[pct-l] Food, Food, Food

Vic Hanson vichansonperu at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 22 19:09:41 CDT 2009

For Sean and any others late planners, here is what I did for food. (It's long and I've posted it before, sorry to those who have seen it.)

P.S. Mags and I have the same girlfriend - Little Debbie!

Here is what worked for me.
Breakfast – Grape Nuts (generic is fine) with powered milk, whole if possible (all the
Wal-Mart's I have been to have had it, also available in Mexican food stores or the
Mexican section of large super markets). If I used non-fat milk, I added instant non-dairy
creamer, mix the dry ingredients first and then add the water, as creamer doesn't mix well
in cold water. For variety and more flavor, add instant pudding mix, banana was my
favorite. I also ate some instant oatmeal, especially if it was in the hiker boxes, but
usually didn't "cook" for breakfast. If I did heat water for oatmeal, I also had tea or hot

Lunch – Small (3 3/4 oz. I think) packages of sandwich meat – ham, turkey or beef, put
on two bagels or flour tortillas, with cheese. The meat packs are less than $1.00 each and
are often on sale if you buy store brands. The name brand is Bud something. They will
easily keep for five days or more, as long as they are unopened. I had two packs go bad at
just over a week's time, on the whole trip. When I had to mail food ahead, I used jars of
dried beef (Hormel is one brand, can't remember the other). The problem with this is that
you have to leave it in the jar. If you repackage it, it won't keep, so you have to pack out
the empty jars. Use within three or four days after opening. Something different: Take a little plastic jar of honey and put it on tortillas and cheese, I wouldn't try it at first, but finally did and it was great! Thanks Swiss Miss.

Dinner – Instant mashed potatoes, add powered milk, a bunch of cheese and bacon bits,
real or imitation. Or save a little meat from lunch and add that. Don't forget the salt. If I
didn't have cheese to add, I got tired of instant potatoes real quick; with the cheese, I
never got tired of it. I did use Butter Buds some, as well as liquid margarine at the
beginning. Swiss Miss had cooking oil that they didn't use; I also added that, mainly for
the calories.
I usually took cheddar cheese, two lbs. for five to seven days, but also bought Swiss if it
was on sale, or Monterrey Jack. It can be mailed ahead for at least a month if you don't
open the package. Parmesan is nice too; use it in the potatoes or on macaroni and cheese.
I took some macaroni and cheese and usually ended up carrying it for weeks, or until I
ran out of potatoes. When I had liquid margarine it was fine, after I quit carrying that I
couldn't eat much of it.
Repeat the above every day you are on the trail! Variety comes at the town stops!

Snacks – The 2 most important words - LITTLE DEBBIE!! The crème filled oatmeal
cookies (pies?) are the best. They come in two sizes. The small box has smaller cookies,
the large box has bigger cookies, I think the big ones had 390 calories each. Wal-Mart
and large super markets have the large boxes. I ate two to four cookies a day. I also ate
Little Debbie's fudge brownies, not great but kind of like fudge, got to tasting a bit like
plastic after a few months.
Generic (store brands like Albertertson or Vons) chewy oatmeal bars with chocolate
chips, I liked them better than the Quaker Oatmeal ones, which usually came in a variety
pack. Also ate some generic raspberry bars for variety. I ate a lot of Honey Bunches of
Oats cereal (usually generic) dry, just as snack food through out the day. Very good.
Fig bars were great but too expensive for me unless I could get generics in a large super
market. Wal-Mart's are real cheap and my favorite taste/texture.
For all of the above - Be Very Careful not to get the low fat or reduced sugar variety! It
happened a few times. You need the calories and taste, why carry the weight if it doesn't
have the calories?
I started with Pay Day candy bars, they have lots of nuts and caramel, are salty, and they
don't melt in the heat. However I got tired of them after a few months and switched to
mostly Snickers. Ate one or two a day, after awhile it was the king size bars. The only
power bar type things I ate were those I found in hiker boxes.

Drink mixes – I used some generic Kool Aid mix and whatever was in the hiker boxes,
otherwise just plain water. My favorite tea was Celestial Seasonings Raspberry tea, great
in the evening with dinner, as the caffeine in regular tea sometimes kept me awake.

VERY IMPORTANT - Pigging out in town!
In town my favorite was to go to a super market with a deli and have a roast beef and
cheese sandwich. About the same price as Subway, and much better (IMHO). Usually $4
or $5 for a large sandwich. Really hungry? Get a whole hot roast chicken for about $6 in
most super markets. Top it off with a ½ gallon of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.
Another great snack was the large muffins, usually chocolate chip or banana nut, like the
ones Sam's Club or Costco have. Many large groceries stores have them too, as well as
some of the smaller places. We got them at Kennedy Meadows, Hyatt Lake Resort and
Ollalie Lake Resort to mention a few places I remember.

I lost weight the first two months or so, and then started eating more, mostly the same
food, but more snacks, and gained some of it back. We stopped every two hours for a
short break and to eat. Eat on the go if you don't need or want to stop, but we found we
needed to eat every two hours, even after breakfast or lunch.
HYOH, YMMV, EYOF (eat your own food), IMHO of course. For what it is worth,
eating is not an adventure for me, I find what I like and stick with it. I ate Grape Nuts for
breakfast every morning for about 15 years. Had to switch to Angel Zuck (frosted corn
flakes) here in Peru, Grape Nuts are not available.


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