Giving Low-Carb Food a Whirl on the Trail

At one time I considered my family to be carb-junkies. Every dinner included either pasta, couscous, rice, quinoa, or potatoes (and sometimes garlic bread too!) I would follow dinner up with evening snacking and a high-carb breakfast and lunch the next day. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

I have lowered my carbohydrate intake for a couple of different reasons. Darcy, my husband, eats a low-carbohydrate and low-sugar diet and has lost 90 pounds towards his goal. I have discovered that I do not like how high-carbohydrate meals make me feel. I find that I get a headache and feel sluggish after eating a carb-loaded meal.

That is not to say that I still don’t indulge on some of my favourites like sushi and wood-fired pizza. Baked beans are oh so delicious as well. The high-carb portion of our day-to-day meals have been replaced with vegetables like konjac, squash, and cauliflower.

Darcy and I hiked the entire 40 KM Épinette Creek Trail on May Long Weekend and we chose to keep our meals and snacks low-carb since that is how we eat day-to-day. For anyone interested in low-carb food while hiking, Ketogenic Backpacking on Facebook is a good resource for food ideas. As with any food lifestyle, some people will be more conservative or liberal with their meal plan so not all food ideas will resonate with you.

Food for our overnight hike. I thought I would crave junk food but I completely forgot about the popcorn I brought.

Saturday:

We left the city shortly after 5:30 am and went to the Starbucks at Health Sciences Center, the only Starbucks in the city that is open 24/7.

I ordered a venti Starbucks coffee with a little bit of cream, just enough to take the edge off. I drink my coffee nearly black. Darcy had a trenta iced coffee, with no classic sweetener, and a touch of cream. Neither of us wanted to eat first thing in the morning so we had breakfast on the trail a few hours later.

We shared two containers of Wholly Guacamole Minis and Whisps for breakfast. Whisps are baked parmesan cheese “crackers.” On the home front, we top caesar salads with Whisps instead of bread croutons.

We were not overly hungry around at lunch time but stopped for a 15 minute break and shared some trail mix and beef jerky.

I made myself a pita for dinner with Joseph’s low-carb pita, sundried tomatoes, olives, and mediterranean flavoured tuna. I sipped a few cups of hot tea to warm my core. I don’t necessarily need to have a hot meal while I am backpacking as long as I have tea.

A family favourite that everyone loves to eat for dinner is butter chicken. We commonly make this recipe from Keto Connect. I made some tweaks to the recipe to make it backpacker friendly for Darcy. He ate a pita with it, pretending it was naan. Below is the recipe.

Dehydrated cauliflower rice works just as well as regular rice in a backpacking meal

1 package Harvest Foodworks Diced Chicken
3 TBSP Powdered Heavy Whipping Cream
3/4 TBSP powdered tomato paste (dehydrated a can of tomato paste)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp Pink Himalayan Salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup Dehydrated riced cauliflower


Place all ingredients into vacuum sealed bag or zip lock bag. At camp, pour just enough boiling water into the bag to cover chicken and cauliflower rice and stir well. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes.

Sunday:

For breakfast, Darcy had Scrambled Eggs with Bacon by Mountain House plus a few extra pieces of Ready Crisp Bacon. We both agreed that the artificial smoke flavour in Mountain House was overpowering and a little disgusting. Darcy is a smoking master (unofficial term that I have bestowed upon him) so we know good smoke flavour. He drank vanilla protein powder mixed with water.

I ate n’oatmeal made with hemp, flax, cinnamon, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chocolate protein powder, and chia seeds. N’oatmeal is essentially oatmeal without oats since oats are high in carbs. I sipped a couple of cups of Starbucks Via True North coffee and sprinkled in a little powdered heavy cream to take the bitter edge off.

Lunch was simple and similar to the day before. I brought along a pouch of tuna to have with a wrap but I was still feeling full from breakfast. I love Rawnata snacks (locally made in Manitoba too!) so even though I was full, I had a little piece and finished it off later in the afternoon.

Lunch break!

We talked a lot about the food we want to eat on upcoming hikes and the food we want to eat when we finish a hike. We want to include local, small restaurants for “town food” as part of our trip planning. A burger is my go-to choice for an after hike meal!

We went to L & J’s Drive Inn in Treherne, Manitoba for our after hike meal! There are a number of picnic tables surrounded by trees and flower planters. It got quite busy as we were finishing up our food so it is obviously a popular spot. The washrooms were impeccably clean and modern too, which I feel is important to note because a clean washroom at a restaurant usually equals a clean kitchen. We even saw a staff member sweeping dirt off the sidewalk.

Here is my delicious after trail burger in all of its glory. Darcy ordered the same thing as me but as you can see in the background, he opted to have his wrapped in lettuce and ate it with a knife and fork. We shared a small Coke Zero and sweet potato fries with a really nice spicy dip.

We have ordered a few low-carb backpacking meals from Next Mile Meals. The meals are primarily for Darcy since he is stricter with low-carb than I am but I will definitely taste them. Stay tuned for reviews as we try them over the summer.

Happy Trails!

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