Think back to when your kids were little, why did they cry? It could have been pain, a soiled diaper, or maybe they were sleepy, but often times they were simply hungry! This reaction – frustrated when hungry – stays with us throughout our lives; think about it, adults are moody when hungry, so why not TheHikingChild?
If you want to spend a fun day outdoors with your kids than they need to be well fed and eat breakfast. They are going to be using a lot of energy running around, in the sun, playing games, moving. Without a proper breakfast they will be weak and whining, which will drive you ‘up the wall’. You can prevent this! Do everyone a favor and eat a solid breakfast before going hiking. You will all have an awesome day and thank us for the advice when all is said and done.
So let’s do it: the best breakfast for TheHikingChild. Here are a few do’s and don’ts that can make or break your adventure. We begin with a few items to stay away from, and then we get to the goods.
Hiking is in large part an aerobic exercise during which you engage in a moderate-to-high level of physical activity over a long period of time. This activity leads to an increase in your core body temperature. Milk is naturally high in fat, acidic, and difficult to digest. The two – milk and exercise – are a poor combination. With the increase in body temperature, milk produces a ‘sour’ reaction within your stomach and can lead to cramping, stomach pain, and a general feeling of discomfort. We encourage your kids to drink milk during their regular schedules and milk is excellent after your hike, but it is wise to avoid it before going hiking.
Think Long Term Energy For Hiking
When choosing a breakfast menu remember that you want your kids energized for a long time. That means complex carbohydrates, not simple sugars! If your traditional morning routine involves sugary cereals, avoid them like the plague on they day of the hike. Not only are they full of sugar, but you also eat them with… milk.
Stay Off The Fats Before A Hike
While fat is a source of long-term energy storage, eating it on the day of a long hike is not the best idea. Bacon or sausages may taste great in the morning, but after an hour on the trail you will be wishing that you ate something else. Belching will be your ‘call of the wild’; you will feel heavy and out of energy. Stay off the fats on the day of the hike.
Not This, Not That… Then What?
No milk, no sugar, no bacon… so what do we eat? Let’s take a look at a few great food ideas for going hiking with your child.
Oatmeal: Everyone’s Favorite Breakfast?
We know, we know: you either love or hate oatmeal. But oatmeal is without question the best meal that your family can eat for breakfast before a long day of hiking. It’s a complex carbohydrate that releases energy slowly for several hours, and when mixed with other ingredients it will give a very nutritional punch. It’s also light and will not make you or your kids ‘suffer’ on the trail. Because it is quick and easy to prepare, you will be on your way in no time. Here’s an easy oatmeal recipe:
For two adults and two children (4 servings):
- 3 ⅓ cups water
- 2 cups oatmeal
- 2 medium sized apples
- 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Raisins to your liking (a small handful works well)
- Nuts (any nuts that you like, as much as you like)
10 minutes preparation time
Use water not milk when preparing oatmeal for hiking. Chop up two apples. In a pot boil up 3 ⅓ cups of water adjusting to your preference: some like their oatmeal more liquid than others, but remember that for a day of hiking the more water the better. Add 2 cups of oatmeal flakes. Turn your heat to minimum and begin stirring. After about two minutes add the chopped apples, some raisins, cinnamon, and two to three tablespoons of brown sugar or organic maple syrup. Simmer lightly for another two minutes while stirring continuously. That’s it. Wash it down with some warm honey lemon tea, and BK is finished, out the door you go!
Oatmeal Not Your Favorite? How About Some Crepes?
Some people can’t stomach oatmeal, so another great hiking breakfast are crepes. They contain flour, eggs, and milk, but the milk is cooked and fused with the other ingredients so it looses the negative attributes that we mentioned above in this article. Crepes require more time to prepare than oatmeal but they are a family favorite; kids swallow them up. They are also lighter and easier on the stomach than pancakes. Here’s an easy crepes recipe:
To prepare crepes for a family of four:
- 2 large eggs
- 3.5 oz (100 g) of white flour
- 1.75 oz (50 g) of whole-grain flour (any kind you like)
- 9.5 oz (280 ml) of milk (minimum 2%, or more)
- 1.5 fl. oz (about 50 ml) of soda water (carbonated) if available (otherwise, add an equal amount of milk)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar or organic maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon of organic vanilla extract is optional, but worth it
- Frying oil
- Food grade paint brush to spread the oil on the pan (or you can use a spray bottle)
- Jam, or organic maple syrup for spread
- Banana, strawberries, and/or blueberries (to go with the spread)
15 – 20 minutes preparation time
Place a large non-stick coated pan on the stovetop and begin pre-heating on a high setting. Crack two eggs into a tall beaker. Add ¾ of your flour, ¾ of your milk, and whisk away. Using a Bamix stick blender with the whisk ending will not only save you time, but more importantly it will ‘aerate’ the batter, making it soft and fluffy. Slowly add the remaining flour and milk while blending continuously. Add the salt, maple syrup, and vanilla. At this point your batter should be rather thick. Add in the soda water to lighten the batter up a little. If you do not have soda water (carbonated), you can use some more milk, but the crepes will not be as fluffy. When finished the batter should be dense, but still flowing rather smoothly – think paint pouring out of a can.
Turn down the heat to about ¾ setting and place a minuscule amount of oil on the hot pan. It helps to prepare a small bowl of oil – dip your brush in the oil and brush away (a spray bottle filled with oil also works well – one or two pumps). Pour the batter. A good trick is to place the pan at a 45 degree angle and pour the batter on the upper part of the pan, letting it flow down.
Twist the pan around to spread the batter evenly, and pour any remaining batter back into the beaker. This way your crepes will be thin, and they simply taste better that way. After about 20 – 30 seconds you can flip the crepe using a spatula – just make sure you use plastic or wood not to scratch the non-stick coating. The first crepe can ‘stick’ and fall apart (it happens because your pan is not hot enough), but don’t get discouraged, the second one should already come out well. Once flipped, keep the crepe frying for another 20-30 seconds or so until it begins developing a light golden brown color. Don’t over do it, a crepe that’s not overcooked is softer and more tasty. When ready, ‘off she goes’. Spread it with jam or organic maple syrup, fold it over in half, and someone’s morning just got better. Don’t be afraid to throw a few banana slices in there as well. Repeat the process, but from now on use only ⅔ as much oil as before. On a hiking day you can wash the crepes down with some OJ or warm honey lemon tea. On a non-hiking day, we recommend coco. One final word: practice making crepes on a non-hiking day to learn how to get it right, that way you won’t be struggling when in a hurry to get moving in the morning.
A Breakfast Platter
If the previous two options still don’t tickle your fancy, another good breakfast alternative before a day of hiking is a simple breakfast platter. Throw a few slices of whole-grain toast into the toaster, skin and slice up some cucumber, one or two tomatoes, a few leaves of lettuce, a few slices of cold-cuts (choose cuts that are not too heavy, turkey breast is a good idea). Use butter or cream cheese if you wish, but again, keep it light. Alfa sprouts add a great ‘crisp’, or you can add some chives – just not too much. Yellow cheese before a hike is a question mark – cheese is difficult to digest. You know your family the best, so make your decision based on experience. What do we think about cheese? The answer is in the photo.
This breakfast combo goes well with eggs, ideally scrambled, but have them any way you like. This platter will go a long way to keep you happy on the trail. Once again, warm honey lemon tea will help with digesting the meal.
Remember, a well fed person is a happy person; TheHikingChild is a well fed child. A solid breakfast is the first step to making it happen. Chow down!