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Fifty Sense: Common Sense Ideas for Thriving after 50
Fifty Sense: Common Sense Ideas for Thriving after 50


When you read about backpacking, you will read about people eating pop-tarts and mac and cheese every day. We believe that in order to enjoy the backpacking experience, you should also enjoy the food! It is especially important as we age and can't abuse our bodies without more implications. The usual backpacking is high in carbohydrates. Think about your dietary needs when planning your food. I am hypoglycemic, so I have to look for food with high protein. It doesn't have to be that much harder, and can even weigh less, but you have to plan ahead.

The first thing we realized was that we didn't want the same meal every day, and packaged dinners were expensive, yet convenient. You have to decide how much time in preparation you want to spend before the hike, versus how much you can spend. We also love to surprise other backpackers with trail magic. That is when you do something nice for another, many times is the form of food. We will pack Chai and Mama Says Biscotti to share. I also pack a small birthday candle to bring out if someone has a birthday!

Basic foods

  • food bars
  • breakfast bars, pop tarts
  • pasta dinners
  • tea, coffee, hot chocolate
  • prepared dinners
  • crackers
  • bagels
  • peanut butter

Dehydraters can be bought for very little. Experiment with your favorite dishes, so much can be dryer, even meals. Here's some ideas:

  • Beef Jerky - Use 1/2 the amount of seasoning and salt suggested and ground round.
  • Canned Chicken - dries beautifully
  • Tuna and fish - stinks up the entire house, do it in the garage or outside, or use foil packages
  • Vegetable - seasiest way is to use frozen vegetables, rinse and dry. The best success has been with peppers, summer squashes, mushrooms.
  • Fruit - Apples are easy, slice with or without skins, apricots, but don't do bananas!

An example of an easy dehydrated meal: dried chicken and vegetables, dried soup mix, couscous. Be careful how much couscous you use, it hydrates fast and makes tons!

Fabulous food for backpacking – Here are a few ideas of being creative with your meals. Please email us your favorites!

  • Nidoa dried whole milk that tastes good made by Nestle. Hard to find, look in Hispanic sections in food stores or call Nestle directly.
  • "Mama Says" Biscotti - Individually wrapped with fun saying in each one
  • Instant pudding in Ziploc bags with dried milk. Just pour in milk and squish
  • Tuna, salmon, chicken, in foil packages. Great to add to a pasta or eat for a snack
  • Cream cheese, plain or garden vegetableStays for three days
  • Carrots - heavy, but nice to crunch on something
  • Cheese - Gouda or Edam do not get slimey, string cheese
  • Squeeze margarine
  • soy nuts are high in protein
  • instant turkey stuffing, or potatoes
  • angelhair pasta
  • instant soups
  • instant flavoried oatmeal
  • electrolyte replacements: Gookinaid, or Nuun (has no sugar) both taste good
  • Little Debbie nutty bars
  • Snickers
  • wasabi peasan nice crunch and I don't even like horseradish
Trail Mix (don't leave home without it!)
The following recipe for trail mix is one I spent over 20 years in development. You can always make your own concoction. No raisins for me, too many trips to the outhouse. I picked these ingredients for a family of five that could all agree on good taste. If you are hiking by yourself, throw in something you really like, just be careful that it doesn't take over the entire flavor, or melts fast.
  • Giadello's original snack mix
  • Dried cherries
  • Dried cranberries
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Honey roasted peanuts
  • Soy nuts
  • Sesame sticks
  • Sunflower seeds
  • M & M peanut
  • M & M almond

Email us your favorite recipes!