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October 2020 Issue
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Stretching your sustenance

Dehydrated fruits can be added to savoury meals. Photo: Matthew Cattin

Bulk up your tramping meals without breaking your back with these lightweight food additions. 

Sometimes a simple pasta isn’t enough to satisfy after a hard day’s slog, and there is little worse than a grumbling tummy for company in a cold hut. Before you rethink your entire meal plan, however, it’s worth considering how you can add sustenance to your meals.

A good egg

‘If you’ve got an egg, you’ve got a meal’ is one of my mother’s favourite sayings. Why? Because it was one of her mother’s most used phrases, as she raised seven kids on a budget. For nutritional value, eggs are hard to beat, and are packed with protein, iron and vitamins. Brave trampers may like to carry them raw, but hard-boiled or powdered eggs are a safer option for transport. Throw them into your pasta, fried rice, wraps or atop your dehydrated meal for a boost.

Pack protein

High protein foods make you feel full by reducing hunger hormones and boosting peptide YY, a hormone which generates feelings of fullness. While it’s important to consume a balanced meal, including fats and carbohydrates, adding protein will work wonders for that late night tummy rumble. Meat is perhaps the most widely recognised protein source, but unless preserved or tinned, it doesn’t travel well. By following the lead of vegetarians, however, trampers can discover a number of alternative pack-friendly protein sources. Seitan is a gluten-based savoury meat substitute that’s extremely high in protein. It works well pan-fried and flavoured.

Nutritional yeast is sold as powder or flakes, and is often used by vegans as a cheese substitute. It works well in the place of cheese – sprinkled over pasta or in toasties. Soybeans are a versatile protein source that provide the body with all of the amino acids it needs. Tofu and edamame beans are excellent soy products for trampers, though seasoning is essential as they taste bland on their own. Quinoa is a bland but versatile protein source that can be added to just about any meal.

Go nuts

Nuts are excellent sources of protein, fibre and monounsaturated fat, and though they likely make up a portion of your snacking rations, they’re also a great bolsterer of meals. Ground cashews are used often in Indian cuisine, and can breathe new life into a camp curry or rice dish. Ground or sliced almonds are a perfect addition to couscous or mediterranean cuisine and also work well in porridge.

Try dehy

Few trampers have access to a home dehydrator, but there are plenty of options available at the supermarket to spice up your meal. Instant potato mash tastes almost as good as the real deal – especially when paired with a sachet of instant gravy – and dehydrated peas, corn and shiitake mushrooms provide plenty of filler for very little packweight. Dehydrated fruits – especially prunes, cranberries and apricots – work especially well in savoury meals, and may be just what the doctor ordered after a few days
of carbo-loading.