Planning your meals

Prior to the trip, work out meals on a day-by-day basis and translate your menus into shopping lists. Take your written menu on the trip with you, so you can swap meals around if you need to. Some sample food lists are in Appendix 2.

For overnight trips, a hot drink and a bowl of dense, uncrushable cereal is a common breakfast. Those who need a really quick start often take muesli or breakfast bars, and eat on the track. Missing breakfast altogether is not recommended because your muscles are likely to be carbohydrate-depleted unless you have planned your evening food intake carefully.

On extended trips plan for two types of breakfast—the uncooked breakfast for days when an early start is important (or when fires or stoves are banned) and a cooked breakfast for days when the pace is more leisurely or when a hot breakfast will boost morale if the weather is foul.

It is usually easier not to cook at lunchtime. Carry easily prepared meals of a nutritious nature. Sandwiches are sometimes convenient on the first day out. As leader, you need to ensure that group members understand the protocol of the group regarding lunchtime cooking. Some groups, for example, have a tradition of a hot drink for the whole group at lunch, and the group will expect one person to do this. Other groups expect a full hour for lunch, and the leader would have to tell everyone if less than an hour is planned or necessary.

Evening meal
Always try to ensure that you have daylight for preparation and cooking. This is the most important meal, so do not rush it. Socially it is a time of much trip enjoyment, and as the leader you should try to facilitate this.

Food rich in carbohydrates should be eaten at regular intervals throughout the day. ‘Scroggin’ is a favourite of many bushwalkers and skitourers – a mixture of nuts and dried fruits with chocolate, jelly babies or other sweets.

Food dehydrators
Food dehydrators have proved a useful and cost effective way to reduce weight of foodstuffs carried, while preserving the food value and allowing individual preferences to be met. Many experienced walkers and skitourers find home prepared dehydrated foods particularly useful on extended trips, where weight is a major concern.