Ever wonder what you should be eating when you’re out adventuring to give yourself the best chance at success? I know I did for a long time. I struggled to find the balance between getting the right calories, minimal weight and
space, and cost. After a lot of research and trial and error I’ve come up with a system that works extremely well and I am constantly refining this system.
When planning my meals for my time in the mountains I try to hit between 3,100-3,500 calories a day. While this can be challenging, focusing on fats and protein puts me right in this target range. I’ve found that shooting for 135-160 calories per ounce helps me reach this goal. Everybody is different, so do some research, try some different strategies, and see what works best for you.
Keeping the weight of my food down is also a high priority for me. I tend to lean more towards meal replacement options (i.e. bars and powders) because they are light, high in calories, and don’t require me to bring cooking gear with me. However, there is something comforting about a warm meal while spending time in the mountains and when the opportunity presents itself I bring a hot meal with me.
Packing in traditional, dehydrated meals takes up a lot of space, as does packing in enough “real food” to meet my caloric needs. Many new companies, such as Heather’s Choice, have shaved down the size of their packaging making them more compact. Naturally, meal replacement bars are the most compact option.
Finally, considering the cost of food is typically where the rubber meets the road. After researching my options, while the cheapest option would be to make my own meals, taking into consideration the time and resources that it would take to make my own food, I chose to purchase my food for the time being.
If you’re looking for a place to start, here is a list of the food I use during my outdoor adventures.
- Heather’s Choice: Born in Alaska, these meals are light, calorically dense, and taste amazing. Designed by Heather herself, she brings a wealth of knowledge on nutrition and you can trust that these meals will fuel you right. And taste good. Did I mention they taste good?
- Good 2 Go: G2G meals, much like Heather’s Choice, are responsibly sourced and extremely healthy. With recipes like Pad Thai, G2G provides a nice variety. While the packaging could be smaller, these meals are very light.
- MTN OPS: MTN OPS is a supplement company geared towards hunters and outdoorsmen. For hunting, I like their Ignite product for sustained energy, Enduro for cardio enhancement (i.e. when you gotta hike your butt off), Ammo and Magnum for quick meals in the morning. These are just a few of the products they offer and I suggest looking at their website to see what products fit your needs.
- Pro Bar: Whether I need a snack or a meal, Pro Bar has a solution for whatever I need. I like their coconut, chocolate chip meals and Bolt energy product.
- Jerky: When it comes to buying jerky, I like the thick cut beef strips from Costco. Their only drawback is they have a short shelf life (3 days) once opened. Ideally, I prefer to make my own.
- Green Belly Meals: GB meals were designed by adventurer Chris Cage. They have 1/3 of your daily nutrients and are light and compact. I recommend the cranberry almond.
- F-bombs: F-bombs aren’t your traditional nut butter. These will knock your socks off. With their various flavors and dense caloric nature, these are a great snack when you’re in a hurry.
Have fun, shoot straight, and make your life an epic one!