How I Plan to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle on the Trail….

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle on the trail is very important to me. I have been a vegan for most of my adult life. When I made the decision to hike the Appalachian Trail (AT) my diet was my last concern.  As I continued to research, finally, food came into the plan.  Some hikers on the trail eat Ramen noodles as their main source of nutrients.  Knorr side dishes are another favorite. The goal is to eat fats, carbohydrates, and protein.  These are nutrients that convert to energy.  Energy is needed for a hike of at least 8-12 miles per day.  Hikers can burn 2,000 to 6,000 calories in one day, depending on the distance they walk. My goal is to eat as healthy as possible  the trail and provide my body with the nutrients needed to stay healthy and energized. Following are some ideas that I am using for food choices.


I own a dehydrator and have  researched food that I could prepare and bring with me.  Not only are these foods nutritious but they are cost effective and lightweight.  They are easy to prepare in the kitchen as well as on the trail.  If you don’t own a dehydrator you can use a conventional oven (research for food times and temperatures ).  Some of the items I have prepared are lentils, beans and rice, sweet potatoes and herbs for seasoning. There are many vegetables and fruits that may be dehydrated and added to rice and noodles for a nutritious and tasty meal.  I will continue as time progresses until my start date to research foods that will help maintain a healthy lifestyle on the trail. .


Breakfast will be limited. So far I will consume chia seeds cereal with freeze dried fruit, granola with freeze dried fruit and quinoa.  My plans are to add coconut powered milk to cereals and granola mix. I enjoy coffee or hot tea in the morning to get my day started. Starbucks and Folgers coffee brands also offer a good variety. They can be purchased in individualized packets.


Snacks happen to be very difficult for me to select because the only snack I really enjoy are potato chips.  I love salt.  I decided not to bring chips on the trail.  Instead, I have crackers, peanut butter, Nature Valley Protein bars, ProBars and Cliff Bars.  Mind you, these are not food items I would ordinarily eat. But, for the sake of sustaining an energy level for hiking. I decided to put some of my issues aside.


My plan is to be on the move most of the day.  Lunch will be on the go. I have small containers of peanut butter and crackers for lunch.


Tortillas can be used with Thai Kitchen rice noodles, dehydrated refried beans and rice.  A variety of Indian ready to eat meals and quinoa, brown rice and kale adds a variety to an evening meal.  Lotus Foods makes a vegan ramen more expensive than the ramen we ate when we were in college. My dinners will consist of a variety of dehydrated beans, minute brown rice with dehydrated vegetables and from time to time textured vegetable protein (tvp).

I’m not sure how well this will work but I’m willing to try to maintain a healthy lifestyle on the trail.


For more information on trail food:

Trail Food: Drying and Cooking For for Backpacking and Paddling by Kesselheim, Alan

Trail Cooking at http://www/







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Comments 6

  • Becca : Feb 9th

    I’m going to be trying to eat healthy too! I’m going stoveless though so it looks like I’ll be eating a lot of bars! Sounds like you have a solid menu!!

    • Barbara : Feb 9th

      I’m just fearful of eating too many processed foods. We’ll see what happens once I’m out there…lol. Right now I’m committed.

  • Tortuga : Feb 9th

    I am visiting SW Florida for an extended time. What trails do you hike here?

    • Barbara : Feb 9th

      The Florida Trail is approx. 1300 miles long. It starts at one end of the state and goes through the Everglades and end at the northern end of the state. You can actually go on-line for more specific information. There are also wonderful State Parks here as well.


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