Tips for Eating to Support Recreational Activity


1. Planning ahead

It mightened seem obvious but writing a food and gear list is essential – it was something Sir Edmund Hillary excelled at:

-          make a list for each day of all the meals required and the food you need to take. What cooking gear do you need?

-          how many mouths are you catering for?

-          allow for snacks that are light, nutritious and easily accessible.

2. How to keep food weight and bulk down?

-          use dried alternatives like milk powder, dried fruit and dried soup/veges

-          try freeze dried meals, they have improved greatly since Sir Ed’s day!

-          allow for the heavier (fresh) food to be eaten in Day 1

-          use plastic bags (clear zip lock bags are great) instead of plastic containers

-          take dense (heavy grain) bread to avoid it getting squashed beyond recognition; and  crackers instead of bread for the final days – they don’t go stale and weigh less.         

3. Convenience AND Taste – you don’t need to forgo flavour

-          make your own dehydrated food -  great article in

-          if you haven’t got a dehydrator then try packets of instant pasta, noodles, soup/sauces, instant puddings

-          bulk out the instant meals with some ‘light in weight’ fresh vegetables - such as mushrooms, courgettes, capsicum

-          we take fresh meat (like lamb steaks) for the first night then dried meals thereafter.

You need extra energy and fluid compared to a ‘normal’ day to support you for carrying gear, walking long distances over demanding terrain and coping with extremes in weather.


Sample Menu


Breakfast: You can enjoy a large breakfast to provide energy over the day.

Cooked – try refried potatoes (kept cold from the night before) with baked beans and ‘Egg in the hole’ bread (break an egg into a hole in the middle of a slice of heavy grain bread and fry)

OR cereal with dried pineapple and roasted almonds, milk made up from powder. Hot chocolate.


Lunch: Salami or tuna, cheese and cucumber sandwiches, cherry tomatoes are also good value. Take boiled eggs for your first lunch.

TIP: have a packet soup when you get to the hut to restore fluid and electrolytes.


Dinners – Night 1 = fresh food night: Lamb steaks with new potatoes and pre-made Greek salad. Dessert –fruit cake and cheese.

Night 2: Sweet and sour sausages (pre-cooked) – packet sauce (sweet and sour mix) with courgettes and rice. Dessert – rehydrated dried apricots with custard

Snacks: Have each person choose their own and carry them. Try – homemade scroggin, crackers and cheese, muesli/cereal bars

Fluids:  Water. Try it with dash of juice and pinch of salt helps with energy and electrolyte replacement when you are tramping for the whole day. Make your water easy to access and have a drink at each rest stop.

Many experienced outdoor adventurers have their favourite recipes/meals so ‘pick their brains’ for more good ideas.