Planning a Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) expedition? These DofE food ideas will help you prepare meals and snacks for your expedition phase. Where possible I’ve added links to show you examples of the sorts of foods you can buy easily from the supermarket or from outdoor stores.
You should never underestimate the importance of food on your DofE expedition. Eating well will keep your energy levels up and will give you the energy needed to get through long days on your feet. A simple snack can give you a boost when needed and keep up morale.
Other blogs you may find helpful:
- DofE Gold Expedition: ideas & tips from those who’ve passed!
- 7 Tips for staying warm in a tent
- How to pack a hiking backpack like a pro
Important tips when choosing your food
When deciding what Duke of Edinburg expedition food to take on your expedition, keep in mind the following tips:
- You want to try and pack as much energy into your food with the least amount of weight. Heavy foods will give your bag unnecessary weight so liquid foods and cans are not good.
- Foods that are high in sugars, carbohydrates and fats are good
- You will want foods that will last well without being in a fridge, even in hot weather – like dried, cured or vegetarian foods
- It’s so important that you pack foods that you actually like to eat. It’s all very well having the perfect high energy meal in your pack, but if you don’t’ enjoy it, you won’t eat it and it will just make you feel miserable. If there’s a snack you love and will give you a boost during a difficult time – then pack it!
- The food needs to be simple to cook on a single camping stove
- You can reduce weight by removing food from packaging or cooking meals as a team
- Store your food in your pack so it is waterproofed and won’t get damaged or (too) squashed if you knock your bag. I usually store my food in a dry sack but might separate softer foods to put in the top pocket of my bag where they will get less damaged
- Have a meal plan and only bring the exact amount of food you need. Make sure you don’t eat all your snacks on day 1 or you’ll go hungry
- The meals you eat before your expedition are also important as this will ensure you start with your energy levels on full!
Wondering how much calories you should be consuming on an expedition? As a rough estimate, you should be aiming for around 3,000 – 5,000 a day
Food that you will want to avoid include:
- anything in glass
- tinned foods
- foods that require refrigeration (like fresh meats, milk or cheese)
- Eggs that are easily broken
- Pot noodles in a plastic pot as these take up a lot of space for little energy
- crisps break easily – if you want to take crisps then Hula Hoops are your best bet as they harder to break
- fizzy or sugary drinks that will dehydrate you
- lots of chocolate that will easily melt in the heat
DofE food ideas: breakfast
Breakfast is an important meal of the day and will give you the kick start you need to get going on a slow morning in camp. Here are a few ideas for breakfast.
If you are used to having a tea or coffee each morning, take one with you for the expedition.
A solid favourite and for good reason – it’s light and quick to cook and can fill you up with a solid warm meal. Make your own porridge mix in advance with oats, nuts, and fruits that you like. You can also add milk powder. Then you just need to add water on the expedition and you’ve got a creamy porridge!
Some sachets already come with flavorings like this one.
#2 Muesli or Granola
An easy breakfast option that doesn’t involve any cooking. Increase the energy and calories of your meal by adding dried fruit and nuts. You can also add in milk powder so all you need to do is add water for a milky cereal breakfast.
#3 Veggie sausages and pitta bread
Pitta is a good alternative to bread as it lasts longer and doesn’t break so easily. You could cook up some vegetarian sausages to put in your pitta for a filling breakfast. For your first day, you could also boil an egg in advance and have that instead of the vegetarian sausages.
Top tip: pick up some ketchup and brown sauce sachets from your nearest fast-food chain or cafe so you can add condiments to your meals without adding much weight.
DofE food ideas: Lunch
For lunch, you won’t want to take a long break so make sure your meals don’t require much preparation. It’s also best not to have anything too large or heavy that might make you sluggish in the afternoons.
Here are some DofE food suggestions for lunch.
#4 Sandwiches and wraps
Choose pitta or wraps instead of regular bread. For fillings, you could use nut butter, Nutella, marmite, avocado or non-refrigeration cheeses and meats like baby bells, cheese strings or cheese squares with sliced pepperoni sausage. There are also vegetarian substitutes for pepperoni (like these ones)…check out the meat free options in your supermarket.
#5 Ready-to-eat meals with crackers
Head to the pot noodle section in the supermarket to find a selection of ready-to-eay meals like couscous or pasta. Some of them are ready to eat but most require a bit of hot water. You can bulk out the meal by breaking up crackers and mixing them into the meal.
Here are some examples of ready-to-eat meals:
#6 Cold Pizza
A good choice for the first day on an expedition…it won’t last more than a day without refrigeration!
DofE food ideas: Dinner
The end of your day is your chance to rest and stock up with food and energy so make sure you plan a big dinner with lots of calories. It’s also important to use the evening as an opportunity to drink lots of water as you will likely be dehydrated from a long day hiking.
Try some of these dinner ideas for your Duke of Edinburgh expedition.
#7 Pasta or Couscous a Sauce
Pasta and couscous is so easy to cook, as all it needs is boiling water. Couscous is the easiest to make and you can get packets that already have flavourings. If you need to add flavourings you can get sachets of sauces (like this) or use stock cubes. You can even get ready cooked pasta that you just need to heat up, like this one.
Bulk out the meal by adding sliced pepperoni, vegetarian sausages, or dried fruits.
#8 Curry and Rice
It’s possible to buy curry in packets to be heated up in a pan when you are ready to eat. Add some quick-cook rice or nan bread and you’ve got a great substantial meal.
Don’t ever bring normal rice to cook as it takes a long time and will eat up your fuel – rice in a packet is always more efficient (Uncle Ben always has lots of options).
#9 Dehydrated expedition packs
When thinking of DofE food ideas, expedition packs is probably what most people think of…and for good reason!
I would really recommend brining some expedition packs for your meals. They are easy to cook and provide a high-calorie meal at very little weight. They can be a little pricey so mention in the outdoor store that you are doing your Duke of Edinburg award and you may get a discount.
Another option is to buy a dehydration machine and make up your own expedition food in advance!
Check out these brands who offer expedition food packs:
#10 Veggie sausages and instant Mash
Instant mash is really easy to cook up. You can have it with curry (see above) or vegetarian sausages.
Bring some sachets of risotto (like this one). These usually just need to have water added and then sit for a few minutes before being ready to eat. You can bulk the meal out by breaking in crackers or having a pitta bread with it.
Pack yourself a dessert to enjoy after your evening meal. Expedition foods often have puddings in a bag for an easy option. Or you could bring flapjack (homemade or shop brought) and add some powdered custard.
Snacks for your DofE expedition
In between meals you want to be snacking regularly. Ideally, these will be high energy snacks that you can keep in your pocket and eat easily as you go as you may not always have time to sit down and prepare food.
Here are some ideas for DofE snacks:
#13 Sports sweets and gels
These are a great option for refueling and ensuring you have enough electrolytes – especially important on a hot day. Cliff energy products are great.
#14 Energy balls
Make flapjacks at home or buy them ready from the shops. They work as a great snack as they don’t break easily and can withstand being squashed in a bag.
#16 Cereal bars
There are lots of cereal bars on the market so choose the flavors that you will enjoy the most.
#17 Dried fruit and nuts
A really fantastic healthy snack choice for any expedition.
#18 Mint cake
A classic expedition snack…I hate the stuff but a lot of people love it. Kendal Mint Cake is a classic choice for adventurers!
Not very nutritious but great for a morale boost for you and your team!
Feeling more prepared for your DofE expedition?
Hopefully, these DofE food ideas have given you an indication of what you should be including in your meal plans. Have you got any questions or ideas you want to share? Then use the comment box below.
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