My mom and I take at least one multi-day backpacking trip each summer. When I was a teenager, we would bring along the usual staples of ramen, grain-based energy bars, grits, cheese, snickers bars (my favorite!), and plenty of other non-paleo snacks. When we made the transition to paleo about 4 years ago, we dropped the ramen and energy bars. Instead, we made our own snacks, loaded up on dehydrated mashed potatoes and tuna packets, and stocked plenty of chocolate. One of my favorite snacks last year was homemade olive oil-soaked sun-dried tomatoes wrapped in basil leaves. We had a pretty great system going. However, about 3 months ago I threw a whole new wrench in our plans when I started the autoimmune protocol. I’ve been thinking a lot about what kinds of foods I’m going to bring on our excursion this coming summer. Here are my ideas so far:
- Coconut butter discs – I warm up coconut manna and pour into a muffin tin, stick the tin in the refrigerator and pop out the individual discs once they have re-hardened. In my experience, these keep their form pretty well. I’ve had them get a little gooey, but they don’t melt like pure coconut oil.
- Sardines – I still haven’t mastered the art of enjoying them, but I know that when I’m really hungry at the end of a full day of hiking I will appreciate them much more. And they are so nutrient-rich that I think they will be a really great food to have on the trip.
- Dehydrated mashed sweet potatoes – Mashed potatoes are out, which is a bit of a bummer for me, as they were my favorite meal on recent hiking trips. My plan is to bake and mash up some sweet potatoes and dry them out in my dehydrator. That way they won’t be very heavy and will be easy to re-hydrate with some boiling water.
- Sweet potato pasta – There area few different varieties of sweet potato pasta/noodles out there, most that include just sweet potato starch and water. This is something that I am definitely going to try out this summer.
- Jerky – I plan to make some jerky out of beef (muscle and heart meat), and possibly some other meats like turkey and bison
- Epic Bars – A great, convenient alternative to homemade jerky. The Bison flavor is AIP compliant.
- Tuna – Great, easily digestible, protein source. We like to bring packets since they are lighter and easier to open.
- Dehydrated veggies – When I’m hiking I abandon a bit of my zealotry with regard to veggie consumption. However, it’s nice to have some dehydrated veggies to add some variety to our meals. Plus, they don’t take up much space and weigh almost nothing.
- Dehydrated fruit – I’m planning to dehydrate some whole fruits for our trip this year. Bananas and apples are some of my favorites. I will also probably grab some dried mango from Trader Joe’s. They carry a lot of freeze-dried fruit as well, which would be a great light-weight snack. I don’t worry about the higher sugar content of dried fruit when I’m backpacking. Carrying a 30+ pound pack up a mountain uses up a lot of energy so over-doing sugar isn’t really an issue. Plus, fruit doesn’t even hold a candle to the amount of sugar in the candy bars and trail mix I used to bring along.
- Homemade trail mix – Since nuts and chocolate (sigh) are out, just about any store-bought trail mix is a no-go. I’m planning to make some carob chips, since I have yet to find any at the store that don’t have dairy and/or grains in them. I’ll also include coconut chips and some dried fruit. I’m seeking out some other options as well, but so far that mixture sounds pretty good to me. If you have successfully reintroduced nuts and/or seeds, they are a great snack to bring along as well. If you have successfully reintroduced chocolate, please eat some extra for me!
- Dehydrated guacamole – To be honest, I haven’t actually tried this one yet. But I think it would work, and it would be great to have some way to add condiments to the meals.
- Homemade dehydrated soups – I’m planning to make some meat-based soups, dehydrate them, and pack them in ziplock bags. They probably won’t be quite as good rehydrated. But, as I mentioned, food is food when you’re hungry in the middle of the forest.
- Plantain chips and Coconut Oil – This is a staple for me on regular days, and definitely something I plan to bring along on the trail. Calorie- and nutrient-dense food is my friend (especially when hiking), and coconut oil is an awesome way to stay full.
- Homemade lara bars – Or store bought if you can tolerate nuts. Again, the sugar content of dried fruit is not something I worry about in the slightest when backpacking.
- Tea – Hot tea is so comforting on cool mornings in the mountains. I usually stick with green, but Earl Grey is always good too.
- Fresh fish (depending on season/location) – My mom likes to have a fishing hook and wire handy just in case we need it. I’m thinking about getting a fishing license this year and maybe catching a trout depending on where we are.
This list isn’t exhaustive, and I will try to add to it as our first trip draws closer. I’m actually pretty excited to experiment with food for our adventure this summer!
With my beautiful mother at the beginning of our last backpacking trip!