Breakfast: The most important meal of the day. Or is it?... It is.
Starting the day with a solid base of calories is absolutely necessary to having a successful day on the polar trail. Our preferred options are:
- Oatmeal (a well known staple, with some extra pads of butter, nuts, and berries for additional calories and flavor)
- Granola (supplemented with powdered whole milk, nuts, and dried fruit)
- Breakfast Burritos (because sometimes you gotta go all-out) Our favorite breakfast burritos are made with dried potatoes, ham, and peppers with eggs and cheese.
- Freeze dried eggs (which are can be tricky to get right, but when you do are quite nice) Better if eaten along with one of the options above.
Along with breakfast it’s crucial to start hydrating. Aiim to drink AT LEAST a liter of fluids before breaking camp (coffee doesn’t count). A good way to start is by drinking water from your hot water bottle before even getting out of your sleeping bag.
Lunch: a.k.a. meals on the go
While on trail, we don’t stop for an organized lunch, but instead we eat at every break (which is generally every hour and 15 min to hour and a half. Over the course of 5-7 breaks in a day, plan to be putting away 1200-1500 calories total.
When building your lunches, variety in flavor, texture, and calorie type is key. For example, cheese, meat, and nuts are great sources of slow burning protein and fat, while energy bars and dried fruit are good sources of faster burning carbs. Having the right mixture will keep your body running in tip-top shape all day long; you should probably throw in some chocolate for good measure.
Here are a few of our go-to snacks in no particular order.
- Energy Bars (we like Clif Bars/Luna Bars, Pro Bars, and Larabars to name a few)
- Beef Jerky
- Cheese sticks or pre-cut pieces of cheese
- Trail mix (every kind)
- Dried fruit (mangos, apricots, pears and bananas are all good)
- Salami or meat sticks
- Candy Bars (we love Snickers and Twix because they are still easily edible while frozen)
- Electrolyte replacement snacks (Shot Bloks)
- Chocolate covered anything
- Anything with peanut butter in it. (Especially peanut butter barrels)
- Dried fish
- Hard Candies (we like Jolly Ranchers and butter toffee)
IMPORTANT: Make sure that you test all of your snacks when they are frozen solid! It doesn’t matter how tasty it is if it breaks your teeth when you eat it. This is especially important when considering energy bars. It’s a good idea to have the snacks for your next break in an inner pocket so they are not fully frozen when it comes time to eat them.
Dinner: You’ll still be hungry, we guarantee it.
Time to load up. You’ve earned it. Dinner on the trail can be up to a three course meal depending on how hungry you are. It starts off with a hot drink and some “Nansen noodles” (PolarExplorers’s proprietary noodle concoction). For the first course, you might have bacon+cheese quesadillas, or perhaps a personal polar pizza (flatbread cooked in butter with cheese and salami).
The main course consists of a premixed dehydrated or freeze dried meal. We typically use Mountain House freeze dried meals (which offer a wide variety of options). These are often shared, as a single package can have near 1000 calories, but it’s hard to eat too much on a polar expedition and after a long day on the trail you might just want it all to yourself.
Finally, a piece of chocolate or a cup of hot cocoa make a great dessert. If you tend to get cold at night add a spoonful of butter to your hot cocoa. It makes it rich and creamy and it will give you the additional calories to keep your body warm during the night.
What are your favorite treats for the trail? Leave a comment and let us know!