Appalachian Trail food: What we'll be eating for 6 months
Hiking an average of 12.5 miles a day for 6 months whilst wearing a backpack is not easy and will require a lot of energy. At least double the amount of energy we consume currently. For a female, that's 4,000 calories. For a male, that's 5,000.
Carrying food means carrying extra weight on our backs, so we need to consider efficiency. That means we need lightweight high-calorie foods with lightweight packaging. Unfortunately, this rules out most fruit and vegetables; they're just too heavy and won't provide enough energy. Some people will spend ages dehydrating their food in preparation for the Appalachian Trail and will mail it ahead to different post offices along the route. We don't have a dehydrator though, and can't carry that much food produce on our flight to America.
We also have the added challenge of finding vegetarian meals that will provide enough protein. We gave up eating meat in September 2017 and with the exception of Christmas day when Chris ate a lot of gammon and turkey, neither of us have touched meat for months. Obviously Georgia and the surrounding states are well known for their amazing BBQ. We are still undecided whether we will allow ourselves the occasional meat-eating day. I guess we'll see what happens when we're faced with the delicious smell of brisket and ribs... Mostly though, we will be buying and cooking our own food to save money, so will not be eating at restaurants very often.
Here's what we'll be eating on an average day:
As you can see, it's all very brown and not very interesting.
Fortunately for us, Jimmy Joy, a nutritional food company, have agreed to team up with us. (Yay! Some colour!) They will be sending us some of their Plenny Shakes to have as meal replacements and some Twenny Bars for extra protein. You can watch us opening our first box here. These will provide all the daily vitamins, minerals and nutrients we will need and will allow us to get the extra calories we need in our diets. Our plan is to mix a shake every morning and drink this as we walk so that our energy levels don't dip between meals. Hopefully this will help us to feel healthy and energised throughout our thru-hike.
As for drinks, we will mostly be drinking water (at least 2 litres a day) and will add re-hydration salts or energy powders as required. American supermarkets often sell little packets of flavouring for drinks, which will be a nice treat if we're getting fed up of spring water. All water will be filtered from natural water sources along the trail; mostly creeks, springs and rivers. Neither of us enjoy a morning without coffee, so we will buy some fairly cheap coffee for the mornings. This is probably considered unnecessary weight, but we need to have some luxuries! Of course, our Plenny Shakes will also be drunk during the day, but they're quite thick so not particularly thirst-quenching.
If you have any good trail recipes, please feel free to share in the comments below!