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Food

bushwalker enjoying a meal on a camping trip

About Your Body and Food

Your body is a very complex mobile chemical factory. The inputs are food and water (in various forms) and the outputs are energy, water and waste products. There is a great variety of food available nowadays and the selection depends on personal preferences. The basic requirement is to provide a balanced healthy diet to give you enough energy to complete the walk. This will usually require in the order of 8,000 to 16,000 kilojoules (kJ)/day for adult males depending on the distance, terrain and your load – about 10% less for women. The costs can be minimised by using ‘Home Brand’ products. A small packet of noodles costs about 40 cents.

Ideally, the food should be light in weight, have high energy value, be easy and fast to prepare (5 minute noodles), palatable, not fragile, not bulky and not spoil in hot weather whilst sitting in your pack. With freeze-dried and dehydrated foods now readily available in the shops, the day of the modern gourmet bushwalking cook has arrived. Just add water, wait, heat and eat. Nothing could be simpler!

Some clubs have a dehydrator so when you become a member ask if you can use it and for the recommended heating times for the various vegetables and meats. (The secret is knowing how thin to cut the slices.) Lotsafreshair has some tips on using a dehydrator and instructions for dehydrating hummus.

For those times when you’re extra hungry, take along some (two) high energy food bars or a small pack of sultanas or dates and nuts. These may also be used for emergencies if your group get forced to spend another night in the bush. Always leave something to eat in your pack.

The secret is to eat small amounts often. Keep topping up your energy intake. Adopt the same principle for drinking water. Your engine needs both to perform efficiently.

Food for Day Walks

Basically take what you like, as long as you can carry it. You may decide (as some clubs do) to leave a picnic in the cars for when the group returns – all hungry and thirsty. It provides a great opportunity for discussing the highlights of the day and what is happening next weekend. Remember that your body requires water to convert the food into energy so make sure that you have a drink after your lunch (not before as it dilutes your gastric juices).

Food for Weekend Walks

For some tasty ideas on breakfast, lunch and dinner in the bush watch this video on Basic food for bushwalking/hiking

(Embed video from blog here)

For more information, see Easy Hiking Food for Overnight Trips by lotsafreshair.

Select what you need and then put meal-size portions into small plastic bags which are then placed into a larger bag to keep dry. Take only what you will need. Don’t take whole packets if you will only use half. Minimize tinned food. A good leader will ensure that water can be found near to your camp site or at creeks along the way so don’t carry more than 2 litres unless you’re heading for a ‘dry’ camp.

Usually you will start the walk on Saturday morning, so that you need to cater for Saturday lunch and dinner, and Sunday breakfast and lunch. Fire bans during the summer may prevent the use of camp fires or stoves. Check with your leader. Share your stove with a friend. It helps to reduce the weight by one stove but more fuel is needed.

And you don’t even have to go without your favourite tipple.

The following is a small list of some of the foods observed on recent walks. Check out your local supermarket for other foods.

Breakfast

  • cereals (Eg. rolled oats, Weetbix, muesli, etc)
  • meat (Eg. sausages, bacon) or vegetarian (yogurt and fruit packs)
  • drinks (Eg. tea, coffee, water (drink at least 500ml of fluid to prepare for the day)

Morning tea

  • fruit, nibbles, cake, assorted pastries (from that shop we stopped at this morning)
  • high energy snacks (Picnics, Mars bars, honey logs, apricot bars, etc)
  • drinks – usually water

Lunch

  • meat (Eg. salami, sardines) or vegetarian
  • cheese, salads, sprouts, tomatoes,
  • bread, cracker biscuits, pita bread (thin, flat and round)
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • fruit (Eg. apple, orange – something that won’t spoil in your pack – like bananas)
  • drinks (Eg. tea, coffee, water, fruit juice)

Afternoon tea

  • fruit, nibbles, barley sugar, sweets
  • high energy snacks (Picnics, Mars bars, honey logs, apricot bars, etc)
  • drinks – usually water

Dinner

Entree (for happy hour) with Robinsons and Rum

  • Smoked salmon pate on cracker biscuits (or anything else)
  • tinned oysters
  • cheese slices on cracker biscuits

Main course

  • Cup-a-Soup (to warm you up whilst waiting for the fire to die down)
  • meat (Eg. dehydrated mince) or vegetarian
  • mashed potato, pasta, rice, spaghetti, sauces, noodles with ….
  • vegetables (Eg. peas, beans, carrots, onion, dehydrated …..)

Dessert

  • fruit (Eg. dehydrated apples, peaches, …) and custard
  • dumplings and caramel sauce
  • pancakes with honey or jam (also great for breakfast)

After dinner

  • mints or mint slices
  • assorted sliced cheeses and cracker biscuits
  • wine, port, Baileys Irish Cream, etc

Miscellaneous Checklist

  • Milk powder, condensed milk, yogurt
  • Sugar
  • Salt, pepper
  • Herbs, spices, sauces, dips, spreads, cheese
  • Honey, jam, peanut butter, vegemite
  • Bread, crisp breads, pita bread, rice cakes
  • Biscuits, cake, fruit slices
  • Nuts, chocolate, jelly beans, sultanas, dates, dried apricots
  • Sprouts, capsicum, garlic, onion, tomatoes
  • Custard powder, pancake mix, dumpling mix
  • Pate, tuna, salmon, sardines, oysters
  • Pre-cooked + frozen stews, sausages, steak
  • Dehydrated fruit, vegetables, meat (for long trips)

Reading the above list could lead to an impression that bushwalking is more about eating than walking. I would suggest that bushwalking increases your appetite and food cooked over a camp fire tastes much better than a meal cooked at home.

Don’t forget to bring a plastic bag to pack out all rubbish after your trip.

Recipes for a Bushwalking Trip by Colin Wood

Things to bake before you leave:

Breakfasts

Toasted Muesli

Ingredients: Makes about 6 cups.
2 cups rolled oats.
1 cup chopped dried apples.
1 cup chopped dried apricots.
1/2 cup chopped dried 1/2 cup processed bran.
1/2 cup wheatgerm. 1/4 cup sunflower seeds.
1/8 cup sesame seeds.
1/2 cup vegetable oil.
1/2 cup honey.

Method:

  1. 
Set oven at 150 degrees C or 300 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients and spread on an oven tray.
  3. 
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.


Pancakes

Ingredients:
1/4 cup plain flour.
1/4 cup self raising flour.
1 tbl. sugar.
1/4 cup milk powder.
1 tbl powdered egg

Method:
To prepare:
Mix ingredients and place into a sealed bag.

To cook:

  1. Mix contents of bag with half a cup of water.
  2. Melt some butter or margarine in a frypan over low heat.
  3. Pour half the mix into frypan and cook until set.
  4. Turn pancake over and lightly brown over side.
  5. Repeat for second half of the mix.

Lunches and Snacks

Date Loaf

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chopped dates.
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots.
1 tsp sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).
1 cup boiling water.
50g butter.
1 egg, beaten.
1/2 cup chopped almonds or walnuts.
3/4 cup brown sugar.
1 1/2 cups self raising flour.

Method:

  1. Set oven at 180 degrees C or 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine dates, apricots and sodium bicarbonate in a mixing bowl.Pour in boiling water and mix. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Add butter and mix until it melts.
  4. Add nuts, egg, sugar and flour and mix well.
  5. Place in a well greased log pan and bake for 45 minutes or until
  6. Turn out onto a cooling rack.
  7. When cold, slice, spread with butter or margarine and wrap in plastic wrap.


Almond Bread

Ingredients:

4 egg whites.

1/2 cup caster sugar.

1 cup plain flour.

2/3 cup almonds or hazelnuts.

Method:

  1. Set oven at 180 degrees C or 350 degrees F.
  2. Beat egg whites until it forms small peaks. Gradually add sugar and continue beating until mixture is stiff.
  3. Fold in almonds and flour.
  4. Place in a well greased log pan and bake for 50 – 60 minutes.
  5. Cool on a cooling rack.
  6. Wrap in foil and let stand for a few days.
  7. Slice thinly and dry slices on an oven tray at 150 degrees C or 300 degrees F for about 30 minutes.


Anzac Biscuits

Ingredients:
2 cups rolled oats.
3/4 cup plain flour.
1/2 cup sugar.
1 tbl. golden syrup.
2 tbls. boiling water.
125g butter.
1 tsp sodium bicarbonate.

Method:

  1. Set oven at 160 degrees C or 320 degrees F.
  2. Melt butter in saucepan on stove.
  3. In a bowl mix rolled oats, flour and sugar.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix sodium bicarbonate, boiling water,
  5. golden syrup and the melted butter, then pour over dry ingredients. Mix well.
  6. Drop spoonfuls of mix onto a greased oven tray leaving room for the mixture to spread.
  7. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until cooked.
  8. Cool biscuits on a cooling rack.


Muesli Biscuits

Ingredients:
1 cup rolled oats.
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots.
1/2 cup chopped dried apples.
1/2 cup processed bran.
1/2 cup coconut.
1/8 cup sunflower seeds.
1/8 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
1 tbl. sesame seeds.
1/2 cup self raising flour.
1/2 cup brown sugar.
1 tbl. honey
2 eggs.
100g butter.

Method:

  1. Set oven at 190 degrees C or 370 degrees F.
  2. Melt butter in saucepan on stove.
  3. In a bowl mix all the dried ingredients.
  4. Add the honey, egg and melted butter and mix well.
  5. Drop spoonfuls of mix onto a greased oven tray leaving room for the mixture to spread.
  6.  Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until cooked.
  7. Cool biscuits on a cooling rack.


Boiled Fruit Cake

Ingredients:
1 cup plain flour.
1 cup self raising flour.
2 eggs, beaten.
1/2 cup butter.
3/4 cup brown sugar.
1 cup water.
3 cups dried fruit.
1/2 tsp nutmeg.
1/2 tsp cinnamon.
1 tsp sodium bicarbonate.

Method:

  1. Set oven at 180 degrees C or 350 degrees F.
  2.  In a saucepan, put the water, sugar, butter, fruit, nutmeg, cinnamon and sodium bicarbonate. Bring to boil, stirring
  3. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and add eggs.
  4. Sift both flours and add to other ingredients.
  5. Place in a well greased and paper lined 18 cm square cake tin. Bake for 1 hour.
  6. Allow to cool in tin for 15 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack.
  7. When cold, wrap individual slices in plastic wrap.


Fruit & Nut Biscuits

Ingredients:

125g butter, softened.
1/2 cup sugar.
2 tbls. milk.
1/2 tsp vanilla essence.
1 1/4 cups plain flour.
1/4 cup finely chopped almonds.
1/4 cup imitation cherries.
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped.
1/4 cup dried paw paw spears, chopped.
1/4 cup desiccated coconut.

Method:

  1. Set oven at 180 degrees C or 375 degrees F.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy.
  3. Add milk and vanilla and beat until mixed.
  4. Blend into flour, add fruits and nuts and mix well.
  5. Shape dough into a ball and then roll it into a cylinder 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter. Sprinkle coconut on board and roll dough through it until covered in coconut.
  6. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  7. Cut dough crosswise into 1/2 cm (about 1/4 inch) slices and place on a lightly greased baking tray.
  8. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  9. Cool biscuits on cooling rack.

Things to mix at home and cook away:

Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

2 tbls tomato flakes.

1/4 cup milk powder.

1 tbl flour.

1 tsp basil.

1 tsp dried parsley.

1/4 tsp garlic powder.

Method:

To prepare:

Mix all ingredients and place into a sealed bag.

To cook:

  1. Place contents of bag into saucepan and gradually blend in two cups of cold water.
  2. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring


Tabouleh

Ingredients:

1/2 cup bourghul.

2 tbls. dried onion.

1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes.

1/2 tsp salt.

1/4 cup dried parsley.

2 tbls. dried mint.

Method:

To prepare:

Mix all ingredients and place in a sealed bag.

To cook:

Heat 1 and 1/2 cups of water until boiling. Remove from heat and add ingredients from bag. Stir and leave to stand for 1 hour. Drain off any excess liquid.


Dinners

Rice Curry

Ingredients:

1/2 cup freeze dried rice.

2 tsp dried onion.

1 tsp curry powder.

1/4 cup sultanas.

1/4 cup dried apple, chopped.

1 tsp dried coconut.

Method:

To prepare:

Mix all ingredients, and place in a sealed bag.

To cook:

Boil 1 cup of water. Add contents of bag and stir. Bring back to boil and simmer for 10 minutes.



Noodles and Vegetables (sort of Singapore style)

Ingredients:

1 packet two minute noodles.

2 tbls. dried peas.

2 tbls. dried beans.

2 tbls. dried corn.

2 tbls. dried mushrooms.

2 tbls. dried capsicum.

2 tbls. TVP.

1 tbl. dried tomato.

1 tbl. dried onion.

1/8 tsp garlic powder.

Method:

To prepare:

Mix all ingredients except noodles and place in a sealed bag.

To cook:

  1. Bring 2 cups water to boil.
  2. Add vegetable mix from bag and flavor sachet from noodles.
  3. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Break noodles into small pieces and add to pot.
  5. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Chilli

Ingredients:

1/4 cup red lentils.

1/4 cup tvp.

2 tbls tomato flakes.

1/2 tsp chilli powder or chopped dried chillis.

1/8 cup dried capsicum, chopped.

1/4 tsp garlic powder.

2 tsps sesame seeds.

2 tsps dried onion.

Method:

To prepare:

Combine all ingredients and place in a sealed bag.

To cook:

  1. Boil 2 cups of water. Remove from heat.
  2. Add contents of bag. Stir and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Return to boil, then simmer until all liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally.


Spaghetti Bolognese

Ingredients: (Serves 2)

1/4 cup red lentils.

1/2 cup TVP.

1/4 cup dried capsicum, chopped.

1/4 cup dried mushrooms, chopped.

1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped.

1 tbl sesame seeds.

2 tbls dried onion.

1/4 tsp basil.

1/4 tsp thyme.

1/4 tsp oregano.

1 tsp dried parsley.

1/2 tsp black pepper.

1/4 tsp garlic powder.

6 tbls tomato flakes.

125 grams pasta or spaghetti.

Parmesan cheese to taste.

Method:

To prepare:

Mix all ingredients except pasta and cheese. Place into a plastic

bag. Place pasta in another bag, and cheese in a third.

To cook:

  1. Bring 3 cups of water to boil.
  2. Remove from heat and add dried vegetables and spices from bag. Stir and put aside. This must soak for at least 15 minutes.
  3. In a second saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to boil.
  4. Add pasta to second saucepan. Bring to boil again, then simmer for 10 – 15 minutes or until cooked.
  5. Drain and put aside.
  6. Return first saucepan to heat. Bring to boil, then simmer until lentils are very soft, stirring occasionally. If sauce becomes dry, add more water. Do not undercook as partially raw lentils taste disgusting, but fully cooked they taste good.
  7. Pour sauce over pasta and mix. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top

Desserts

Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients:

2 tbls. cornflour.

2 tbls. milk powder.

2 tsp. sugar.

2 tsp cocoa powder.

Method:

To prepare:

Mix ingredients and place into a sealed bag.

To cook:

  1. Combine mix from bag in a saucepan with 1 cup water.
  2. Bring to boil, stirring continuously.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for one minute.
  4. Allow to cool and set.


Custard

Ingredients:

1 tbl. custard powder.

1/4 cup milk powder.

2 tsp. sugar.

Method:

To prepare:

Mix ingredients and place into a sealed bag.

To cook:

  1. Combine mix from bag in a saucepan with 1 cup water.
  2. Bring to boil, stirring continuously.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for one minute.
  4. Allow to cool and set.