115781-425x282-Backpacking_dinnerWith plenty more summer weekends coming up, one of my favorite ways to relax, hang out with friends, and fit in a bit of exercise is to go camping and backpacking. Sometimes when we go, we will get a campsite or cabin which allows us to go car campingand bring an assortment of different gluten-free foods for meals and snacks. However when we go backpacking, it is important to only carry essentials in order to not get weighed down; it is a delicate balance between not carrying enough and carrying the right amount of food to keep you full and energized.

Here are some of my favorite products:

  1. Larabars - They come in a variety of flavors like Blueberry Muffin, Peanut Butter Cookie, and Chocolate Chip Brownie and are deliciously gluten-free and kosher. They only use no more than nine unprocessed ingredients in each bar and they last for 12 months. The Larabars without chocolate are also vegan and vegetarian as well as dairy- and soy-free. They’re perfect for hiking because they are small, lightweight and give you an enormous amount of energy, perfect for breakfast or a snack. Plus they are moist and very chewy.
  2. Corn Tortillas – Any brand will do though my favorite is Mission. They are perfect for making a quick sandwich (with cheese and meat) or for making a quesadilla for dinner (add beans, cheese and melt together on a pan over a small fire). For a quick snack, you can also bring a small container of hummus as a dip for your corn tortilla and even throw in some carrot sticks and cucumber pieces (easy to keep cool on a small ice pack).
  3. Trail Mix – Don’t bother with expensive mixes that could be cross-contaminated, just make your own! Some of my favorite ingredients are gluten-free granola, sunflower seeds, pumpkins seeds, coconut, peanuts, and dried fruits (apple, pineapple, cranberry and apricot). If you own a dehydrator, make your own dehydrated fruit – it’s so much better than the kind you get from a store!
  4. Beef Jerky – If you own a dehydrator make your own, it’s easy to do and tastes amazing. All you need is a thinly sliced roast (I ask the butcher to slice it for me if I’m too lazy to use the Food Processor), tamari sauce, granulated garlic, pepper, sea salt, liquid smoke, Worcestershire and water. There’s a lot of recipes available online. If you don’t own a dehydrator, be sure to check the packaging as not all jerkies are gluten-free.
  5. Gluten-Free Pasta and Canned Gluten-Free Pasta Sauce – Easy and fast to cook if you have access to a small fire, plus it’s super filling so you can get a good night’s rest and be ready to continue your hiking adventure the next day. If you know you won’t have the ability to make a fire, or any way to heat meals, it’s easy to make the pasta before heading out on your hike and mix with veggies and some gluten-free balsamic dressing and you have a ready-to-eat pasta salad!
  6. Quick Gluten-Free Chili – If you have access to heat and want something spicy, tasty and hearty, look no further than a quick chili, all you need is: 1 can of black beans, 1 can of tomato sauce, oil, 1/2 diced onion, 2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste (spices should be measured and mixed in a bag ahead of time). Start with oil in a pot, throw diced onions in and cook them until clear (5 minutes) then add all other ingredients. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes and you have a delicious chili in no time.
  7. Organic Superfood Oat-Based Cereal - It’s a super convenient breakfast that comes in an individual serving with it’s own folding spoon, just add cold milk or water and stir. There’s no soy, dairy, additives, or preservatives, and all four flavors are gluten-free. My personal favorite is the Espresso Maca Mulberry, but don’t take my word for it.

Peanut Butter and gluten-free bread or gluten-free crackers – easy and simple and packed full of protein. Also is also the perfect alternative if you have picky eaters along for the hike