One of the hardest aspects of Backpacking is the food. How to prepare it and how to cook it are all problems. But a bigger problem most would-be Backpackers face is, 'What to Bring'. Bringing too much takes up so much room and slows us down, only to be forced to sit and watch as good food turns bad. Bringing too little is a completely different danger : starvation. Here are the tools you need to create your own Week-Long Meal Plan. The ideas are flexible so you can pick and choose what you like to create a tasty, nutritious, and effective meal plan for you and your fellow Backpackers. 

A Meal Plan is a balancing act. We need enough calories so we have energy, but we need the right nutrition so stay healthy to keep going. We must balance the weight of our food while still bring enough so we don't starve. We also need foods that can be prepared without a lot of time, energy, or cooking supplies. Breaking down foods into bags and small storage containers before Backpacking is a great idea for saving room and making preparation that much easier.

In general we want about 1.5 to 2.5 pounds of food. Generally 2 pounds of food is going to give us 3,500 calories, which is about where we want to be. If you are going to be hiking harder paths then you will probably want 4,000 calories or more. Either way most days should consist of 3 meals and 4 snacks. 

Example Breakfasts

2 Packs Instant Oatmeal 
1 Mini-box of Dried Fruit
1 100 calorie bag of nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts)
1 Small Energy Bar
Instant Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate
Approximate Weight: .5 Pounds
Approximate Calories : 700

1 Cup Granola
¼ Cup Powdered Milk
1 Mini-box of Dried Fruit
1 Small container of Peanut Butter
Instant Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate
Approximate Weight: .5 Pounds
Approximate Calories: 800

1 Freeze Dried Breakfast Skillet
2 Medium Flour or Wheat Tortillas
Instant Coffee, Tea, or Hot Chocolate
Approximate Weight: .6 Pounds
Approximate Calories: 900

Other things you can include for a Breakfast are Bagels, Nut Butters, Little Snack Cakes, Dry Cereal, Instant Cream of Wheat, and other Freeze Dried Meals. 

Example Lunches

2 Medium Flour or Wheat Tortillas 
1 Small container of Peanut Butter
1 Mini-box of Dried Fruit1 Drink Mix of your choice or Water
Approximate Weight: .3 Pounds
Approximate Calories: 600

2 Medium Flour or Wheat Tortillas
2 String Cheeses
2 Pieces of Jerky
1 Drink Mix of your choice or Water
Approximate Weight: .6 Pounds
Approximate Calories: 700

12 Wheat or baked Crackers
1 pouch of Tuna or Chicken
2 Mayonnaise Packets 
1 Mustard Packet
1 Relish Packet
1 Drink Mix of your choice or Water
Approximate Weight: .6 Pounds
Approximate Calories: 550

Other things you can include for Lunches are Bagels with Jerky and spread, Crackers with Hummus, Mixed vegetables with Hummus, Tuna or Chicken pouches with Tortillas, or other Freeze Dried Meals. 

Example Dinners

1 Freeze Dried Lasagna (with Meat Sauce) meal
1 Medium Flour or Wheat Tortilla
1 Fruit Pie
1 Tea or Hot Chocolate Drink Mix
Approximate Weight: 1 Pound
Approximate Calories: 1,100

1 Bag Pasta Alfredo or Pesto (Only needing boiling water)
1 Pouch Chicken
1 Tea or Hot Chocolate Drink Mix
Approximate Weight: 1 Pound
Approximate Calories: 800

1 Bag Instant Couscous
1 Pouch Tuna
1 Medium Flour or Wheat Tortilla
1 Tea or Hot Chocolate Drink Mix
Approximate Weight: .8 Pounds
Approximate Calories: 900

Other things you can include for Dinners are Instant Mashed Potatoes with Jerky, Hummus with a pouch of chicken on a Tortilla, Macaroni and Cheese with Jerky or pouch of chicken, or other Freeze Dried Meals.

There are many, many different snacks you can bring with you for quick nutrition and calories. Some you have already seen as parts of meals, like Jerky or Dried Fruit. Others include : Breakfast Bars, Energy Bars, Nuts and Fruit Packs, Candy Bars, Cookies, Trail Mix, Granola Bars, and mixed nuts. 

Here you have a varied mix of different meals, snacks, and drinks that will help you create your own Week-Long Meal plan. Remember, as long as you have around 2 pounds of food and 3,500 calories you are going to be healthy and strong as you Backpack. Plan 3 Meals a day, 4 Snacks, and 2 Drinks that are not water. With this simple plan you will have delicious and nutritious meals that won't slow you down or let you down.