How to Backpack With Healthy Food

How to Backpack With Healthy Food
It is easy and fast to pack your backpack with a slew of prepackaged food items, but you may not be nourishing your body in the best way. With only slightly more effort and planning it is possible to eat healthy food while on a backpacking trip.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Clear plastic food bags
  • Food dehydrator
  • Backcountry Nutrition Pinnacle
Step 1
Familiarize yourself with the Backcountry Nutrition Pinnacle. An illustration of this can be found in NOLS Cookery, 5th edition. Staying strong in the backcountry is more than simply stuffing food in your mouth. A balance of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) that are also rich in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) is needed. Essentially the Backcountry Nutrition Pinnacle (a backcountry version of the food pyramid) shows that water is the most important nutrient; grains and starchy vegetables are the most important solid nutrients; beans, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables are come second; meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy are third and, lastly, fats and sweets.
Step 2
Understand proteins. As stated in the backcountry nutrition chapter of NOLS Cookery, "proteins are the building materials for the body's tissue growth and repair," and much more. The human body can produce 11 of the 20 amino acids that form proteins and the other nine we must get from food.
Step 3
Try one of these easy meal examples that combine necessary proteins: rice and beans, bread and peanut butter, cashew butter or almond butter, or nuts and granola. Foods with complete proteins (containing all amino acids) are meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, milk and soybeans or products such as tofu made with soy. Things that have partial proteins are grains, nuts, seeds, beans and leafy greens.
Step 4
Buy things in bulk when possible and then package them in your own clear, reusable plastic bags. It not only cuts costs, but ensures you to know what exactly you are eating. Packaged foods are often made with a list of ingredients so long you don't want to bother reading the label. Things such as high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin and many preservatives are lurking in these items. Buy raw almonds and organic peanut butter with just the one ingredient for example.
Step 5
Purchasing trail mix and packages of dried fruit is easy, but it comes with so much unnecessary added sugar. Instead, dry slices of banana, apple, pineapple, strawberry, blueberries and mango on a dehydrator at home. This cuts costs by a lot and the best thing is, you know there is no sugar added and these fruits taste great dry without the extra sweetener.

Tips & Warnings

Pack a few bars of dark chocolate on you backpacking trip for when you need something sweet and sugary. Dark chocolate with 60 percent or more cacao content is rich in antioxidants and is actually quite a healthy treat. It also does not melt as easy as milk chocolate.

Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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