Food is everything on expeditions! Whatever type of endurance sport you are doing, it’s likely you will be burning on average 4000-6000 calories a day. It’s therefore imperative that you replace these calories. You need plenty of healthy carbs, proteins and fats, to help your body recover, and to sustain your energy levels for the next day.
If you want to work out an approximate guide to how many calories you will be burning on your trip, then try this calculator. Remember the weight of a backpack, for example, will alter the number of calories you burn. So the heavier your food, the heavier your pack, the more calories you will burn, so the more food you will need!!!
This is one of the main reasons why I often use pre-made, just-add-water, expedition meals when I’m heading out on a multi-day or multi-week trip. They are a fantastic way of getting a balanced high-calorie meal in a lighter weight package as possible. Keeping your pack light burns fewer calories!
My go-to expedition meals are Firepot. Having tried pretty much every brand available over the years, Firepots are hands down the best tasting, made from real ingredients (no preservatives) by a small family-run company with fantastic ethics. I would highly recommend you give them a try if you haven’t already.
As well as being high calorie and lightweight, dehydrated expedition meals can be very convenient. By only having to boil water, you often save on gas (reducing kit weight) and don’t need additional plates and bowls etc (plus it saves on the washing up). There are also plenty of trips to remote parts of the world where dehydrated expedition meals are a necessity, as there are no other options.
Make your own Breakfasts
On the flip side buying days, weeks and sometimes months worth of these expedition meals can be VERY expensive. So to save myself some pennies I only buy one for my evening meal. I make my own just-add-water breakfasts and then have snacks throughout the day.
Now some people like to have a hot breakfast to warm themselves up on a chilly morning. I however, prefer to have a fast breakfast, that doesn’t require getting the stove out (saves on fuel), no cleaning up (particularly if you’re having porridge) and gets you hiking or peddling as soon as possible, as moving is undoubtedly the best way to warm up.
For this reason, I make high-calorie granola for my breakfasts, made with cold water for less faff time. It’s super simple and CHEAP!
You need to place the following in each bag:
135g of Granola
20g of Milk Powder
20g Desiccated Coconut
Each breakfast bag contains 800kcal, at a weight of 172g (including bag) and costs just under 1 €/£ per bag
You can of course buy ready-made granola, and most brands are very high in calories, however, they tend to contain some refined sugars. Buy making your own you can use whole grains, unrefined oil & natural sweeteners, making it healthy and high in energy. My recipe is at the end of the post.
I included the desiccated coconut as it a great lightweight source of healthy fats. Healthy fats are needed on long endurance adventures to keep your energy levels up and to stop you from losing too much body weight.
If you are looking to increase the caloric value of your breakfasts a little further, then you can swap out the milk powder for full-fat cream powder. Or if you are like me and don’t eat dairy products then you can also buy plant-based powdered milk alternatives. I personally use powdered coconut milk.
An optional extra is to throw in some additional toppings. You can vary the toppings for each bag so that breakfast isn’t identical every day. You can use banana chips, chocolate chips, dried apple, dried mango, dried apricots, freeze-dried strawberries etc.
If you are going for just a few nights then you could use heavy-duty ziploc bags, but for longer-term storage, I always use vacuum-sealed bags. They are a lot more durable, so if you did want to add boiling water to your breakfast you could eat straight from the bag, plus they take up less room in your bag.
Whenever possible try and reuse your packaging. I find if I don’t make the bags too small I can trim and reseal my breakfast bags several times before I run out of room.
Here is the recipe I use if you want to try making your own Granola.
- 1200g of rolled oats
- 450g of nuts and seeds (I like to use almonds, cashews, pecans, milled flax, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds)
- 225g of dried fruit (I like to use sultanas and cranberries)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 230ml of honey or agave
- 230ml of melted coconut oil
- An optional extra that I quite like is a bit of orange zest thrown in as well
- In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients together
- In a smaller bowl whisk the wet ingredients together
- Mix the wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients
- Spread out your mix on a large baking tray lined with parchment paper. Crowd your oats enough so that they can form clumps, but not so crowded that the oats can’t toast evenly.
- Place in a preheated oven, 180 deg C, for 10 minuits
- Take out of the oven, give it a stir and then gently press the granola down with the back of the spoon to help it form more clumps.
- Put back in the oven for 10 more mins or until the granola is lightly golden.
- Let it cool on the tray for 30 mins or until it is at room temperature
- Once cool you can break it up
- Store in an airtight container
Feel free to ask me any questions, happy to help where I can.
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