Alright, Alright, Alright the food prep is coming along!
Preparing all of our food has been the biggest and most time-intensive task of our GDT pre-hike. Balancing the fine line between carrying way too much food and risking starvation is a bit of an art. The best part is that I have no idea how much food I am going to want. It’s kinda like pre-purchasing all your gas for a road trip, but you don’t know the fuel economy of the car. You also know that you are going to need more as you go. Ah, the blissful naivety of my first thru-hike. The initial thought is, ok just bring a shit load of food. But after about 3 seconds of critical thinking, ending a section with 5 pounds of food still remaining is a lot of extra weight to carry hundreds of kilometers. Without a lot of options to stock up on extra food, and the lack of variety available (think rural corner store), I am really trying to nail down the whole food situation ahead of time.
Ah, the forbidden phrase. Except in this instance, it’s in regards to making sure we have enough calories. On previous hikes, I have packed food and just kinda eyeballed it, figured it was good enough but wasn’t really sure on the exact calories. With a 52-day hike that’s not going to fly. My caloric intake is going to skyrocket after a couple of weeks of 10+ hour strenuous hiking days and the well-documented phenomenon known as “hiker hunger” is going to kick in. I’ve never been on a hike over a week so I don’t have a first-hand account of what’s going to happen. It makes the uncertainty of meal planning quite daunting; planning for the unknown.
We are aiming for about 3000 calories per day.
For the first 2 sections (about 2 weeks) and then we are gonna pump those numbers up. Those are rookie numbers. After that we are going for 4000 per day, maybe more if we need them. These figures are based on what other people have said they needed, so hopefully, neither Tanya nor I are outliers in the small sample size I have collected. Luckily we will be able to throw in some extra bars to bump the number up even more if we are still hangry.
We went full-YOLO in regards to planning out our meal. And by that, I mean every ingredient that we are bringing we have in an excel sheet (thank you Tanya) with a breakdown of several specs. The most important being Calories per Gram. Sure, you might think some foods have a ton of calories like frosting, butter, and brown rice but nothing compares to the holy standard. My dear friend, companion, and the gold standard (maybe soon to be Bitcoin standard) OLIVE OIL. Olive oil has the highest caloric density of any food this side of the Mississippi, with a whopping 9 calories per gram. Or 120 calories per tablespoon. Needless to say, I’m going to be a greasy guy. So greasy that olive oil is going in all of my meals, gotta keep the body lubricated! We bought some of those collapsible water bottles cause you know I got that thang on me. Each day I will be having at least 3Tbsp of olive oil, with most stretches of the trail 7 or 8 days I will have about 25Tbsp of oil on me. AKA 1.5 cups. MmMMmMM yummy, chugging 1.5 cups of oil, I’m sure the digestive tract will love it.
Below is a list of our meal plan, in general, we tried to keep our Calories per Gram proportion as high as we could, 5 is usually a target. Ideally, 4000 calories should come in just under 2 pounds.
1.5 scoops of Vega All-In-One
15g carb (only 2 from sugar)
Calories per Gram: 3.86
Hornby Organic Bar
Calories per Gram: 4.25
Calories per Gram: 4.07
It isn’t the densest breakfast around but it has lots of vitamins and micronutrients. I’m not usually into all that micro/macro stuff but eating dehydrated food on trail means no fresh food. Hopefully giving a little bit of a shit about nutrition will help in the long term. Also, I’m not 23 anymore so I’ve learned a new level of soreness. These bars are amazingly delicious. I’ve previously used them solo for a breakfast but figured I would want a little more to get that protein intake up. Tanya is bringing 100g granola- 430calories and mixing it with 12.5g(2tbsp) instant milk- 45 calories.
Hummus (dehydrated) + Olive Oil
75g Hummus, 13g Olive Oil (1Tbsp)
474 calories + 120 calories= 594 calories
Calories per Gram: 6.75
Amount TBD but based on 64g (1/4c)
Calories per Gram: 6.25
Amount TBD but based on 74g (1/4c)
Calories per Gram: 5.4
Notes: We are also bringing powdered Sriracha to spice stuff up a bit and get a change of pace, particularly for the hummus. We aren’t planning on having hummus every day, but are packing a few for each section for those big days. We are going to bring some kind of vessel for the hummus but haven’t decided what we are going to do. Pita would be ideal but will likely mold by the time we get it. There are some other yummy crackers like the Rainforest Crisps but are kinda hard on the budget. Pretty sure that the peanut butter to Nutella ratio is going to be a bit one-sided.
Mac n Cheese
30g Dehydrated Ham
30g Dehydrated Peas
20g Cheese Powder (2tbsp)
14g Whole Milk Powder (2tbsp)
26g Olive Oil (2tbsp)
410 calories, 2g fat, 86g carb, 13g protein
140 calories, 3g fat, 4g carb, 22g protein
Cheese-78 calories, 0g fat, 6g carb, 1g protein
Milk- 79 calories, 4.3g fat, 6.1 carbs, 4.2g protein
Oil 240 calories, 28g fat
Calories per Gram: 4.41
75g Instant Black Bean Flakes
50g Instant Rice
15g Dehydrated Corn
15g Taco Seasoning (2tbsp)
26g Olive Oil (2tbsp)
260 calories, 44g carb, 2g fat, 14g protein
185 calories, 0g fat, 41g carb, 4g protein
Dehydrated Corn N/A
80 calories, 5g fat, 8g carb, 1 g protein
Taco seasoning N/A
Olive Oil 240 calories, 28g fat
Calories per Gram: 4.22
26g Dehydrated Ground Beef
13g Bread Crumbs (in beef)
20g Dehydrated Sauce
26g Olive Oil (2tbsp)
14g Parmesan (1tbsp)
Orzo- 458 calories, 3.5g fat, 222g carb, 42g protein
Beef- 146 calories, 36g protein
Bread- 51 calories, 12g carb
Olive Oil 240 calories, 28g fat
Cheese- 30 calories, 2g fat, 3g protein
Calories per Gram: 4.03
Only tried a test batch and it was delicious and rehydrated to near-identical consistency. I didn’t measure the ingredients though. I will report back once I have the nutrition!
Lara Bars (varies by flavor)
Calories per Gram: 4.66
Kind Bars (varies by flavor)
Calories per Gram: 4.5
Cliff Bars (varies by flavor)
Notes: we are planning on eating 4-6 bars per day, this is the biggest financial hit. All the good bars are the most expensive!
Last but not least… CANDY
We are going to mow down on some candy this summer. We just bought a bunch of Hi-Chew which are great (they last a long time), and are going to buy some sour keys and leave them out on the counter so they get really stale and hard.
So there ya have it! If anyone is interested in where we got some of the ingredients or how we dehydrated the food let me know! There is plenty of stuff to write a full article about dehydrating (and vacuum sealing) so there may be one coming if people are interested.
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