Your guide to lightweight high energy food

The Best Lightweight High Energy Food

The type of food you take on adventures depends on the length of your trip and personal preference. If you are planning a multi-day hike or strenuous expedition, then high energy lightweight food is a must. Your body needs adequate calories and fuel to keep going. Many adventurers go by the idea that food is fuel, choosing food sources based on calorific content rather than taste or nutritional value.

Another important factor to consider is how easy it is to prepare the food. Will you need a stove? Will it take a long time to cook and use up a lot of gas? Does it need to be refrigerated? Can it be cooked in one pot? We’ve made it easier for you to decide what food to take with you on your next trip. Taking into consideration weight, energy, nutritional value, and ease-of-preparation, our list below gives you an idea of good high-calorie lightweight food and snack options.

Dehydrated foods

Dehydrated staple foods such as rice, pasta, instant potato, and oats are incredibly valuable food sources when choosing lightweight food that is high in energy. These carbohydrates are cheap, non-perishable, lightweight, widely available and easy to cook. You can often buy sachets of rice and pasta with powdered sauce. It’s also easy to combine these with tomato puree, spices, tinned fish or vegetables to make a delicious camp meal.

Great staple carbs:
Instant mashed potato
Bachelor’s Pasta ‘n’ Sauce
Knorr Risotto Italian Rice
Quaker Oats

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are not only high energy but also rich in many essential fatty acids and protein. Trail mixes with a combination of nuts, seeds and dried fruit are ideal as snacks to sustain you on the go. They taste good and contain a mix of nutritional ingredients such as iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Nuts and seeds also have a high shelf life and don’t require any preparation. Be careful to choose an unsalted version so as not to end up dehydrated.

Great nuts and seeds:
Omega seed mix
High Octane Energy Mix
East End Cashew Nuts

Dried fruits

When you think of dried fruits, you probably picture the humble raisin. But the fact is that there are lots of other tasty dried fruits available for a much-needed burst of sugar and vitamins on the trail. High in fibre and nutrients and less perishable than fresh fruits, they are an ideal source of high-energy food.

Great dried fruits:
Happy Belly Banana Chips
Whole Food Markets Organic Mango Strips
Tree of Life Dried Sweetened Cranberries

Sweets and jellies

Although they’re not exactly ‘nutritious’ due to their high content of refined sugar, sweets and jellies provide a sugar-kick that is sometimes needed to get you to the top of that mountain. They shouldn’t be relied upon for sustained energy, but we recommend keeping a stash of sugary treats in your rucksack in case of emergency.

Great sweets and jellies:
Maynards Bassetts Jelly Babies
Hartleys Strawbery Jelly
Haribo Goldbears

Energy bars

As the name suggests, energy bars are designed to provide as much energy as possible. There are many bars on the market that have been adapted to contain as much protein and long-lasting energy as possible. Energy bars make a great breakfast on days when you don’t want to cook your oats.

Great energy bars:
Nature Valley Protein Cereal Bars
Sci-MX Nutrition Pro2Go Duo Bar
Eat Natural Bar

Nut butters

There is something incredibly indulgent about diving into a jar of peanut butter with a spork. Nut butters are high in fats, protein, and energy. There are lots more varieties of nut butters than just peanut butter. We recommend choosing a nut butter in a plastic pot or decanting it to avoid carrying a heavy glass jar.

Great nut butters:
Meridian Crunchy Peanut Butter
Pip & Nut Almond Butter
Biona Organic Milk Chocolate Hazel Spread

Freeze dried meals

Freeze dried meals are often the most nutritious option for lightweight high energy food. Although one of the pricier options, they are easy to prepare and specially created as high energy meals for explorers. There is little better than a hot and tasty meal before climbing into your sleeping back at the end of a hard day adventuring. There are also usually plenty of options available if you’re vegetarian or have other specific dietary requirements.

Great Freeze dried backpacking meals:
Expedition Foods Spaghetti Bolognese
Trekmates Mince Beef Hotpot
Wayfayrer Chicken Tikka & Rice Meal Pouch
Firepot Porcini Mushroom Risotto

That’s all folks

We hope you enjoyed this roundup of lightweight, high energy foods. Whether you’re climbing a mountain or just going out for a hike in your local area, there are plenty of options available for when you get hungry out on the trail. Don’t forget to check out the rest of our blog for more hints, tips and gear reviews!

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