This is a general call for advice. I need to dial in my systems for what I buy and how I eat while touring. It’s all well and good to live on Snicker’s bars (they really do satisfy at certain times), Ramen and Pop Tarts while touring for a few months, but I may be out here for quite a while longer, and need to learn how to solve the puzzle of eating, or at least improve my current approach.
Whatever I buy and cook must meet the following parameters:
— Extremely cheap
— Extremely high in calories for it’s size and especially weight
— Very simple/easy preparation
— Available in smaller towns with little selection.
— As healthy as possible
So given these constraints, I’m opening the feedback box and taking in whatever ideas you all have. And to avoid reinventing the wheel, here’s what I’ve got so far by meal type:
Breakfast: I typically buy a box of maple syrup oatmeal packets and cook 2-3 each morning. I use a little extra water and make coffee with pre-packaged Folger’s Crystals servings (ghetto Via for those Starbucks fans). If I’m near a Safeway at breakfast time, they make a great sausage breakfast burrito for $3 which has eggs and meat, good protein source, or go out to breakfast once in a while if I can restrain myself. If I can get to an outdoor store, I’ll buy Mountain House freeze dried breakfasts which typically cost about $5-7 (pricey) but are a good ultralight break from oatmeal when out of towns.
Lunch: This is a toughie. I have an attitude that lunch should not be cooked as getting the stove fired up mid-day feels cumbersome. I often will carry a package of tortillas and either a block of cheese with a roll of salami for wraps, or plastic jars of PB and J. All this is quite heavy to carry food for more than a few days, so I could really use some improvements here.
Dinner: My staples are Ramen noodles, Idahoan packages of powdered mashed potatoes, tasty sides packages of noodle dishes (adding albacore tuna to them for protein when possible), and of course Mountain House freeze dried dinners (again, pricey but good).
Snacks: This is embarrassing, but I am so far reliant on a lot of cheap candies because of their high caloric value to low price and low weight. If I could get Clif to send me 1 box of bars at a time (can’t carry more) I would, but they can’t do that! When available, I will buy trail mix with almonds, raisins, and chocolate. I’m also a big fan of Pop-Tarts as snacks for some reason. The point here is to have something that is refreshing, gives a small burst of energy, and something I can eat a little of throughout the day.
The trick here is highest calories and healthiness, lowest cost and weight. I need to eat about 5000 or more calories a day to keep up with what I’m burning on this behemoth of a bike and the distances I’m riding. Not an easy task I tell you!
So tell me: What do YOU eat when you go for long backpacking trips, bike tours, or other trips when you only have access to a tiny stove (limited fuel) and are trying to save cash??