Granola bars, mac and cheese, ramen noodles, and trail mix are some of the common meals and snacks you’ll find in a vegetarian backpacker’s food bag. These foods may be lightweight and provide hikers carbs and fats, but vegetarian hikers have other nutritional needs that are not met by these foods. Plus they get boring quickly. What about fresh flavors?
A few additions to your food bag can make vegetarian backpacking meals more delicious and nutritious. Here are some vegetarian food options for hikers that will add variety to your trail diet as well as protein, vitamins, fiber and minerals—without adding a lot of weight to your pack.
Iron Rich Foods for Vegetarian Hikers
It is critical for vegetarian backpackers to eat foods that are rich in iron. This powerhouse mineral is essential to the production of hemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen throughout your body. You’ll need to eat enough iron to maintain optimal energy levels on the trail. Here are a few iron rich dehydrated food options you can add to your backpacking menu:
Absorb More Iron From Your Trail Diet with Vitamin C
There is one other fact about iron that vegetarians should consider when planning meals for a backpacking trip. Plant based foods contain nonheme iron, which is harder for the body to absorb than the heme iron found in meat and fish. To make matters trickier, certain plant foods that are high in iron (including whole grains and dried beans) contain compounds called phytates that reduce iron absorption rates.
The good news is that Vitamin C counters this effect and will help you absorb more of the iron you eat. Freeze dried fruit to the rescue! Freeze dried fruits such as strawberries and pineapple are packed with Vitamin C. They are also lightweight and delicious. Eat a few handfuls with breakfast and lunch to make sure you are absorbing enough of the iron you need. For dinner, you may consider adding dehydrated peppers to your one pot meals. One tablespoon of our dehydrated peppers contains about 78mg of Vitamin C.
Vegetarian Protein Options
Though carbohydrates and fats fuel your muscles as you hike, backpackers also need an ample supply of protein in their diets. Protein works to repair muscles and build muscle mass. Dehydrated beans are a protein rich backpacking food for vegetarians. They are also high in soluble fiber, calcium, zinc, and iron. To get even more protein power in every meal, add Texturized Vegetable Protein or TVP. For a readymade option for easy trail cooking, try one of our flavorful and protein packed Vegan Soup Blends.
Harmony House Makes Vegetarian Meal Planning Easy for Backpacking Trips
Dehydrated beans, fruits and vegetables are healthy hiking food. If you are a hiker looking to explore your trail food options before your next adventure, sample the variety of dehydrated foods that come in our Backpacking Kit. Vegetarians and omnivores alike love the variety and convenience of our kit, which was awarded the Editor’s Choice Award by Backpacker Magazine. The kit comes with a variety of vegetables and beans and recipes for the trail. It weighs less than 3lbs and produces over 45 cups of food. Just think of all the delicious vegetarian meals you could make on your next trail adventure!