Cold Weather Meal Planning Tips

Plan simple, easy to prepare meals — You don't want to spend a lot of time preparing meals in cold weather.

Choose high energy food — Your body needs additional calories in cold weather to keep you warm. Increase the number of calories to 4,000 to 4,500 per day. Plan on getting 40 percent of your calories from carbohydrates, 40 percent from fats, and twenty percent from proteins.

Drink plenty of liquids — Dehydration is a special problem in the winter, when we are less likely to realize we are thirsty. Dehydration increases the chances of hypothermia.

Some meal planning ideas

Breakfast: Oatmeal, with hot powdered milk (for protein) and margarine(for fat). Sweeten oatmeal with brown sugar or honey and add extra raisins or other fruit. Hot cocoa, hot Jell-O or hot tang. Here's an excellent breakfast for cold morning (from the Well Fed Backpacker, by June Fleming): 

Cheesy Bacospuds
(Serves 4)

At home put the following in a bag:

1 ½ cups instant potato flakes
1/3 cup instant dry milk
1 packet Butter Buds
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried onions
½ tablespoon salt
½ cup bacon bits

In camp:

Fill cup half way with mixture and add water about ½ cup water. Top with grated cheese.

Lunch: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches; cheese and crackers; trail mix (raisins, peanuts and M&Ms)

Dinner: Begin with instant soup to get everyone warmed up while dinner is prepared. Cook a one-pot meal that starts with a soup or broth as the base. Add noodles or rice, canned meat (such as chicken or tuna) or jerky, and frozen vegetables. Add some margarine for additional fat. Finish with hot cocoa, hot Jell-O or hot Tang. Brownies or chocolate chip cookies.

Cracker Barrel: Instead of sweets, eat proteins such as cheese or jerky. Proteins release their energy over a longer period of time. Eating proteins before you go to bed will help keep you warm through the night.

Link to over 100 Boy Scout Camping Recipes

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Revised 12/13/02