Breakfast. It’s the meal that gets you moving in the morning—and the one you should never skip. Sure, you can scarf down a meal bar as you’re packing up, but if you’re not racing to get the trail under your boots, it’s worth taking the time to do breakfast right. As the first entry in our new Trail Food Taste-Off series, our panel sampled a selection of easy-to-prepare breakfast meals—packed with calories, protein and carbs—for starting the day on the right foot. Here are our faves.
“So good, I would eat it at home!” — Bright
At the top of our list, this tasty scramble was an overwhelming favorite. This quick-cooking dish comes together in just minutes: add water to the egg mixture, stir to mix, fry up in your pan for a few minutes and dig in. Loaded with bits of veggies, mushrooms and cheese, you can enjoy it on its own, or load it into a tortilla for a tasty breakfast burrito. There’s also a carnivore’s variety that includes crumbles of spicy pork sausage—extra yummy!
SERVINGS: 1 CALORIES: 250 PROTEIN: 12g CARBS: 5g (GF)
For a little zip in our morning meal, we loved this tasty, effortless dish. Preparation is as easy as it gets: boil water, pour in and mix. After just 10 minutes, you’re ready to chow down on loads of hearty potatoes mixed with shredded beef, black beans and veggies—with just the right amount of spice—to get you fueled up for the day ahead. This is another good one to wrap up in a tortilla, and maybe add some of your own cheese for even more flavor!
SERVINGS: 2 CALORIES: 250 PROTEIN: 11g CARBS: 31g
This hot cereal takes a little more effort to prepare, but we really enjoyed this sweet, nutty breakfast option. Just bring 4 ounces of water to a boil, add 4 ounces of cereal, simmer and stir for 10 minutes. Low on sodium, packed with nutritional ingredients and offering a pleasant consistency (not mushy), this hearty, hot cereal is loaded with roasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and blueberries and just a touch of cane sugar for a great morning start.
SERVINGS: 3 CALORIES: 240 PROTEIN: 9g CARBS: 37g (GF, V)
“I love this! A great milk and cereal on trail.” — Sugar
Who says you can’t have a good ol’ bowl of granola on the trail? This all-in-one pouch is packed with whole grain oats, figs, blueberries, nuts and a touch of maple syrup and honey—and the milk (powdered) is right in the package. Just add water, stir and dig in. Easy peasy! And the best thing, this single-serving pouch is loaded with the fuel you need if you’re starting your day with a big ascent, or need to push through long miles to your next destination.
SERVINGS: 1 CALORIES: 580 PROTEIN: 17g CARBS: 74g (GF)
Rounding out our Top 5 breakfast dishes is another tasty egg scramble. Similar to the other scramble, all that’s required is a little water; just mix and cook. This one requires you to bring along your own squirt of cooking oil, otherwise you’ll be cleaning up a messy pan. This protein-packed dish features seasoned taco meat and veggies for adding some zesty spice to your breakfast routine. Carry extra tortillas and hot sauce for burritos!
SERVINGS: 2 CALORIES: 265 PROTEIN: 23g CARBS: 14g
For a quick morning “jump start,” add one of these tasty smoothies to your breakfast menu. Preparation is a piece of cake—just add 12 ounces of water, shake, let set for a few minutes then enjoy. They’re a great alternative to a trail bar if you’re in a hurry, or as a supplement to your morning meal for an extra boost of energy—great if you have a tough day ahead. We like the Peach-Passionfruit (info below) and Berry-Berry flavors.
SERVINGS: 1 CALORIES: 430 PROTEIN: 37g CARBS: 55g (GF)
What’s your favorite breakfast meal on trail? Leave us a comment below.
Our Trail Food Taste-Off series continues next week with snack bars. Stay tuned!
PCT: Oregon’s Trail Foods Taste-Off panel consists of a selection of seasoned Pacific Crest Trail section- and thru-hikers, each with years of on-trail experience. Selections and rankings are based on aggregated scoring of a variety of meal offerings.