A version of this article originally appeared on adventurer Maddy Marquardt’s blogHello Stranger. For more of Maddy’s tips and advice, be sure to visit Hello Stranger and keep up with Maddy’s travels by following her Instagram.
Preparing meals when you’re busy is hard. It’s super tempting to duck into the convenience store or buy fast food before a hike, but not only does that cost more money, it contributes to single use plastics out on trail, which may eventually become litter.
Rather than swing by the store before your next hike, swap that single use plastic for a reusable container, and spend less than 10 minutes preparing your meal before you walk out the door!
My favorite no-cook trail recipes and snacks are easy, full of protein, will last all day in your pack, and are most importantly, delicious!
Here are some easy meal prep ideas to get you out on trail faster:
Recipe One: Homemade Trail Mix
One of the best things you can have with you on long hikes is trail mix. A perfect trail mix combines protein (nuts), carbohydrates & salt (pretzels), and something sweet (chocolate!). Personally, trail mix is always in my pack whether I’m on a long hike or long paddle!
Ingredients for Easy Trail Mix:
- Chocolate Chips
- Chocolate Covered Peanuts
- Cashews (optional)
- Raisins (optional)
- Banana chips (optional)
Trail mix is an easy and delicious make ahead camping recipe that takes less than 10 minutes to prep. Carrying your trail mix in a reusable container not only reduces your environmental impact by cutting single use plastic, but also reduces your chances of accidentally littering on trail, and is more critter-resistant than a plastic bag.
For preparing trail mix, I opt for a Neat Stack food storage container for a mess resistant and airtight seal. Choosing reusable food storage containers can help you reduce your plastic waste on trail, and provides the option to carry back leftover food to reduce food waste.
Recipe Two: Hummus and Pita Lunch
My favorite trail lunch is a classic twist on Mediterranean, a hummus and pita sandwich! Pita or naan bread will provide your carbs, while hummus is a great source of protein. This set-up is a perfect make ahead camping meal for any hiker!
Ingredients for Hummus and Pita:
- Pita or Naan bread, cut in half
- Green onions for taste
- Red Pepper hummus
- Lunch meat (optional)
A hummus and pita lunch takes about 10 minutes to prep before you leave, and is both filling and healthy. Add lunch meat, feta, or a side of kalamata olives for more taste/protein, and enjoy this easy no-cook meal for hikers!
For this lunch, I use aNeat Stack food storage container paired with aPocket Utensil Set by ZOKU. The food storage containers prevent my bread from getting soggy. After I finish eating, the pocket utensil set makes it easy and mess free to carry back my dirty dishes!
This means reduced food waste on trails, and reduced impact of potential food waste/waste water from dishwashing.
Recipe Three: Fresh/Frozen Berry Dessert
Dessert doesn’t have to be unhealthy! My favorite trail dessert is locally-sourced berries, either fresh or frozen, sprinkled with sugar. Frozen berries make for a sweet and healthy treat on the trail, and will give you that bit of sugar without slowing you down.
Ingredients for trail desert:
- local berries, fresh or frozen
- 1 tablespoon of sugar, sprinkled on top before leaving
A frozen trail dessert like berries can make any hot day a little more comfortable. Sweet berries will help you feel more hydrated, and frozen berries can also be added to your water to use as frozen ice cubes, for a sweet berry tea! Frozen berries are a great place to start for a variety of easy meal prep ideas!
For this meal, I use aneat stack food container and apocket utensil set by ZOKU. The neat stack helps me keep my frozen berries frozen even on the hottest days, and the pocket utensils help keep the sticky sugar off my hands and gear.
Make ahead camping meals are an excellent substitute for fast food and single use plastics and can help you reduce waste. Spend just ten minutes on a make ahead camping meal for healthier food that will last longer in your packand reduce the amount of single use plastics that make it out on trails to begin with.
Get out there, and happy hiking!