When planning a past backpacking trip, my husband and I perused the food aisle in our local outdoor store in search of vegetarian camp food. The shelf was stocked with the mainstream commercial brands. Curiously, we picked up several meal varieties and read the ingredients. The label listed all sorts of unrecognizable chemicals — toxins, perhaps? Yikes. Images of giant factory machines chugging out and injecting preservatives, vitamin additives, taste enhancers, stabilizers, and other chemicals into the food danced in our head. We wondered how many years each could sit idle on a shelf, yet remain as an identifiable food particle once opened.
Seasoning variety without a triple dose of sodium?
A packaged collection of chemically reduced freeze-dried crumbs soaring in sodium is not an appealing meal to many of us. Moreover, food fancied into a glitzy package is not only annoying, but wasteful. We cringed, tossed the items back on the shelf, and never looked back.
As vegetarians, our food options are often limited — and even more so as vegans. And finding vegetarian, minimally-processed camp food (preferably with organic ingredients) is quite a struggle. As most vegetarians, we are health-conscious and remain committed to eating healthy both indoors and outdoors. Sure there are better meal options at places like Trader Joe’s, but the selection is still quite limited, the meal portions inadequate, and the packaging is not suited for trail portability.
Fat-free – No thanks!
As outdoor recreationists, we understand that energy content, packaging weight, and waste are all important considerations when choosing food. We don’t want to consume food designed for a quick, energy sugar spike that leaves us dragging later. And most of us aren’t seeking low fat, fat free, sugar free, reduced carb either. Instead, we favor practical, lightweight, nutrient dense (high calorie) meals with a carb-protein-fat combination that will steadily fuel us to complete our adventure.
Of course it is essential that the food taste good!
After all, we earn our hunger and deserve to celebrate by relaxing in camp and eating a delightful and fulfilling meal. Unsurprisingly, it was a challenge to find wholesome meals that matched all these preferences. We tested products and recipes to devise tasty combination’s.
We wonder “how many other people are out there struggling with the same dilemma and don’t have the time or interest in food preparation?” We would like to know what you think.