Eating Healthy In The Wilderness

Neanderthals, Prehistoric, Mountains

Eating Healthy In The Wilderness

The New Warrior

Today’s new age living has thrust us into the future at incredible speeds . This fast paced living is demanding that we stay healthy and vibrant . Today’s modern citizen warrior must be intelligent , healthy and full of vim and vigor .

To maintain stamina and vigor this new warrior must constantly be feeding is mind and his body . Science is , in many areas , always trying to improve our lives . This is why and how we are evolving as a specie . Our greatest instinct is survival , but being human we are not happy with simple survival – we want to survive with style !

The Struggle To Keep Up

Our constant struggle with the “machines” demands that we be in excellent physical and mental condition . Exercise , and what we eat have become topics of never ending discussion . A large part of our exercise routines are centered in the outdoors and this is the main reason for this resurgence in wilderness activities .

Physical exercise maintains our bodies and also serves to manage the tremendous levels of stress we deal with on a daily basis . This intense , new age living , requires fuel . This fuel is provided by an ever – evolving food science .

How We Got Here

Over the years , through science and experience , we have developed foods for nourishment and comfort . In the beginning , we ate to nourish our bodies and fuel our daily activities . These early efforts were very successful and soon these groups of people evolved into families that would gather around a blazing fire at the end of the day to enjoy their daily bounty .

These meals around the campfire quickly evolved into sumptuous feasts that became more and more complex and refined with the passage of time , the availability of different foods and the improved cooking techniques of this new class of people . This was the beginnings of ” comfort food” .

Gluttony and obesity were not far behind . These new conditions were not caused by the foods that were being consumed , they were caused by over-eating and lack of physical activity – the exact result that is produced today .

Where We Are Today

Today’s family , through science and experimentation , is guided by Food Groups . In Canada , we have developed a system of nutrition based on ” groups ” of foods . This result has produced , – The 4 Food Groups .

The 4 Food Groups

Vegetables and Fruit

Without getting overly involved in the science of Nutrition , we now know that Fruits and Vegetables contain the vitamins , minerals and many other beneficial substances that promote good health . Examples of Fruit from this group include apples , oranges , bananas and plums . Vegetables would include carrots , potatoes , broccoli and cauliflower . The varieties of Fruits and Vegetables , worldwide are just too numerous to name and classify .

Grain Products

Grain products provide carbohydrates for energy and whole grains are a source of fiber and usually low in fats . They also contain many vitamins and minerals conducive to good health . Grain products include wheat , rice , barley and oats . Breads and Pastas belong to this group . Corn , Quinoa , Bulgur and Rye are other examples .

Milk Products

This Food Group includes Milk and Dairy products such as cheese , yogurt , cream , kefir and butter . In Canada , many Milk Products are required to be fortified with Vitamin D , which is promoted as being essential to good bone health .

The Meats Group

This Food Group includes Meat , Fish , Poultry and Shellfish . Beef , Chicken , Salmon , Wild Game , Turkey and Pork are other members of this group . Oysters and Clams are also part of this group . This is considered the Protein Group . This Group also includes Nuts and Lentils .

Fats and Oils

For the sake of simplicity , I am leaving the Fats and Oils in their respective Groups . Vegetable Oils in the Fruits and Vegetable Group , Fish Oils in the Meat Group , Animal Fats in the Meat Group and Butter in Milk and Dairy . Same principles apply for Juices , Ciders and other Beverages .


Water is in a class by itself . Water is essential for humans . Without water , we cannot survive . It provides no calories or organic nutrients yet it is essential for life . Its importance for life is without argument and not part of this Food Group discussion . Having said that , in the short term , – Water IS more important than Food .

How I Plan My Meals for Wilderness Adventures

Here are some of the factors I consider when Planning Meals for my wilderness activities .

  1. number of days , how many days will you be spending on this excursion .
  2. number of meals per day , I plan 3 meals and 3 snacks/meals
  3. number of people in the party or group
  4. the season of the year
  5. distance traveled and method of travel
  6. cooking methods , open fire / liquid fuel / compressed gas
  7. geography , flat land / mountains / rivers
  8. can I hunt , fish or gather to add to my food supply
  9. when long distance is a factor , I will cache food to have on my return
  10. this will enable you to carry an accurate amount of food for the time that you are away .

Other Factors To Consider

In addition to the above , I recommend that you plan Your meals around the foods that you normally eat . Experimenting with new food ideas is not good practice if you are a few days away from your vehicle or some other form of civilization .

Another consideration is whether you will be sharing meals or if meals are per person only . This is all part of planning and preparation . Camping and Backpacking or Fishing and Hunting with family and friends all requires some form of compromise .

You do not want to spend 3 or 4 days eating something that your friend loves to eat but that you just can’t stomach . I am a Meat-Eater , and yet I have spent 8 grueling days and nights in the mountains with a – Vegetarian – in rain , snow , hail , wind and sunshine – sometimes ALL in the same day !

Many foods can be shared , however if you have allergies to certain foods this should be part of your plans , supplies and considerations . By creating your meals from these Food Groups , you will be assured the proper nutrition to maintain good health and energy to participate in all of your life activities , whether they are at home or in the wilderness .

Vehicle , Boat or Carrying It On Your Back

Camping from a vehicle at a Recreational Camp Site and by Kayak or Canoe will have different weight allowances than if you are backpacking in the mountains . Simplicity should always enter into the equation . Remember that the lighter you travel and the less complicated you make your life , the greater your degree of enjoyment and relaxation will be .

I welcome all your comments and suggestions . Please visit again for my other blogs describing actual meal ideas in greater and more exact detail .

Eating Foods for Nutrition and Comfort is a very personal exercise . Whether you are a Meat-Eater , Vegetarian or Vegan – Food Science is very well described and extensive . Be aware of your body’s reaction to the foods you eat . Eat enough , but do not eat to much . Educate yourself to eat well .

Expensive does not necessarily mean better . Proper nutrition combined with regular exercise is a proven combination . Eat well so that you can enjoy all the beauty and wonder that this planet has to offer .

4 thoughts on “Eating Healthy In The Wilderness”

  1. It is a pure energy bar for survival. Made from glucose flavoured with peppermint oil. Edmund Hillary and his team carried Romney’s Kendal Mint Cake with them on the first successful ascent of Mount Everest in 1953. “We sat on the snow and looked at the country far below us … we nibbled ‘Kendal Mint Cake.’ A member of the successful Everest expedition wrote – ‘It was easily the most popular item on our high altitude ration – our only criticism was that we did not have enough of it.’

    It has been taken on many famous expeditions. The Kendal Mint Cake is also a standard part of the 24-hour ration pack issued to the Irish Defence Forces. The origin of the cake was supposed to be from a batch of peppermint creams that went wrong, were left overnight and solidified in the morning. Ches

    • Thanks for that story Ches .

      Sir Edmond Hillary was one of my early childhood Heroes . I was introduced to him by my mother who was a voracious reader .

      She introduced me to the world of books , but more importantly … she taught me how to read . Thank you for bringing this wonderful story to my website .


  2. If only I were a tad younger, this is just the kind of adventure I would like to be a part of. Planning all your food, equipment, water and other necessities, for me, would be part of the enjoyment.
    I sincerely hope that you will give us the lowdown when you embark on your trips into the wilderness.
    Have you heard of Kendal Mint Cake? It used to be a mainstay of climbers and mountaineers, perhaps it still is. It comes from Kendal in Cumbria in the UK and is a great source of energy.
    Eating with regards to nutrition is so important but more so when you’re miles from home and vulnerable to nature and unknown possible incidences! The mind as well as the body needs to be in good fettle. Great post and look forward to reading any forthcoming adventures! Ches

    • You’re never too old for an adventure Ches !

      Your understanding of food as fuel , the equipment required , and the planning that is necessary , for wilderness treks , is already more than many ” younger ” adventurers have knowledge of .

      Thanks for introducing me to Kendal Mint Cake . I am not familiar with this ” Energy Bar ” , but I will be researching this food in the near future . What exactly , is this food bar made of and how did you find out about it ?

      On long , arduous trips , calorie and food value – to weight ratio , are very important !

      I look forward to my next wilderness outing so that I can relate this to you and show you that you are quite capable of these .


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