No GORP for me.
March 19, 2010 10:54 AM   Subscribe

Can you suggest unprocessed or minimally processed foods for hiking day trips (approx. 12 hours) and three-day backpacking trips? The catch: no refined carbohydrates.

Hiking season for me starts tomorrow, and I'll need to feed myself. The catch: I've been successfuly losing weight by watching my refined carbs and sugar intake, and would rather forgo on my usual selection of fluffernutters, fresh and dried food, and Pocky sticks.

I know that once the weather is nice enough to backpack, the ability to cook will open up a whole lot more options, and I would like to know how to expand my typical menu of canned sardines and ramen cups.

I am well aware of adequate caloric needs - it just seems a lot harder to meet those goals exclusively with minimally processed, non-sugary foods.

I don't enjoy trail mix or energy bars, but I'm open to all suggestions!
posted by halogen to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: "fresh and dried fruit"
posted by halogen at 10:55 AM on March 19, 2010

posted by dfriedman at 10:59 AM on March 19, 2010

"LĂ„RABAR is a delicious blend of unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices - energy in its purest form. Made from 100% whole food, each flavor contains no more than six ingredients....Uncooked and Unprocessed." Also, their JAMFRAKAS. I get mine at Whole Foods.
posted by ericb at 11:05 AM on March 19, 2010

Good quality cured meats? Decent salami should be little more than pork, salt and spices. True, it has lots of calories, but it's quite hard to eat that much.
posted by rhymer at 11:09 AM on March 19, 2010

Best answer: Meat. Specifically, jerky and other cured meat.

But be careful: the cheap stuff is generally both processed within an inch of its (your?) life and loaded with sugar. This isn't a cheap option, but it's going to be far and away the highest ratio of calories/weight.

If you really want to control what's in it, you can make it yourself. People have been curing meat for thousands of years, and while it appears to take more than a few minutes, there's no reason you can't follow in their footsteps, as it were.
posted by valkyryn at 11:14 AM on March 19, 2010

homemade hummus and dipping veggies (cold broccoli and cauliflour, carrots, celery, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes)


Good jerky.
posted by WeekendJen at 11:17 AM on March 19, 2010

Yeah, nuts, good jerky, whole grain bread with hummus. I do a lot of the first two, but if you don't the extra bulk you can put together great snacks with a little time.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 11:25 AM on March 19, 2010

Cheese, hard boiled eggs, wholewheat crackers, peanut butter sandwiches (on whole grain), trail mix, apples, bananas, dark chocolate, jerky (meat or fish, I like salmon), sausage, figs, dates.

Lara bars are nice but expensive.
posted by fshgrl at 11:28 AM on March 19, 2010

posted by OHenryPacey at 11:34 AM on March 19, 2010

I know you said no refined sugars, and it is smart to stay away from them where possible, but my understanding is that that's more of a concern when you don't have a lot of caloric expenditure going on. If you're hiking and burning calories all day long, eating jelly beans (at least before/during the hike) isn't going to hurt your waistline since you'll burn those calories before they get a change to get turned into fat.

So maybe don't worry about it? And you should for sure bring at least a small supply in case you ever need energy quickly in the short term, especially on multiday trips or longer dayhikes.

Personally I like whole wheat bread products (crackers, bagels, pitas), hummus (homemade or not) and cheese as hiking lunch/snack food.
posted by Aizkolari at 12:15 PM on March 19, 2010

Best answer: So, first you need to change your perceptions of what 'camping food' is. I've completely dropped any thoughts of lightweight food and now do 100% quality. If I really want to save weight, I bring less gear and get more fit :)

Any pre-cooked meats are great. To me, a cold steak is delicious - slice it into strips and enjoy! Pork chops are also awesome. I cook it at home the week before the trip.

Jerky, dried fruits, nuts are great for snacking.

Don't forget enough fats too - you'll get some from the nuts, but also bring cheese and summer sausage. I'll bring a jar of almond or peanut butter along - delicious!

Water is generally all the drink that you need, I also bring Nuun tablets for electrolyte replacement if it's a hot summer hike.

And for a tip in the opposite direction, the best calories for the weight are Pringles - and they come in their own handy crush-proof container which doubles as a trash can when empty :)
posted by jpeacock at 12:51 PM on March 19, 2010

Best answer: I don't really know what your standards are for minimally processed but I'll shoot:

1. Individually wrapped mozzarella cheese sticks will be fine for 24 hours, or longer, as long as they stay out of the sun.

2. Canned or vacuum packed tuna or salmon.

3. Any sort of bread or crackers you want to bring.

4. Couscous, the whole wheat kind. Cooks so fast you only have to bring the water to boil.

5. Cream cheese is also good for about a day, or longer. Butter also lasts about a week, as long as it isn't in the sun.

6. Sunflower seeds, easy to snack on, high in calories.

7. Easy Mac.

8. Oatmeal.

9. Teas/instant coffees
posted by 517 at 2:14 PM on March 19, 2010

Also, the secret ingredient to all backpacking cooking is the fastfood mustard or hot sauce packet.
posted by 517 at 2:23 PM on March 19, 2010

Just worth noting - I love the dried fruits (little carb bombs!) and nuts, but that's a lot of fiber for a hike. (Larabars are also fiber rich.)

I try to avoid refined carbs, but make some special provisions for endurance runs. I take along a pack of Gu for quick energy. I might not need it, but it's there if I do. It's worth carrying something small and carby in your pack, just in case.
posted by 26.2 at 9:44 AM on March 20, 2010

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