foods that are not "junk food" but can be prepped at home for no cook. This includes, vegetables, fruits, beans, pasta, grains and seeds - it is wide open.

On the topic of "junk food" - why do hikers eat so much? Carbs. Many times it is simply easier to eat carbs over oil/fat and protein.

As for milk? You can get organic dried milk.....

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re on 10/03/2012 16:46:55 MDT Print View

True lemon and true lime are just dehydrated juice so for a few grams you get 25% Vit C per packet. a whole grapefruit is only like 100calories.. not much of a breakfast.

Flatbread or Sandwich Thins pack well and are a good base for PB, meats, cheese etc.

"junk food" is light, cheap, less perishable, tastes good, has a lot of calories.

I am a small person and still lost 4-6lb in 18 days on the Long Trail. after about 4 days i was eating everything in sight.

for a weekend hike or even a week it doesn't matter as much, when you start getting into multiple weeks calories become important and being able to pack enough without your pack feeling like cement is key.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
Love the idea of oatmeal cookies for breakfast on 10/03/2012 17:55:43 MDT Print View

Good thread, and I love David's idea for oatmeal cookies for a no-cook breakfast.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Oatmeal cookies for breakfast on 10/03/2012 18:20:09 MDT Print View


My wife has written Trader Joe's inviting them to AK and the TJ President wrote back explaining why they don't have an Alaskan location. That said, if you're passing through SEA/PDX/OAK/LAX/etc or are in Homer or Soldotna (where Save-U-More carries their stuff), they have "Oatmeal Dunkers" that are darn tasty and all ready to go. Their varied selection of "gorp"-like mixes of nuts, berries, etc, are quite good. Better than one usually does on their own.

Baking at home, for a longer trip, I'd bake the cookies at a low temp for a longer time for a pretty dry cookie (less weight, longer shelf life). I don't worry about crumbs because crumbs are edible, too, but for very little weight one could recycle a 1-pound strawberry clam-shell container. Or, better yet, I've loved someone's suggestion of using the bottom 25% of a 1-gallon HDPE milk jug as a bowl. Two such bowls could form a container and protect fragile stuff for a few days and then be nested again for minimal volume.