Since we are habitual in using local spicy and oily foods with gravy and chapattis and not accustomed with packed or dried food so it becomes a problem while trekking to select the menu as availability of food stuff is not possible in remote areas and especially on glacier tracks. It becomes more hectic particularly when we want to trek lightweight and do not intend to use a large number of porters. In this regard we should be aware of the nourishment of the diet, its weight and volume thus to plan a trekking menu. A selected menu could be a combination of the items mentioned below. The foodstuff should be lightweight containing required calories for a normal person. There is an interesting phrase in this regard, which should be kept in mind,
"go hungry and get angry"
Porridge, Corn Flakes and Vermicelli's could be the best choice as all these items are easy to cook and contain the ingredients of a healthy diet. Rusks, if available could be another option, similarly biscuits can be used with sliced cheese. Tea, coffee or chocolate drink, according to taste and choice, can be used with breakfast.
Normally, there is no provision of hot lunch while trekking however light cold and packed lunch can be taken which may include a variety of biscuits, roasted/fried pulses and dry fruits etc. with some cold or hot drink according to the weather conditions. Honey and dates are very nourishing diet and a small quantity of these items can be equivalent to a healthy diet.
Some trekkers are used to chewing a gum or toffee/candy while walking. It varies from person to person however these things immediately cover the deficiency of sugar in the body. Cooking salt or Nimkol could be good to recover the salt deficiency caused by de-hydration.
After the exertion of a whole day, the body becomes tired and de-hydrated thus dinner should be regular and should be taken in a reasonable quantity. The easiest dishes to prepare are rice or pasta along with lentils or vegetable dishes. However on higher altitudes tin packed foods could be the best option.
Pakistani packed cuisine in tins include vegetables, meat dishes and fish, while some packed semi-cooked lentil, vegetable and meat are also available. They require only boiling to prepare them which saves a lot of weight to carry and fuel to consume. Soup can be a source of good energy, which should be included in the daily menu. For extra taste some desserts can also be added in the course of dinner.
Apart from regular dishes there could be some petty items or snacks, which can be prepared especially on the days when the walk is finished early.
Potato chips or french fries are the most commonly used item, popular all over the world. Potatoes are easily available and are inexpensive. Similarly, popcorns can be a good light diet. Boiled eggs, if available or pickles are also widely eaten throughout.
Above mentioned suggested list is designed for personally organized groups otherwise large parties with a team of porters may carry all the stuff with the services of kitchen staff, which serve a complete course of meals while camping. It could be very lucrative and luxurious but normally adventure enthusiasts enjoy more when they use half-cooked rather tasteless self-cooked meal, which could be an unforgettable memory of the lifetime.
Apart from the budget, hiring a large army of porters and cooking the meals extravagantly, affects environment, as more people stay at campsite resulting to more garbage left behind. In this regard smaller teams with less quantity of equipment are recommended to keep the environment clean.