Crunch Time for The Foodie!

By Aaron Owens Mayhew, MS, RDN, CD

Updated November 19, 2022
This post may contain affiliate links.
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This article originally appeared on The Trek.

I want to share how excited I am about the number of hikers worldwide who have an interest in improving nutrition while thru-hiking. The Backcountry Meal Planning for Thru-Hikers Facebook group has grown exponentially, with great discussions posted daily. If you haven’t joined, I encourage you to do so. You’ll love it!

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T-minus 37 days… It’s crunch time for the Foodie!

Due to the limited time available, this entry is not the how-to entry I promised but will hopefully give a bit of insight into what types of ultralight backpacking meals I’ve prepared. A few quick meal prep tips that have saved me precious time will also be shared.

Here’s what’s going in my pack…

(kcal/oz = calories per ounce of food)

Vegan Chili 177 kcal/oz

Wasabi Pad Thai 141 kcal/oz

Parmesan Pepper Pasta 128 kcal/oz

Sweet and Savory Couscous 109 kcal/oz


Cherry Lime Quinoa Salad 150 kcal/oz

Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake 147 kcal/oz

Raisin Pecan Breakfast Ramen 135 kcal/oz

Lemon Pepper Bean Spread 120 kcal/oz

Peppermint Latte 118 kcal/oz

Vegetarian Burrito 108 kcal/oz


Pesto Pine Nut Hummus 175 kcal/oz

Tropical Trail Rice 163 kcal/oz

Vanilla Spiced Milk 139 kcal/oz

Sun-Dried Tomato Couscous 133 kcal/oz

Coconut Ginger Smoothie 129 kcal/oz

Coconut Cherry Almond Oatmeal 125 kcal/oz

Strawberry Coconut Almond Oatmeal 124 kcal/oz

Apple Cinnamon Pecan Oatmeal 108 kcal/oz


Choco-Cherry Muesli 146 kcal/oz

Raisin Pecan Granola 137 kcal/oz

Mango Coconut Granola 117 kcal/oz

Honey Nut Cherry Muesli 109 kcal/oz

Apple Cinnamon Pecan Granola 108 kcal/oz


Mango Chia Pudding 143 kcal/oz

Double Chocolate Pudding 139 kcal/oz

Vanilla Bean Pudding 135 kcal/oz

White Chocolate Coconut Pudding 133 kcal/oz

Trail Tapioca Pudding 129 kcal/oz

The Foodie’s Gorp 127 kcal/oz


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    A Few Quick Ultralight Meal Prep Tips:

    Nutrition Information

    Do not assume that the nutrition information in cookbooks and/or on web pages is accurate. It was only after making a large batch of oatmeal that I realized what I thought was an ultralight recipe was not ultralight at all. This explains why some of the meals above are less than my minimum 125 kcal/oz goal. The recipes continue to be included in meal plans as I do truly enjoy them. Because of this, it took a bit more creativity to make up the calories elsewhere.

    Recipe Analysis

    As a result of the possible inaccuracy of nutrition information, I recommend inputting recipes into a recipe or meal planner app of some sort. Personally, I really like the Recipe Builder PRO app by Wombat Apps LLC. It’s easy to use, saves recipes within various categories, and allows custom foods to be entered. Although, there are many apps out there that one might prefer.

    Labeling Foods

    After handwriting names, nutrition information, and preparation instructions on hundreds of bags, I realized how much time printing labels would save me.

    1. Choose a label size that works best for your packaging
    2. Type in the information desired
    3. Auto-populate the remainder of the labels on the sheet
    4. Save the file for the next time the same meal is prepared
    5. Print and affix to the packaging

    Easy as that!

    Bored with your backpacking meals? This post includes 48 easy backpacking recipe ideas for your next adventure. The dehydrated meals are easy to make at home and on trail. You will be well-fueled from start to finish during your next adventure. #backpackingmeals #backpackingrecipes #backcountryfoodie #ultralightbackpacking
    Backcountry Foodie Ultralight Recipes

    That’s not all, folks!

    More ultralight backpacking recipes are on the docket…

    Backpacking Breakfast Ideas

    Apricot Coconut Oatmeal 164 kcal/oz

    Tri-Berry Granola 154 kcal/oz

    Coconut Quinoa Cereal 117 kcal/oz

    Cherry Walnut Breakfast Couscous 131 kcal/oz

    Cheese Grits 130 kcal/oz

    Backpacking Lunch & Dinner Ideas

    Red Lentil Curry 167 kcal/oz

    Sweet Potato Mash 142 kcal/oz

    Tropical Fruit Salad 135 kcal/oz

    Parmesan Pesto Pasta 157 kcal/oz

    Vegetarian Spaghetti 153 kcal/oz

    Black Bean Spread 137 kcal/oz

    Eggplant Parmesan 163 kcal/oz

    Garlic Parmesan Ramen 145 kcal/oz

    Raisin Pecan Rice Dish 138 kcal/oz

    Garlic Lentils 127 kcal/oz

    Garlic Mashed Potatoes 146 kcal/oz

    Italian Couscous 127 kcal/oz


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    It's crunch time for the Foodie! T-minus 37 days until go time. In this post, I share the DIY ultralight backpacking meals going with me and quick tips for speeding up the meal prep process for my PCT thru-hike attempt. You'll also find my favorite no-cook Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake recipe. #backpackingmeals #hikingfoodideas #backpackingfoodideas #nocookbackpackingfood #backpackingrecipes #backcountryfoodie #ultralightbackpacking

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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Aaron Owens Mayhew, MS, RDN, CD, is a registered dietitian and ultralight long-distance backpacker with over 20 years of nutrition and backpacking experience. She’s also the founder and owner of Backcountry Foodie, an online ultralight recipes and meal planning platform for backpackers. She also enjoys teaching hikers about backpacking nutrition via virtual masterclassesYouTube videos, and podcast episodes. You can follow Aaron’s adventures in the kitchen and the backcountry via Instagram and Facebook.

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