Two nights on the Appalachian Trail this week! Thru-hiking food is often very different from what you could eat on a shorter trip. If leaving from home it may be possible to break out the dehydrator or whip up some more exciting meals to take with you. On a thru-hike that’s usually not an option unless you cook months worth of meals in advance and mail them to yourself…
On this hike I wanted to eat the same food I ate on my thru-hike, so we headed to Trader Joe’s and picked up some good options. We found these multigrain pilafs. Each package is 400 calories and has 16 grams of protein. That’s not bad! Because these are wet (not dehydrated), at 10 ounces these are heavier than more traditional backpacking foods like Lipton (Knorr) Sides, which can be six ounces each. (As an aside, there are very few Lipton Sides that are vegan, I rarely came across them…). For me, it was worth it to carry a little extra weight in order to have some good tasting dinners. I usually would pack something like this for the first or second night out of town, saving lighter meals for later.
The multigrain pilaf was tasty. To bulk it up a bit we made some instant rice and then added the pilaf to the cooked rice, and then ate it all with a tortilla. On my actual hike I would have added some olive oil and ground chili pepper, and maybe some nutritional yeast too.
I found packaged products like this to be widely available in grocery stores, there were several different brands in 2009 including Kashi.