Eating Well on a River Trip

Over are the days when bland canned food was the only culinary option for a wilderness trip! In movies you may have seen prospectors eating beans and sourdough bread day in day out, but fortunately, you don’t need to fear such a monotonous diet on a wilderness trip.

Benefits of eating well on a River Trip

Nowadays, many people are conscious about their diet. If you’re one of them, you don’t have to lower your standards and compromise only because you are joining a river trip. Eating well on a canoe tour is not only possible, but it will also improve your performance and mood. While the idiom tells us that “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”, I can attest that the way to a paddler’s mood is through their stomach.

Eating well on a River Trip blog post

What to cook on a river trip? Here are some suggestions!

On a guided canoe tour with Ruby Range Adventures, your guide has planned the daily meals. While the menu served will slightly vary from guide to guide, here’s an overview of what to expect on many tours.

Breakfast: Quick and Simple

Since paddlers are active throughout a large part of each day, I plan for three substantial meals, as well as frequent smaller snacks. A healthy breakfast is the first step to eating well on a river trip as it sets the adventurers up for the activities ahead. My favorite foods for this most important meal are various muesli and oat dishes. On warmer days, I serve oats or granola combined with yogurt or milk. You can create your favorite muesli by adding various nuts, dried fruits, chocolate chips or coconut shreds. Fresh fruit, such as apples, oranges or bananas add vitamins. On colder and rainy days old-fashioned oatmeal will keep you going for hours! It is always nice to plan a “special breakfast”every 4-5 days. Pancakes, breakfast sandwiches with bacon and eggs and french toast are sure to please the crowds.

Eating well on a river Trip blog post

Lunch: Buffet Concept

During our lunch stop you can expect various breads with a choice of cheeses and meat, cucumbers and tomatoes. “Buffet concept” lunches are far more fun and enjoyable than a packed sandwich if the river permits an easy stop. It is also a great way to get rid of your leftovers if you have any. Cut up vegetables such as carrots, celery, or peas are also served with various dips. While biscuits are always a hit for dessert, you will also find fresh fruit such as apples, grapefruit, and melons.

Eating well on a river trip blog post

Dinner: Be Creative and Go Crazy!

Cooking dinner on a river trip has always been one of my favorite activities. After the exertions of the day, this is a time to come together and conjure up a tasty and healthy meal for everyone to enjoy while discussing the day. When I plan the meals for a trip, I have to make sure that perishable foods are eaten first. Therefore, you can expect meals including fresh salads during the first days. Imagine filled chicken tortillas with a side dish of Greek salad. In the days that follow, I cook with more lasting vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, and peppers to prepare tasty fried rice or a pasta dishes. Spaghetti Bolognese and chili con carne are also hits at this stage of the tour. Since root vegetables such as carrots and (sweet) potatoes last the longest, they will serve as a base for the last meals. Ribs with potatoes and carrots, and smoked sausages grilled over the fire are your mouth-watering feasts towards the end of the tour. Legumes such as beans and lentils are delicious and healthy side dishes.

Eating well on a river trip blog post

Don't forget the snacks and forget about calories!

While three basic meals are important on the river, there should always be an opportunity for a snack along the way. Granola bars and a nut and dried fruit mix supply energy and keep the mood up. Beef jerky is also a good thing to have if the day stretches longer than expected. Chocolate bars may not be the healthiest option, but they ensure that a smile will magically appear on everyone’s faces.

Don’t think about the number of calories you’re consuming when on a canoe tour. Eating well on a river trip is extremely important. Dip in and savor the tasty options your guides serve. You’ll need the energy for the long paddling days, and you will be in a better mood, more concentrated and therefore less prone to accidents when well-fed. Bon appetite!

Silke is a guide and a teacher. Originally from Belgium, she has made Canada and the Yukon her home many years ago. She is a world traveler who has worked and lived in many countries. She is currently teaching in Spain.​