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Pack Light Meals


In preparing for a long trek, when it comes to food ‘Go light.’ One of the difficulties in preparing for a long trekking expedition is selecting enough food to bring while keeping the weight down. Nowadays, we are lucky compared to climbers of earlier days, it is so much easier to go light. Climbers in advanced economies are, of course, luckier in that they have a very wide selection of pre-packed, ready-to-eat meals available. Those in the less developed economies have to do with less (obviously), but going light without going hungry is still very possible even for those living far from urban centers.

Choose ready-to-eat meals, or those that require only boiled water, or at most require minimal cooking. Instant noodles, instant lugaw (rice porridge), instant champorado (glutinous rice porridge in cocoa), even instant rice are now commercially available. Ready-to-eat preserved meats, squid and fish flesh are available in urban centers. An added advantage of these items are that they can be eaten off the package in tight, no-time-to-cook situations. The instant noodles and rice are pre-cooked before dehydration, their cellulose broken down, thus making these easily digestible even without further cooking. Buy in small packs, and re-pack to reduce volume (you do not need all those throw-away containers).

For variety, and for those far from urban centers, go for longanisa (ground pork packed in dried pork intestinal membrane), pork or beef tapa (preserved and dried meats), tocino (meats preserved in nitrates) and tinapa (smoke-dried fish). To further minimize cooking time (and save on camp fuel), pre-cook these at home. And to minimize the chances of spoilage, pre-apportion these per meal. For pork items, cut out the fat, these are the first to spoil and go rancid (besides, you do not need the cholesterol). Salted eggs and century eggs do not require cooking at all, you only have to pack these such that these are protected from breakage.

To ensure that you get enough vitamins, minerals and micro-nutrients even as you skimp on weight, bring multi-vitamins to take every morning. And, if your budget will allow, bring powdered protein preparations (e.g. Herbalife NPD, Ensure, Glucerna for diabetics, etc) to drink with your breakfast. Remember to pre-apportion these.

To protect against cramps due to loss of body electrolytes, bring along powdered mixes (Gatorade or the like, if available, or Extra-Joss) to fortify your trail drinking water. A cheaper alternative is to mix a tablet of Hydrite in a liter of trail water (and it tastes similar to coco-water too!).