Calories In, Calories Out 

Eating a lot of junk food is almost the best thing about bike packing.

Here’s a glimpse at what has been nourishing me for this past month or so. Below is about five days worth of food.

A few words on my diet:

  1. I am on a budget. There are lighter, smaller, more nutritionally complete foods out there that are designed for outdoor travel. However, these are expensive and hard to find in smaller towns.
  2. I would not recommend this diet–unless you are being quite active. I figure I’m burning close to four thousand calories a day. At that rate, the priority is energy consumption to stave off drastic weight loss and power depletion.
  3. It is easy to see how junk food is appealing. It is readily available, yummy, affordable, and convenient. Currently, I am benefiting from this modern food system. However, the average person does not benefit from this type of diet–quite the opposite. It’d be great to see more efforts being made to educate about the effects of energy balance on the body–thought I’d acknowledge this at lease….now on to the yummy junk food.

Breakfast

Breakfast can be a hard balance in the morning between getting enough calories, not wasting time, and being simple. Sometimes a hot breakfast is nice but it adds time. Pop tarts are by far my favorite, even if they get all crumbly and are a bit heavier. I always take a multi-vitamin with breakfast as well…you’ll see why as my diet becomes clear.

  • Breakfast #1
    • Oatmeal (not my favorite)
    • Peanut Butter
    • Raisins
  • Breakfast #2
    • Pop-Tarts (pictured are the Dollar Store variety)
  • Other (not pictured)
    • BelVitas
    • Granola and dried milk
  • Of course, COFFEE! (more on that below)

Lunch

Lunch is more of a reason to take a break than anything else. Eating too much at one time tends to slow me down so I try to space things out.

  • Lunch #1
    • Tortilla
    • Peanut butter
    • Raisins
    • Crushed up chips…I like ranch Fritos
  • Other (not pictured)…on a tortilla or a sandwich flat
    • PB & J
    • Summer sausage, string cheese, and mayonnaise packets
    • Tuna packet and mayonnaise packets

Dinner

Dinners are a welcome, warm, and usually salty end to the day. I add some protein (usually a tuna packet) every other night. I figure I get enough protein from other sources like PB, bars, and oats.

  • Dinner #1
    • 2 Ramen packets
    • Sometimes a tuna packet
  • Dinner #2
    • Instant brown rice
    • Tuna packet
    • Taco seasoning or other condiments
  • Dinner #3
    • Annie’s Mac-N-Cheese (a real treat)
  • Other (not pictured)
    • Knorr Rice/Pasta Sides
    • Instant mashed potatoes (not my favorite because of all the sodium)

Condiments

Little additives make everything better, usually dinners. Sometimes eating a lot of food is difficult–the tastier it is, the easier it is to finish 1000+ calories in a sitting. Sometimes I also like to make savory oats in the morning to break the sweetness overdose–chili flavored oatmeal is pretty awesome. Oh, and hot sauce is about as essential as coffee.

Snacks

A large portion of my daily calories come from snacks. Thus, they need to be lightweight, energy dense, palatable, and like everything else, cheep…in other words, junk food. I try to eat every 2-3 hours to maintain a good blood sugar level. I purchase some things like seasoning packets but many of the condiments I use come from the deli section of stores where they provide little, convenient prepackaged items. I always send these items through the checkout line but not a single cashier has charged me yet.

  • Bars (Clif, Kind, etc.)
  • Candy
    • I really like chocolaty/nutty things like Snickers and PB M&Ms
    • Sugary candy is not great since it spikes my blood sugar and I crash soon after
  • Chips (crunched up to save space…consumed with a spoon or as an additive to meals)
    • Fritos are the most calorie dense and satisfying
  • Drink mixes (not pictured)
    • Electolytes, calories, and taste!

Coffee

Anyone who knows me understands my obsession with coffee. Of all the sacrifices required on this trip, good coffee was not one I was prepared to make. I drink two cups of coffee a day, one when I first get up and one in the early afternoon to expedite the last few difficult hours of riding.

That’s right, I carry whole beans. I try to buy small amounts of beans from local rosters along the way to maintain freshness. I hand grind the needed coffee for each cup and use a GSI drip thingy lined with a paper filter. The paper filter is not needed but makes clean-up much easier.

You may chuckle at this obsession but it’s the little things I look forward to every day that can make a bad day bearable and a good day that much better. Plus, I’m drinking some damn good coffee.

Town food and drink

When I hit a town, I look forward to a few things. First, I find a good restaurant or bakery and get a large, budget-friendly meal. Then I find a store and buy things I can’t logically take with me on the bike.

  • Fresh food
    • Fruit
    • Veggies and hummus
    • Sometimes some meat
  • Beer

Other notes about food

Sometimes, if I know I’ll be camping with a fire ring the first night out of a town, I’ll carry out some yummy camp food like hot dogs and smores. This has only happened a few times but I look forward to becoming more creative.

I am limited by my cooking system, which is designed mostly around heating up water. I’m interested in expanding my cooking capabilities since I am sure I’ll soon be getting tired of this relatively bland, mostly brown diet. tried and true favorites from any of

If you have any tried and true favorites, I’d appreciate any suggestions.

But for now, I need to make dinner!

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