breakfast ideas

Sweet Breakfast Rice - Trail Recipe

Breakfast recipes on the trail can be hit or miss for some people.  While some hikers prefer to walk and eat, others prefer waking up with a full breakfast to keep them going in the morning.  Before I became a distance hiker I wasn't much of a breakfast eater.  After I got into my trail routine, however, I quickly realized that if I wanted to have any kind of energy before noon I needed to eat a few times in the morning.  In 2015, when we were setting out to do our thru hikes around the east coast, it was very clear that I'd need to make breakfasts for myself as NoKey definitely falls into the "walk and eat" category of backpackers.  I found myself focusing on flavors I loved and that's where this recipe came from.  

Back in the day, well, back in 2008 when I first started backpacking, there was a brand of commercial foods called Enertia.  They had an amazing breakfast I loved called Cherokee Rice Pudding and it was a sweet breakfast you could eat hot or cold.  I knew when I was setting out to create breakfasts for myself that Cherokee Rice Pudding would need to be recreated.  Sadly, Enertia was bought by Coleman several years ago and the food brand was phased out.  Since I couldn't find the ingredients online I recreated my own special version of Sweet Breakfast Rice. 

Sweet Breakfast Rice (2 servings)

1/2 home dehydrated basmati rice, cooked in vanilla almond milk before drying
1/4 cup dried tropical fruit of your choice (I love to mix it up!)
2 tbsp slivered almonds
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

At home, mix all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl making sure to evenly distribute all flavors.  Split in half amongst two zipper bags and seal. 

On Trail: Add ingredients to your cook pot and bring to a boil.  Let sit until cool enough to eat or until you reach desired texture.  

Breakfast Couscous - Trail Recipe

Breakfast is definitely my favorite meal of the day.  I don't always eat it first thing when I get up, but I can promise I eat a proper breakfast of some kind every single day.  Trying to get in a healthy breakfast while out on the trail can be tough, especially with all the convenient grab and go options out there.  Getting ready for my Tahoe Rim Trail thru hike in 2017 has me prepping lots of easy breakfast options and breakfast couscous is a quick and easy go-to that I enjoy both on the trail and when I need to grab something quick to take with me.  

Breakfast Couscous (2 servings)

1 cup whole wheat couscous
1/3 cup dry coconut milk
2 tbsp brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 nuts of your choice (slivered almonds are my favorite!)
1/4 dried fruit of choice

At home: Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir to combine, paying attention to the brown sugar as it has a tendency to clump.  Once all items are mixed, split into two portions in zip top bags.  Seal. 

On Trail: To eat cold, add cold water to your couscous before going to bed - just enough to cover the couscous by about an inch.  Seal the bag and squish it to mix.  Eat cold in the morning.  If you'd like it hot, add couscous to your cook pot and cover with water, about an inch to an inch and a half over the mixture.  Bring to a boil, remove from heat, stir, and let cool.  

Hiker Mocha - An Easy, Popular Breakfast for Long-Distance Hikers

This shop has been compensated by CollectiveBias, Inc. on behalf of its advertiser, EAS Sports Nutrition.  #easbrand #PowerinProtein #collectivebias #ad 

Whenever I'm out on trail, be it as a guide or someone out on my own personal backpacking trip, food is the number one thing hikers will chat about while in camp at night and in the morning.  Whenever you see another hiker eating or drinking something it's common practice to chat about it and why they're consuming it.  I hadn't been on trail for more than a week before I started noticing all the hikers drinking a breakfast concoction I had never seen before.  While the drink had many names and variations (hiker mocha, ranger pudding, power breakfast...) my personal favorite was the Hiker Mocha.  Who doesn't love a fancy coffee drink at the beginning of a long morning of hiking?!  

At first my Hiker Mocha was chocolate milk powder and instant coffee, but I quickly realized that sugar energy was just burning off quick and made my teeth hurt.  I took a cue from those making the ranger pudding and switched to a chocolate protein powder.  Switching to a protein powder, however, wasn't an easy task!  Not all proteins are created equally.  Some powders contained added sugars or the dreaded sugar alcohols (REALLY harsh on the stomach after a few hours).  Some were kind of vague with wording like "proprietary blend", which I later found out means the ingredients aren't really disclosed and mixes of different ingredients are used.  While hikers eat lots of sugars and processed foods, it's nice to get a break from stuff like that at least once a day!  

When we were at the hiker mecca known as Walmart we could find EAS 100% Whey Protein powder.  I personally found Whey Protein easier to digest and it was much easier on my stomach than other brands with added sugars, which is why I chose this brand.  I was also excited to learn you can purchase this powder online as well!  This came in really handy for me when I was hiking near smaller towns where it was really difficult to find any types supplements on trail.  In fact, buying this powder online is still my favorite way to do it!

A Hiker Mocha is so great at breakfast because you can drink it hot or cold, which really comes in handy on those mornings when you don't want to have a hot coffee.  Here are the easy-to-follow instructions for making your very own Hiker Mocha!

With only three simple ingredients you have a yummy, protein-filled breakfast drink!

With only three simple ingredients you have a yummy, protein-filled breakfast drink!

-2 scoops EAS 100% Whey Protein Powder (chocolate)
-1 Tablespoon Instant Coffee or one packet of instant coffee/espresso
-1 Tablespoon Powdered Coconut Milk
-Optional honey to taste

On Trail Prep:
In your cup, measure out the first three powdered ingredients and mix together.  Add in a few tablespoons of water to make a slurry.  This will help equally distribute the ingredients and prevent any type of clumping of the milk powder.  Slowly add 8-10 ounces of water, hot or cold, to your cup. Add honey or sweetener of choice if desired. Stir well and enjoy!

The three powdered ingredients together - super simple!

The three powdered ingredients together - super simple!

Alternatively, you can also make this mix in a Nalgene or similar bottle by adding the powdered ingredients and all the water with the optional sweetener at the same time.  Shake well until ingredients are well-combined and the drink is smooth.  Enjoy while sitting in camp or on the go to get in those morning miles!

Easy to mix at home and drink on the go! 

Easy to mix at home and drink on the go! 

I found that I not only felt better with protein in my system on trail, I also was able to hike stronger in the mornings without those nasty sugar crashes that tend to come on around mid-morning.  Getting my energy from breakfast containing 30 grams of protein worked well for me!  Have you ever tried drinking a protein drink either on trail or before a long hike? Tell me what you think about adding a supplement to your diet during physical activity.  Leave me a comment below!

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