Have you ever thought about going off the grid and heading into the outdoors for a couple of days? You should, because nature is beautiful! Not only that, but with these tips on how to eat gourmet in the middle of nowhere (or anywhere for that matter), you'll be sure to make the most of your next outdoor adventure.

cake, water
Hannah Bernier

I just got back from studying abroad in South America for 5 months and have nothing but amazing things to say about the nature I saw when I hiked in Chile, so I totally recommend you get outdoors and experience what Earth has to offer.

That being said, it is important to know how to prepare for your “week in the woods” since you will no longer be a 5 minute drive from your favorite Whole Foods. I had to do a lot of planning before setting off and hiking for a week in Patagonia. My trip required research, numerous trips to the grocery store, and a budget. It can be tricky to plan for how much and what food you will be willing to carry on your back for a week, but luckily here is your guide on how to eat gourmet in the middle of the woods.

The Basics

First off, you burn a ton of calories when you are hiking. This means that you need to make sure you pack the right type of food to give you enough energy throughout your hike. You also want to bring food that you will look forward to eating throughout the day. Meals should feel like a reward after hiking for 10+ hours during the day - bring food YOU love. Depending on the length and difficulty of the hike, plan to pack 3 "meals" a day and a variety of snacks. The following outlines what a typical meal-plan in Patagonia looked like for me on any given day.

cereal, nut, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds
Lauren Kaplan


You don't want to waste time sitting around your campsite in the morning cleaning up after making an elaborate breakfast, so eat something easy that can be made "on-the-go."

I started out my mornings with a light breakfast filled with protein. My go-to breakfast option was a slice of whole-grain bread slathered in peanut butter and honey. It gives you energy, but doesn't weigh you down (and is one of the tastiest combos you could put on bread!).

*Pro-tip: don't bring a whole loaf of bread with you on your hike - try to find individually-wrapped slices so they are easier to carry and won't crumble all over your backpack.
apple slice, apple, peanut butter, PB, snack, healthy snack, Fruit, nut butter nation
Jocelyn Hsu


Again, there isn't much time to sit and eat lunch when you have a destination to reach. So how can you make lunch gourmet on the go?

Each night before you go to sleep, prepare your lunch for the next day. Tortilla wraps filled with slices of cheese and summer sausage are easy to carry in your hand while hiking and provide a savory flavor to get you through the first half of your day. Keep your lunch in an easily accessible spot so you can find it without stopping to unload your whole backpack.

Emily Price


This is where you get to be creative! There are so many different meals you could make while camping after the day's hike is over.

One of my favorite dishes I ate was when I melted half of a block of cheese into Spanish rice. The spices in the rice mixed with the cheese reminded me of a risotto dish at my favorite Italian restaurant. Some other popular dinner options are bean soups, pasta with red sauce, and macaroni and cheese. Bring some extra toppings like red pepper flakes or packets of parmesan cheese with you to spice up your meal. 

*Pro-tip: If you have it in your budget, companies now sell dehydrated food packets to bring camping. These packets just require some hot water, and boom - instant gourmet meal. 

pepper, Eggs, ham, freeze dried eggs, camp meal, Cooking, Camping, Campsite
Shelby Cohron


In my opinion, snacks are the best and most important thing you could have with you on your hike. Three meals a day is not enough when you are hiking 20 miles a day. You. Need. Snacks (aka energy!).

I recommend bringing a lot of dried fruit; try to find an organic grocery store so you know the fruit hasn't been super-processed or isn't too sugary. Some of my all-time faves are dried kiwi, papaya, mango, and pineapple.

To keep your snacks on the healthier side, opt for making your own trail-mix over buying pre-made mixes. A mix of raisins, dried cranberries, almonds, peanuts, and some m&m's will usually do the trick, but feel free to mix it up based on your tastes! Separate your trail mix into day-bags before you set off for your hike so you won't be tempted to dig into tomorrow's rations. I would also recommend packing at least one granola bar per day in case the trail mix and dried fruit isn't enough. 

George Thomson

Prepping for a week in the woods can be daunting. The thought of hiking for 20 miles a day with all of your supplies on your back can also seem scary. But your food can literally get you through the toughest of hikes, and it is SO worth it. Whenever times were tough, I always thought about those few handfuls of trail-mix waiting for me at the next rest stop, or what creation I would make for dinner that night. It never hurts to bring along an emergency bar (or two) of dark chocolate either! Wherever you plan to venture next, learning how to eat gourmet in any setting will prepare you for a trip full of fun, fitness, and fabulous food.