Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Cheap, calorie dense food that is portable and doesn't take up much space?

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Cheap, calorie dense food that is portable and doesn't take up much space?

Old 07-01-15, 03:49 PM
  #1  
Kertrek
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 172

Bikes: Trek 7000, Specialized Allez & Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Cheap, calorie dense food that is portable and doesn't take up much space?

Of course I want to eat healthy and balanced, but high-calories is important, since I have limited space. I've looked at backpacking food and it tends to be ridiculously overpriced and often only has a few hundred calories, though it has "meal" in the title. I'm skinny as it is, so eating a $6 camping meal that's only a few hundred calories is not the best idea.. What are some good, healthy food options that won't take too much space in my bags, but will give me the high calories I need while touring...and won't cost an arm and a leg?
Kertrek is offline  
Old 07-01-15, 03:54 PM
  #2  
10 Wheels
Galveston County Texas
 
10 Wheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: In The Wind
Posts: 32,853

Bikes: 02 GTO, 2011 Magnum

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1269 Post(s)
Liked 1,029 Times in 512 Posts
Amazon.com: COS-SL Jif to Go Natural Creamy Peanut Butter 1.5 Oz - 36 Individual Cups

Just carry a small jar of peanut butter.

$1.00...https://www.dollartree.com/Food-Snack...?method=search

https://www.dollartree.com/Food-Snack...6555/index.pro

Also jam in individual packs

carry some bread.
__________________
Fred "The Real Fred"


Last edited by 10 Wheels; 07-01-15 at 04:00 PM.
10 Wheels is offline  
Old 07-01-15, 03:55 PM
  #3  
Cyclebum
Senior Member
 
Cyclebum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: NE Tx
Posts: 2,766

Bikes: Tour Easy, Linear USS, Lightening Thunderbolt, custom DF, Raleigh hybrid, Felt time trial

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Pepper Jack cheese(never spoils), peanut butter(obvious), Snicker bars, and raw honey are my go to food for cals. A bottle of V-8 provides the balance and some minerals, as needed. Hint: spoon the peanut butter(smooth)into a zip lock, double bag. Cut out a corner and squeeze it out like the astronauts do. Avoids the bulk and weight of a jar.
Cyclebum is offline  
Old 07-01-15, 04:37 PM
  #4  
andrewclaus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO and Tucson, AZ
Posts: 2,595

Bikes: 2016 Fuji Tread, 1983 Trek 520

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 599 Post(s)
Liked 478 Times in 315 Posts
Fat has twice the calorie density of carbs. Peanut butter is good, so is cheese, so is olive oil. Tree nuts are more expensive but probably better for you. Tortillas have a pretty good fat content and they pack well and last many days. Dried fruit has lower calorie density but packs well and is good for quick energy. I always have a bag of cashews and a bag of raisins, a stack of tortillas and a block of cheese and/or a jar of PB. If you like oats, they pack well but have lower calorie density. Rolled oats are parboiled in processing and can be eaten without further cooking, with nuts and raisins (muesli).
andrewclaus is offline  
Old 07-01-15, 04:58 PM
  #5  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,343 Times in 850 Posts
I liked European Nutella, I think US uses a corn based rather than a cane based Sugar + Filbert butter & Chocolate,
spread it on some sliced baguettes..
fietsbob is offline  
Old 07-01-15, 05:03 PM
  #6  
KLiNCK
Optically Corrected
 
KLiNCK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Posts: 582

Bikes: 2012 Specialized Sirrus , 2012 Specialized Roubaix Comp

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 105 Post(s)
Liked 66 Times in 30 Posts


Trust the Newton.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
fig newton.jpg (18.4 KB, 21 views)
KLiNCK is offline  
Old 07-01-15, 05:46 PM
  #7  
TheLibrarian
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Hudson Valley, New York
Posts: 481

Bikes: 2014 Giant Roam

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 84 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Mayonaise is a super food along with peanut butter. High fat- high calorie content. Spoils so you'd need those individual sealed packets from the deli or gas station. Spread it on whatever makes sense. Depending on the length of the tour, someone said it doesn't matter what you eat when you're riding but what you ate in the days leading up to the ride. Avocado is supposed to be pretty good too but i think they taste like soap.

Canned tuna and chocolate.

Last edited by TheLibrarian; 07-01-15 at 05:50 PM.
TheLibrarian is offline  
Old 07-01-15, 05:48 PM
  #8  
mel2012
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 331
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 15 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
It's not super dense, but we love dry-roasted edamame. It's packed with protein and fiber, so it's very filling without being fattening. If you have a Smart and Final grocery store near you, they have the large containers for less than Amazon.

Amazon.com : Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame, Lightly Salted, 27 Ounce : Snack Nuts And Seeds : Grocery & Gourmet Food
mel2012 is offline  
Old 07-01-15, 06:03 PM
  #9  
bikenh
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 1,230
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 132 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 13 Times in 12 Posts
Bagels, high in calories, high in carbs, low in fat, high in protein, high in sodium(helps to keep you from getting dehydrated), comes in many varieties. I can eat through 6-12 of them a day. I have been the past several days while on the trip I'm on right now. Bagels and bananas, you can't go wrong. I will admit...I don't have a sense of taste or smell so I eat and drink the same thing day in, day out and it doesn't bother me any. I drink pure salt water just to try to keep the sodium levels up and it still isn't working.
bikenh is offline  
Old 07-01-15, 06:33 PM
  #10  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,131
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 956 Post(s)
Liked 423 Times in 326 Posts
I agree on the backpacker meals. Not only are freeze dried meals expensive, that are generally pretty nasty IMO. I do like a lot of freeze dried items from Honeyville though.

What kind of touring are you planning to do? Most bike touring allows you to but food pretty much every day so you don't need to worry too much about carrying much food. That said if you must carry much food, I'd carry stuff like foil packed tuna, instant oatmeal, ramen noodles, peanut butter, jelly, honey, tortillas, hard cheese, hard salami, freeze dried refried beans, gorp, dried fruits, fig newtons, and so on.

Much better to buy every day and buy what you are hungry for though. The exception would be off road touring where you will be in the back country for longish periods.
__________________
Pete in Tallahassee
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https:/www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1


staehpj1 is online now  
Old 07-01-15, 07:06 PM
  #11  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 36,009
Mentioned: 204 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16566 Post(s)
Liked 11,499 Times in 5,549 Posts
I agree with buying food as you go if that is possible. But if not, a 1 lb. bag (not box) of pasta doesn't take up much space and can last for at least two dinners. Pair that with something simple like a can of white beans, some fresh garlic and olive oil and you have good "emergency" meal. I made this on a day where I had to carry food for a long distance:

Attached Images
File Type: jpg
IMG_2313.jpg (99.3 KB, 50 views)
indyfabz is offline  
Old 07-01-15, 07:11 PM
  #12  
Dave Cutter
Senior Member
 
Dave Cutter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: D'uh... I am a Cutter
Posts: 6,159

Bikes: '17 Access Old Turnpike Gravel bike, '14 Trek 1.1, '13 Cannondale CAAD 10, '98 CAD 2, R300

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1571 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 8 Posts
Pop Tarts (off brand names save money).
Dave Cutter is offline  
Old 07-01-15, 09:08 PM
  #13  
BigAura
 
BigAura's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Chapin, SC
Posts: 3,423

Bikes: all steel stable: surly world troller, paris sport fixed, fuji ss

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 621 Post(s)
Liked 54 Times in 32 Posts
Knorr's Rice Sides are $1 per package, high calorie, light weight, and taste good too. I mix in a package of salmon, tuna, or walnuts for protein.

Last edited by BigAura; 07-01-15 at 09:13 PM.
BigAura is offline  
Old 07-02-15, 12:24 AM
  #14  
DropBarFan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 3,150

Bikes: 2013 Surly Disc Trucker, 2004 Novara Randonee , old fixie , etc

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 671 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 49 Times in 43 Posts
Originally Posted by Kertrek View Post
Of course I want to eat healthy and balanced, but high-calories is important, since I have limited space. I've looked at backpacking food and it tends to be ridiculously overpriced and often only has a few hundred calories, though it has "meal" in the title. I'm skinny as it is, so eating a $6 camping meal that's only a few hundred calories is not the best idea.. What are some good, healthy food options that won't take too much space in my bags, but will give me the high calories I need while touring...and won't cost an arm and a leg?

Dry white rice is fairly light for a starch base. Scandinavian whole-grain crisp bread is also pretty light. One could also take dry mung beans & sprout them for 1-2 days while riding (assuming mild temps) for combining w/grains. Sprouted mung beans are very digestible & nutritious; OK even if uncooked. & then you could add on fats for extra calories if needed.
DropBarFan is offline  
Old 07-02-15, 12:39 AM
  #15  
prathmann
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Bay Area, Calif.
Posts: 7,239
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 659 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 5 Posts
The peanut butter and bread mentioned is my standard emergency food that I almost always carry in case the planned grocery stop doesn't materialize. For cooked meals I like various pasta options - mac/cheese, spaghetti, etc. I usually add some extra ingredients like tuna and vegetables. Grocery stores usually carry a variety of 'all included' pasta meals that are about as light as freeze-dried but tastier and much cheaper. They also frequently have sub sandwiches that are reasonably priced and travel well.
prathmann is offline  
Old 07-02-15, 12:48 AM
  #16  
gpsblake
Walmart bike rider
 
gpsblake's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 2,088
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 104 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 17 Posts
The problem with bread is that it does take up a lot of space. Also tends to get squished. If you must carry break, carry Italian or French bread, they are resistant to being squished. Peanut butter is tons of calories for the size. What I like to do is buy a loaf of french bread, peanut butter jar and a cheap 12oz prepacked meat. Those three items alone, give you over 3,000 calories.
gpsblake is offline  
Old 07-02-15, 05:04 AM
  #17  
BigAura
 
BigAura's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Chapin, SC
Posts: 3,423

Bikes: all steel stable: surly world troller, paris sport fixed, fuji ss

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 621 Post(s)
Liked 54 Times in 32 Posts
Probably your cheapest way to go is ramen noodles. For lunch I boil water, throw in two ramen noodle packs (but only use one flavor-pack or less) and turn off heat and cozy-wrap my pot. I'll also add fresh onions, spinach, or other vegetables to the mix, when I have access to fresh food.
BigAura is offline  
Old 07-02-15, 06:12 AM
  #18  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,131
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 956 Post(s)
Liked 423 Times in 326 Posts
Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
Probably your cheapest way to go is ramen noodles. For lunch I boil water, throw in two ramen noodle packs (but only use one flavor-pack or less) and turn off heat and cozy-wrap my pot. I'll also add fresh onions, spinach, or other vegetables to the mix, when I have access to fresh food.
Yeah, I too like ramen noodles for touring and backpacking. After it is cooked, I like to add foil pack tuna and butter if I have it. With the addition of the tuna and butter I find one pack to be enough. I use just enough water so that most of it is absorbed or boiled away and don't drain it. Sometimes I add a little hot sauce. Freeze dried peas are also a nice addition if you have them.
__________________
Pete in Tallahassee
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https:/www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1


staehpj1 is online now  
Old 07-02-15, 06:30 AM
  #19  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 9,913

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2909 Post(s)
Liked 1,049 Times in 844 Posts
Water weight has zero calories, so anything with water in it has excess weight.

Generally speaking fat has 9 calories per gram of weight, carbs and protein only 4 calories per gram. (One significant digit, so there is room for error here.) So, try to get enough fat. Olive oil can be added to a lot of things without detriment. But, you need some balance, you can't eat sticks of butter while you swill from a jug of olive oil and expect to live very long. So aim for a mix of protein, carbs and fats. Peanut butter on tortillas gives a good mix of fat and carbs and protein, if you want to carry a bit more water and flavor you could add jam or jelly or honey to it.

Keep in mind that carbs are fast energy, the body can't use fat and protein very fast, so during the day while exerting yourself, that is when you need more carbs, less fats and protein.

Although Ramen has mostly carbs, it is extraordinarily light weight and easy to make but might be more bulk than you want. It can be added to other one pot meals to increase carb calories.

Pasta is mostly carbs and dried pasta is very dense. McCormick makes a spaghetti sauce powder mix that you add tomato paste and water. Add some diced beef jerky for more protein and maybe a shot of olive oil, you have an outstanding meal that was pretty light weight. Tomato paste in a tube costs a lot more than in a can, but is much more convenient, especially if you do not want to carry a can opener.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg
20IMGP5218.jpg (78.2 KB, 26 views)

Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 07-02-15 at 07:19 AM.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 07-02-15, 07:09 AM
  #20  
MichaelW
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: England
Posts: 12,948
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Pesto keeps well on the road. Olive oil is a good, versatile calorie source.
For carbs, couscous is efficient for fuel and water.
Preserved sausage meat such as chorizo is rich in fat. I like 1"-1 1/2" sliced into pasta+pesto
MichaelW is offline  
Old 07-02-15, 07:20 AM
  #21  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,131
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 956 Post(s)
Liked 423 Times in 326 Posts
In your other posts you sound like you plan to do road touring. My experience has been that on the road it is exceedingly rare to need to have much more than 36 hours of food carried at a time and a lot of the time that much isn't necessary. I have done a fair number of long tours including a couple coast to coast ones and 36 hours is the longest time between stores that I can remember and I only recall a few of those. Unless you have some very special reason to carry more than just a little extra just in case, I think it is much more pleasant to keep the load light and shop daily when you can. You will have a much better chance of eating fresh foods that way. If you are camping near a town, riding into town to shop for dinner allows you to have fresh stuff that doesn't travel well without needing to lug it along. Some fresh veggies, or a bag salad are wonderful things when you are on a tour.

If you do need to carry a lot, one other thing that travels well, is light and compact, and hasn't been mentioned is dried hummus.
__________________
Pete in Tallahassee
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https:/www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1


staehpj1 is online now  
Old 07-02-15, 07:25 AM
  #22  
Lou Skannon
Senior Member
 
Lou Skannon's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 139
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Tins of Tuna Salad. Small sturdy packaging and in a variety of flavours. Found almost everywhere in France.
Lou Skannon is offline  
Old 07-02-15, 09:29 AM
  #23  
Leebo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 5,721

Bikes: Kona Dawg, Surly 1x1, Karate Monkey, Rockhopper, Crosscheck , Burley Runabout,

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 854 Post(s)
Liked 111 Times in 66 Posts
Originally Posted by KLiNCK View Post


Trust the Newton.
I just go with dried figs. Yummy.
Leebo is offline  
Old 07-02-15, 11:29 PM
  #24  
DropBarFan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 3,150

Bikes: 2013 Surly Disc Trucker, 2004 Novara Randonee , old fixie , etc

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 671 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 49 Times in 43 Posts
Ramen noodles are super-salty. Plain pasta doesn't take very long to cook up & doesn't include all the salt. @ Lou Skannon: once in Paris I bought a can of lentils at a quick-mart & it was delicious. I even took the uneaten portion on the plane ride back to supplement the plane dinner.

BTW at Indian groceries one can buy split dried "dal" (lentils basically) like mung/urad etc. Takes about 30-45 minutes to cook but very digestible & satisfying...one can add veggies too. BTW I haven't tried it but I suppose one could use a food dehydrator to dry veggies for touring.
DropBarFan is offline  
Old 07-03-15, 05:10 AM
  #25  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,131
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 956 Post(s)
Liked 423 Times in 326 Posts
Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Ramen noodles are super-salty.
Yeah true, but I find that on warm weather long mileage tours I crave salt like crazy and would be adding salt if they weren't. Also a lot of the salt is in the seasoning packet which you can leave out and used herbs, hot sauce, or whatever to add flavor if you want.

Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
once in Paris I bought a can of lentils at a quick-mart & it was delicious. I even took the uneaten portion on the plane ride back to supplement the plane dinner.
That reminds me... I said I dislike freeze dried backpacker meals, but I have gotten some European ones out of hiker boxes on the JMT, left by European hikers and they were delicious. They were WAY better than Mountain House. The labels were in French, but I don't recall the brand. Still I don't see much use for them on road bicycle tours where there are stores every day or at least every few days.
__________________
Pete in Tallahassee
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https:/www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1


staehpj1 is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.