It’s a common cliché that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. While it may or may not be true in regular life, faced with a big day bushwalking it’s definitely true.
When you’re hiking you use far more energy than you usually do. As an example, the average male may need 10,000kj of energy per day during their working week, but going hiking on the weekend their energy requirements may shoot up to 15,000kj a day or more (everyone’s energy requirements vary). Because of the high-energy demands of hiking, it’s important to fuel your body properly with energy-rich foods. We’ve put together five of the best brekkies you can use to prime yourself for a big day’s adventure, with an emphasis on being nutritious, high in energy, light to carry and easy to prepare.
Some hikers might argue that there is in fact only one breakfast – and that breakfast is porridge. Porridge is indeed the Breakfast of Champions, it’s high in energy, it’s light to carry (just add water), releases energy slowly, has plenty of fibre and, if you use quick oats, it doesn’t take much fuel to prepare.
You may think porridge on its own is dull. To make your porridge more delicious (and energy rich) pre-pack each serving of oats in its own snap-lock bag with any of the following options; powdered milk, brown sugar, sultanas and a dessert-spoon of LSA (ground linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds).
There are also many other ingredients you can add, including other types of dried fruit (apricots, apple, banana, dates, peaches) or different kinds of seeds (pumpkin or chia) or nuts (walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts), which can add extra interest, crunch and nutrition. Experiment at home to find your perfect mix.
If you want to go really light and choose a breakfast that doesn’t require any fuel to prepare then consider muesli – all you need to do is add cold water.
You can be really boring and buy your muesli from the supermarket, but if you want to look forward to a really killer breakfast, we suggest making your own. You can find some really amazing muesli recipes online, hop on and Google to find one that suits your tastes.
Once you’ve bought/made your muesli, pre-prepare each day’s portion in a snap-lock bag with powdered milk and any extra additions, then every morning all you have to do is add water and you’re away.
Sadly, not everyone can tolerate the delights of that wonderful protein, gluten, so we’ve come up with a few gluten-free alternatives for those who can’t stomach it.
A great replacement for oats is quinoa flakes, which can be used to make a healthy and nutritious porridge. Quinoa is very low in fat and calories and is cholesterol-free. Even better, just like instant oats, you only need to add hot water to prepare them, which keeps fuel use at a minimum. Quinoa flakes are also dull on their own, so we recommend that you add powdered milk, brown sugar, cinnamon and dried fruit – you could also add seeds or nuts for extra crunch and nutrition.
An even easier option than quinoa flakes is gluten-free muesli and again you can make your own or you can buy it.
If you are also lactose intolerant, replace the milk powder with soy milk powder. Coconut milk powder is another delicious alternative.
The breakfast scramble is the closest thing you can get to an egg fry up without actually frying up. And while it may not sound that delicious from the comfort of home, everything tastes better in the bush, right? We’ve found it pretty damn tasty when you’re facing a big day on the go, and a nice break from porridge or muesli.
To make your breakfast scramble pre-pack the following ingredients in a zip-lock bag: a cup-and-a-third of freeze-dried or powdered potato, half-a-cup of freeze-dried or powdered egg (with bacon if you can find it), a tablespoon of milk powder, salt and pepper to taste, and a tablespoon of grated hard cheese. Out on the trail all you have to do is add one-and-half cups of steaming hot water and… voila!
Pancakes are not the lightest, the easiest or the most nutritious of the breakfast meals listed here, but they are definitely tops for taste and you will feel like a king eating them.
As with the other meals, pre-prepare your pancake mix (plain flour for crepes or self-raising flour for regular pancakes, powdered milk and egg, and a pinch of salt) in a snap-lock bag before leaving (or buy a pre-mix in the supermarket – you can even buy gluten free pancake pre-mix).
Don’t forget that you will need oil or butter for frying and a small frying pan. If you can, always make your batter mix the night before – it makes for better pancakes and it saves a small amount of time.
Toppings-wise, you can carry a lemon or two they’re worth the extra weight, but you’ll also need some sugar and butter at a minimum. Pancakes also go well with other hiking foods – honey, peanut butter, banana and nutella or dried fruit that’s been soaked overnight in some sugar syrup.
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