These tasty and nutritious backpacking meal recipes are healthier, have more calories and cost less than commercial, freeze dried backpacking meals. Keep it simple — there are enough nutritious backpacking meal recipes here to provide sufficient daily variety to keep meals fun and interesting. But there aren’t so many recipes that I spend too much time buying ingredients and assembling a large inventory of gourmet meals. I’d rather spend my time hiking than fussing with food.
Note: This is a companion piece to my top rated post, Best Backpacking Food – simple and nutritious – veggie and omnivore friendly which has more detailed info on nutrition and backpacking food choices.
Photo: Author eating dinner in the Alaska Range – credit: Andrew Skurka
Meal Rotation Planner — Nutritious Backpacking Meal Recipes
Keep it simple — I rotate 2 to 3 meal options for each trip. This provides enough food variety on the trail. By limiting meals to 2 to 3 nutritious backpacking meal recipes, I simplify food purchasing and meal prep.
|Backpacking Meal Planner – example of a 3-day rotation|
|1||None: eat large one off-trail||#1 Wrap+cheese & mustard (fruit #1)||#1 Rice+beans w chips+cheese|
|2||#1 Muesli||#2 Bison+sesame stix (dried fruit #2)||#2 Couscous curry|
|3||#2 Hot oatmeal/cream-o-wheat||#3 Crackers+almond butter (fruit #3)||#3 Chili mac|
|4||#3 Grape-Nuts + strawberries||#1 Wrap+cheese & mustard (fruit #1)||#1 Rice+beans w chips+cheese|
|5||#1 Muesli||#2 Bison+sesame stix (dried fruit #2)||#2 Couscous curry|
|6||#4 Quick breakfast meal bar||#3 Crackers+almond butter (fruit #3)||None: eat large one off-trail|
If you don’t already have one get an inexpensive kitchen scale that weighs up to 11 pounds (5 Kg). Almost all the ingredients are measured by weight for these recipes.
The following are nutritious and filling breakfasts that should keep a spring in your step until lunch! They have healthy fats and a good amount of protein. Note that the table below is in scrollable window. Please scroll down to see all the recipes Or you can see ALL THE RECIPES full page here, as a Google Sheet
The following are nutritious backpacking dinner recipes. These are filling meals at around 700-800 calories per serving! They have healthy fats and a good amount of protein. Note that the table below is in scrollable window. Please scroll down to see all the recipes Or you can see ALL THE DINNER RECIPES on a full page here, as a Google Sheet
Dessert and Hot Drink Recipes
The following are just few ideas for desserts and after dinner drinks. Note that the table below is in scrollable window. Please scroll down to see all the recipes Or you can see ALL THE DINNER RECIPES full page here, as a Google Sheet
Rice And Beans With Cheese And Tortilla Chips
Then separately package in ziplock snack baggies:
- 3-4 oz cheddar cheese (cubed or shredded)
- 2 oz of lightly salted tortilla chips of your choice (lightly crushed)
Place both the cheese and chip baggies back in the meal bag and reseal it.
Meal Prep Directions
- pour 17 to 18 oz hot water into the meal packet and set aside to re-hydrate
- after about 5 minutes, stir in cheese
- when full hydrated (about 10 min), crumble tortilla chips over the top and enjoy!
Note: eat in packet with long spoons unless you want to be scraping cheese out of your pot and/or bowls for some time.