I love backpacking. Getting deep in to the woods, miles from anyone else and being totally immersed in nature is pure bliss. One major challenge for backpacking is how do you bring nourishing food to last several days that is light and easy to bring along? An even bigger challenge is doing this on a low carb diet! I had to tackle this head on getting ready for a backpacking trip this summer. My partner and I spent many hours researching and preparing so I want to share with you what I have learned. This isn’t a typical recipe blog more of a how-to guide to plan for healthy camping/backpacking meals.
Breakfast: Most backpackers rely on oatmeal for a satisfying breakfast. It is light to carry and easy to prepare. So we didn’t stray far from this classic we found Wildway Grain Free Instant Hot Cereal. We tried four of their flavors and my favorite was toasted coconut. We brought along some chia seeds and coconut oil to add to this breakfast. Net carbs= 8g
Lunch: In the middle of the day we were moving so we didn’t really want to sit down and eat a big meal so we broke lunch up in to two smaller meals.
Meal 1: We brought along with us some pecans and my favorite turkey jerky by Vermont Smoke and Cure. Eating ¼ cup of pecans and 2 jerky sticks each gave us enough fuel to make it to our second smaller meal. Net carbs= 3g
Meal 2: We combined chocolate protein powder, fiber powder, greens powder and powdered coconut milk with water for a chocolate pick me up drink. My current favorite protein powder is NutriDyn’s Chocolate Paleo Protein. We also use NutriDyns fruits and greens powders for an extra boost. My favorite is their espresso flavor.
Net carbs= this will depend on what fiber you use and if you choose to add a greens powder. The greens powder does increase the carb count for us this came out to 9 grams.
Dinner: We rotated through 4 different dinner meals that each combined a protein + veggie pouch + seasoning + fat.
Let’s start with the prep work at home.
Protein: We have a dehydrator and used that to dehydrate several pounds of ground beef. (insert picture of dehydrating beef). The process is quite simple you cook the beef thoroughly, strain off the fat (I know this isn’t very ketogenic but in order dry properly and keep it from spoiling it must be done) and pat it dry with a paper towel. Then spread it out on the dehydrator. We found that after a few hours it helps to move it around to ensure if fully dries out. It’s amazing how small a pound of ground beef becomes
Next time we will try dehydrating chicken. This time we settled for some chicken pouches that we took with us on shorter trips.
Veggies: For vegetables we didn’t have the time or energy to dehydrate ourselves this trip so settled for buying dehydrated broccoli, spinach, onion and celery. We made individual pouches combining these and used them with every dinner. In the end we didn’t like the celery. It never rehydrated well and was quite chewy so I would leave that one out.
For multiday backpacking we used pouches of spices that we assembled at home. My favorite was a curry we put together. For days that we weren’t hiking far we used premade sauce mixes.
Fat: We brought two small jars of coconut oil to add to our meals. We also had some packets of almond butter to add to our curry dinner as well as powdered coconut milk. We bought a few unripe avocados and managed to keep them safe and added them to a few of our dinners as well.
Putting it all together: The dehydrated beef worked out surprisingly well. We did discover that it works best if you add the beef to a bowl with a few cups of water and let it sit covered for at least 30 minutes before starting to cook. Once the dehydrated beef was pretty well rehydrated we used our camping stove to heat the beef, add more water if needed and added the spices/flavor pouch and vegetables. Cook until everything is rehydrated.
We ended our day with a square of Choc Zero chocolate
Tips: We didn’t factor in how much sweating we would do and how much extra sodium we would require. We did bring along electrolyte packets to take once per day but a few days in I was starting to get lightheaded and realized I needed more salt. We make a quick stop and picked up some more salt before continuing on our way. A low carb diet often increases your salt requirements so if you will be sweating a lot in addition make sure you bring extra salt!
If you have any camping food tips please comment below. We are always looking for new ideas!