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Taking your healthy diet out on the trail

 
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Look into Annie's Pantry: Chilies. Dried chili peppers of varying heat are indispensable. Add a few teaspoons of chili flakes to your spice kit. Cooking oil. I always purchase oil in bulk, then fill smaller bottles to suit the length of the trip. For this two-week backpacking trip to Alaska, I rationed about two tablespoons of olive oil per person per day, which is conservative but still weighs in at two pounds! Curry. India's signature blend of herbs and spices belongs in every backcountry kitchen. Powder is convenient, but a tablespoon of paste packed in foil with some shredded coconut is darned authentic tasting. Dried fruit. Apples, apricots, and prunes are available in bulk and not worth drying yourself. The best foods to dry are just-picked strawberries or fragrant nectarines in peak season. Ginger. Like garlic, the fresh version is easy to carry, long-lasting, and hugely versatile. One lumpy, homely root adds zip to stir-fry and sauces, and will also absorb powerful odors of other ingredients, like fish or some seaweeds. Additionally, ginger is a traditional folk remedy for all sorts of digestive ills, including upset stomach, constipation, and congestion. When you're really cold, a few slices boiled in water will perk you right up. Crystallized ginger is also a great appetite suppressant and breath cleanser on hikes Grains.Think beyond rice and pasta. Try quick-cooking whole grains like bulgur wheat, oats, cornmeal, barley, and precooked/dried wild rice. You'll add variety and more efficient trailside nutrition - whole grains offer more calories per serving than refined versions. Legumes. We're talking beans here - lentils, soybeans, pintos, whatever. Serve them with nuts, seeds, or grain, and you have a complete protein. Presoak, cook, and dry your own at home for an instant soup base - super economical!

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