Jul 2, 2010 at 6:05 pm #1260777
I am working on my menu for a 16 day trip into the John Muir Wilderness this summer. I have been figuring out my calories for all my food and getting a rough idea of what my intake is. My intake is roughly around 2,000 calories a day but I think I should have more. Here is the general food I eat. I was hoping I could get some tips on how to tweak my menu to increase the calories and if possible cut weight.
fiber 1 bar
mac + cheese
dried pinto beans
dried black beans
instant mashed potatoes
Textured soy protien
dark chocolate peanut m+ms
Those are the main things I make my meals with. I dont each things every day…but I do try to get a type of meat protien like tuna, chicken or salami in with each lunch and dinner.
Any ideas of how I can boostr up my calories without alot of weight?
does 3,000 calories/day sound about right?
thanks!Jul 2, 2010 at 7:07 pm #1625866
"I was hoping I could get some tips on how to tweak my menu to increase the calories and if possible cut weight."
I'd consider adding Nido full fat powdered milk at 152 calories/30 gram serving to your breakfast, along with some nuts at 170-200 calories/oz depending on the nut. For lunch maybe add some olive oil to the hummus along with a half ounce of ground toasted hazelnuts. That ounce and a half willadd ~340 calories. For dinner, again think olive oil, or some other vegetable oil in the main dish, nuts again(there are lots of different choices to avoid boredom), and also a good 70-80% cocoa mass chocolate bar that would provide 160 or so calories/oz. Just a few suggestions. There are plenty of others along this line that I'm sure other posters will recommend.Jul 3, 2010 at 4:26 am #1625928
James D BuchParticipant
There are four "Macronutrients" with differing calorie contents.
Fat – ……… 9 Calories/gm or 255 Calories per Ounce
Carbohydrates – 4 Cal/gm….. or 113 Cal per oz
Proteins -….- 4 Cal/gm …. or 113 Cal per oz
Alcohols – …5 to 7 Cal/gm or ..142 to 197 Cal/oz
I have an Excel spreadsheet of this:
Calories per oz 7500 plus foods.xls 1.3 Megs
and a PDF as well:
Calories per oz 7500 plus foods.pdf 0.62 Megs
If it is possible to post it to the board, I would like to know how because it is valuable information in a useful form.
If you PM me with your email, I'll send you copies.
The benefit of this data is that you don't have to read anything about nutrition.
And, it directly answers your questions on finding lots of calories in food with little weight.
Here is a shorter list of backpacking type foods arranged by Calories Per Ounce.
http://fizisist.web.cern.ch/fizisist/adventures_in_nature/caloriesperouncechart.docJul 3, 2010 at 5:16 am #1625933
To the extent your stomach can stomach:
1) Add olive oil to anything possible.
2) Peanut butter.
I ran into a PCT thru hiker last year and asked her what she was eating. Her answer, peanut butter. When asked on what she replied. Anything and just plain out of the jar.Jul 3, 2010 at 3:28 pm #1626022
"To the extent your stomach can stomach:
1) Add olive oil to anything possible.
2) Peanut butter.
5) A variety of nutsJul 3, 2010 at 9:44 pm #1626102
@zackcenturyLocale: Great Lakes
some might disagree, but egg yolks and a few brazil nuts can replace all the proteinaceous food in your list. Ideally the yolks would be raw, but dried is more practical for this type of trip. These both have quite a bit of fat and will add calories without taking much space/weight.
If I were to run a trail, I'd probably have a shake blended with peanut butter, OJ, and tomato paste…just saying…
and I would also recommend olive oil as others have said, or maybe even coconut pieces or coconut oil, which could stay solid if the temperature is cool enough.Jul 3, 2010 at 10:12 pm #1626107
@dirk9827Locale: Pacific Northwest
I honestly think that a lot of people pack food they don't find appealing – oh, it has plenty of nutrition or calories, but they find it completely unpalatable after a weekon the trail. You have a great variety of foods – I probably would shy away from carrying tuna, but that's because it has a strong scent and I find for some reason that I grow really tired of it quickly. THat much said, packed in oil, that's a good deal of calories.
Along with olive oil, peanut butter,you might try nutella. 2 tbsp has 110 calories and 3 grams of protein, for what it's worth. Fig Newtons are pretty tasty as well. Two cookies have 110 calories or so.
I guess what you carry it really depends on how much weight you are willing during the trip. Are you planning to resupply along the trail?
DirkJul 4, 2010 at 12:35 pm #1626181
Hey all…thanks for the great advice! I would love to get a copy of that list of foods with all the calories and stuff listed. I am def gonna add olive oil to my food!
As to the last question, I wont be having a food drop, so thats why I am trying to get some good calorie dense food with as little weight as possible. There are two of us going, and I am trying to keep the food under 20lbs per person for the full 17 days.
Are there any foods I listed that you would recommend not bringing?Jul 4, 2010 at 12:56 pm #1626190
Take some bacon bits and mix in with mashed potatoes or mac and cheese. Everything is better with bacon.Jul 4, 2010 at 4:16 pm #1626214
"There are two of us going, and I am trying to keep the food under 20lbs per person for the full 17 days."
I think you may be a bit on the light side for a trip of that length with 20 pounds of food for 17 days(~1# 2 oz/day). Have you considered trying to bulk up a bit before going, by which I mean putting on 3-4 pounds of body fat. It is a technique I have used for the last 4 years and I find it enables me to get by with 1# 4 oz of food/day and return from a 10 day trip back down to my normal body weight, or maybe a pound lighter if the trip has been unusually strenuous. Even at 150 calories/oz 18 oz of food will provide only 2700 calories and almost certainly leave you short of adequate carbs and protein, a serious concern on a trip of 17 days.Jul 4, 2010 at 4:38 pm #1626219
Tom wrote: "I think you may be a bit on the light side for a trip of that length with 20 pounds of food for 17 days(~1# 2 oz/day)."
Dan hasn't told us how big he and his partner are, or how hard they intend to hike, so there's no way for us to know how many calories they need.Jul 4, 2010 at 4:57 pm #1626223
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
Dan hasn't told us how big he and his partner are, or how hard they intend to hike, so there's no way for us to know how many calories they need.
True – however most people carry more than 1 lb 2 oz per day regardless of how big they are, or how hard they intend to hike. I have always found that calculations for calories needed seem to come out very high and I just go for 1.5 to 1.75 lbs of food per day and try and get 125 to 150 cal per oz.
Ghee is an alternative way of adding to your fat content. I have also started to use almond butter instead of peanut butter.Jul 4, 2010 at 5:16 pm #1626225
Jason wrote: "True – however most people carry more than 1 lb 2 oz per day regardless of how big they are, or how hard they intend to hike."
That's not the case for me at all. I carry about 2000 calories/day, which is usually about 1 lb/day. I just did a 3-day trip where I brought that much, and I packed out a ton of food.Jul 4, 2010 at 5:24 pm #1626226
"Dan hasn't told us how big he and his partner are, or how hard they intend to hike, so there's no way for us to know how many calories they need."
I proceed from my own experience, as follows: I weigh 137# and have found from experimentation that I burn ~4200-4400 calories/day derived from a combination of ~2700-2800 calories/day/1# 4 oz of food with the remaining ~1400-1600 calories derived from stored body fat which I pack on before my longer trips. I just ran some numbers on http://www.caloriesperhour.com for backpacking with body weights ranging from 100# to 160# and hiking time of 12 hours. the calorie counts were as follows: 100# body weight = 3810 calories; 120# = 4572 calories; 140# = 5334 calories; 160# = 6096 calories. This roughly correlates with my own experience since I usually hike around 8 hours/day and according to their algorithm I should burn ~3600 calories for that time(.66 x 5334 calories). They do not specify their assumption for pack weight, so there is potential for some inaccuracy there, BTW, but it is in the ball park, IME. I think we can safely assume that Dan doesn't weigh less than 100# and therefore would burn more than 3810 calories, which is far in excess of what he can realistically pack into 18 oz of food, especially given that he is going to be undertaking a fairly ambitious trip with substantial off trail hiking, IIRC. Reducing the amount of hiking time to 8 hours will still put him well above the amount of calories in 18 oz of palatable food. Assuming he weighs 140#, he would have to hike only 6 hours/day to get by on 2700 calories, which can be achieved in 18 oz at a calorie density of 150/oz. Much higher than that and food will become unpalatable and probably unmetabolizable without catabolizing muscle protein over the course of 17 days. This gives me some confidence in questioning whether 18 oz of food would be adequate for a 17 day trip unless he were carrying substantial body fat and the dietary carbs/protein necessary to metabolize it without catabolizing muscle protein.Jul 4, 2010 at 5:26 pm #1626227
"I just did a 3-day trip where I brought that much, and I packed out a ton of food."
Like I said in an earlier thread/post, you can get away with a lot on trips of 2-3 days. 17 days is another matter entirely.Jul 4, 2010 at 5:29 pm #1626228
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
That's not the case for me at all. I carry about 2000 calories/day, which is usually about 1 lb/day. I just did a 3-day trip where I brought that much, and I packed out a ton of food.
That's why I wrote most people. Maybe I should have put some but not all people. Your experience seems unusual to me, but other may disagree. It also seems to me that trip duration makes a big difference, unless a short trip is of very high intensity.Jul 4, 2010 at 6:11 pm #1626230
@tom: As a scientist, I would say that a beautiful theoretical calculation is all very well until it runs up against an ugly empirical fact. Since your calculations are wildly off (by almost a factor of 2) compared to my experience, they clearly aren't applicable to everyone. There is simply no way that I rack up a debt of 2000 calories/day every time go backpacking.
The empirical fact is that you eat 4200-4400 cal/day backpacking, while I eat about 2000. All that proves is that there is at least one variable we're not controlling for. I could make a long list of possible variables. In fact I've already listed two of them, and until we get more info from Dan, it's a waste of time to speculate.Jul 5, 2010 at 3:23 am #1626279
Ben, I'm kind of interested in this. You seem to have a fair handle on how many cals and how much food you need for a 2-3 day trip. It seems a bit light, but correlates fairly well with my experience of the first couple of days of a walk, when my appetite often falls off. I'm wondering how you determine that you don't rack up a large calorie debt over those couple of days.
Is your 2000 cal consistent with what you use in non-BP life?
Regards, RodJul 5, 2010 at 5:15 am #1626284
This all depends a lot on how active you are in your daily life, how high your metabolism is, how much extra fat you carry around, etc, etc, etc.
Ex. I'm 30, 5'8ish, 142ish and eat between 3000 and 3500 clean calories per day in town. This is just slightly under eating for me.
If I tried to go off 2000 cals a day while backpacking I'd lose at least 3 pounds over 7 days and I don't have 3 pounds of body fat to spare so I'd be in trouble.Jul 5, 2010 at 6:59 am #1626291
"Since your calculations are wildly off (by almost a factor of 2) compared to my experience, they clearly aren't applicable to everyone. There is simply no way that I rack up a debt of 2000 calories/day every time go backpacking."
Since you're a scientist, why don't you go out and collect some empirical data that pertains to a trip that extends 17 days, the length of the trip we are discussing here. If you can hike for 17 days, unresupplied, on 2000 calories, we will have something to discuss. I have made it clear everytime I have posted that I am talking about a trip of 17
day and you keep coming back with your experience on trips of 2-3 days. It's an apples and oranges comparison. Your 2-3 day experience simply does not compare to the demands placed on a person's system by a trip of 17 days. You call it speculation, I would say it is based on some fairly solid physiology plus my own experience on 4 trips of 15 days or more where I watched the pounds melt away on myself and those I was backpacking with on a food intake that exceeded 2700 calories/day. It also correlates with the logic employed by Roman Dial, Jason Keck, and Ryan Jordan on the Arctic1000, and Kevin Sawchuck's approach to the Parcour de Wild. What are we all missing, Ben? There is a lot more data/experience to support what I am trying to get across here than what you propose. And speaking of empirical data: How do you know how many calories you burn on those trips? Do you weigh yourself before and after? Do a body fat measurement? All I have heard you say is: "There is simply no way that I rack up a debt of 2000 calories/day every time go backpacking." Supporting empirical evidence?Jul 5, 2010 at 7:41 am #1626300
@derekoakLocale: North of England
It is quite difficult to collect data outside a laboratory of weight loss on short trips 2000 cal deficit /day for 2 days is only one pound of lost fat. That gets lost in whether I am fully hydrated and whether I came home hungry and eat a heavy meal.
Long trips show the truth more easily.Jul 5, 2010 at 10:52 am #1626330
"It is quite difficult to collect data outside a laboratory of weight loss on short trips 2000 cal deficit /day for 2 days is only one pound of lost fat."
I agree. However, I think there is a way to establish a basis for evaluating Ben's claim that he uses no more than 2000 calories/day on his 2-3 day trips, by calculating his resting metabolism rate or basal metabolism rate and subtracting it from 2000 calories. The difference will be the calories left to sustain his backpacking activity. I strongly suspect that the number will be too small by any reasonable calculation of the calories required to support backpacking. I ran the numbers over on http://www.caloriesperhour.com for a 5'8" 60 year old male weighing from 130# to 150# and came up with an RMR ranging from 1374 to 1758. This does not leave very many calories to support a strenuous activity such as backpacking. They also have an algorithm to calculate hiking uphill with various loads for a varying numer of hours. I ran the numbers for the same weight and height with a backpack weighing 10-20#, a typical BPL load, for 8 hours. The results were as follows: 130# hiker = 3538 calories; 150# hiker = 4082 calories. I am sure the numbers are not 100% accurate, and individuals do vary for a number of reasons, but they are highly likely to be in the ball park, IMO, especially in the absence of data indicating otherwise. They also correlate with my own experience in the field for longer trips of 15-17 days, FWIW. I leave it to Ben to contribute further, perhaps starting with his actual RMR/BMR rate.Jul 5, 2010 at 11:58 am #1626345
Yikes….I seemed to have hit a sweet spot of controversy for backpacking. To help answer some of the questions….I am 5'7'' and 155lbs and my friend is about 5'10'' and about the same weight. The hiking we are doing will b strenuous, but not crazy. Half the trail will be half off trail, with a few passes mixed in. We only do MAX 10 miles a day cause we like to get alot of fishing in. BAsed on that….how many calories do you think we would be burning??Jul 5, 2010 at 1:42 pm #1626381
@tom: I don't claim that I'm right and you're wrong. I don't claim that my experience on 3-day trips is valid for longer trips. I'm simply claiming that there are half a dozen uncontrolled variables here (trip length being one of them), and since you can't account for them, you're just spinning your wheels by trying to calculate things theoretically.
Rod wrote: "It seems a bit light, but correlates fairly well with my experience of the first couple of days of a walk, when my appetite often falls off. I'm wondering how you determine that you don't rack up a large calorie debt over those couple of days."
I think it's very difficult, outside the context of a experimental physiology ward, for anyone to know in any quantitative detail what anyone's metabolism is doing. But it seems to me that if my body was burning 4000 cal/day for three days, and I was only eating 2000 cal/day, then I'd probably get hungry as hell. Ask any dieter — your body doesn't just start burning fat without sending your brain some pretty strong hunger signals.
"Is your 2000 cal consistent with what you use in non-BP life?"
I've never counted calories in ordinary life, so I really don't know. I'm a small, skinny guy, so I probably burn less calories than most adult males.
I just spent the morning assembling my resupply shipment for the second half of the JMT, and I learned something that may be relevant here. On previous trips, my diets has been more heavily weighted toward fats. For this package, I restricted myself to proportions of 50-35-15 for calories from carbs, fat, and protein, and this resulted in significantly different food choices than what I normally bring. I have a lot more jerky and granola, a lot less nuts. (I go no-cook.) Since nuts are more energy dense than jerky and granola, the result was to cut the energy density of my food by about 20%.
I'm 140 lb, so I also eat less than most adult males.
These two factors may help to explain why I've typically felt fully satiated with about 1 lb/day of food, whereas a lot of people apparently eat 2 lb/day. I have definitely noticed that when I go backpacking with my father and brother, they eat amounts of food that seem just completely nauseating to me, even taking into account that they both outmass me.
Another uncontrolled variable that probably makes comparisons difficult is that people tend to eat a lot of food immediately before a trip ("Ah, my last real food!") and immediately after ("Hell, I don't want to eat more granola now — I'm having pizza and beer later today!"). Personally I've also included some luxury food in my resupply package that I'll eat immediately rather than packing it out. This is potentially a huge confounding factor.
Dan wrote: "I am 5'7'' and 155lbs and my friend is about 5'10'' and about the same weight. The hiking we are doing will b strenuous, but not crazy. Half the trail will be half off trail, with a few passes mixed in. We only do MAX 10 miles a day cause we like to get alot of fishing in. BAsed on that….how many calories do you think we would be burning??"
Well, it seems clear that my numbers are at the very low end of the range, so it seems to me that we can set a pretty good lower limit. Your body mass is 11% higher than mine, and I eat 2100 cal/day on short trips that aren't very strenuous, so a bare minimum for you would seem to be 2300 cal/day. (This is assuming that you catch zero fish — which I hope won't be the case :-) On the high end, I hear people talking about figures like 5000 cal/day. That doesn't help to narrow it down much, does it? Do you have any data at all on how much you've eaten on past trips? Even if it was just "I went through a Garcia in 7 days," that would give us at least something to go on.Jul 5, 2010 at 2:10 pm #1626388
Well….on past trips I have pretty much kept my meals the same as what I listed, but I have also increase my portions. SO I am trying to cut my portions down to decrease my weight. This will be the longest trip I have done though. Normaly I do about a week long trip so seven days. ON a trip like that I normally have 1 packet oatmeal and a fiber bar for breakfast. Lunch is some hummus, cheese or salami with tortialls and some GORP and a power bar. And for dinner I normaly have a grain such as couscous, quinoa or polenta mixed with dried refried beans and a source of protein like chicken, tuna or trout. For 2 people I cook about 1/3cup dried of a grain and a 1/3 cup dried of the beans. And ill throw a light handfull of TSP into. Ill eat it with two small corn tortillas each. It seems to fill me up just fine and I am never hungry at the end of the day. I just wana make sure I will be able to sustain on that for 17 days. On a side note…we are open to loosing some weight on the trip….so we can def burn a little more than we are taking in.
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