Top Tips for eating on your DofE Expedition
The adventure stage of the Duke of Edinburgh Award is a thrilling chapter that pushes participants out of their comfort zones, fostering resilience, teamwork, and self-reliance. This phase challenges young individuals to navigate the great outdoors, honing their map-reading skills, camping proficiency, and overall outdoor survival capabilities.
Amidst the breathtaking landscapes and physical exertion, the importance of fueling your body with good food becomes paramount. On your expedition you will burn lots of calories- more than your body will be used to, therefor a well-balanced diet plays a crucial role in sustaining physical and mental stamina. Participants quickly learn that the right nutrition is not just a matter of taste but an essential element for maintaining optimal performance and well-being during the challenging adventure stage. Properly fueling your body with nutritious meals not only ensures endurance on the expedition but also contributes to a more fun and enjoyable Duke of Edinburgh experience.
At My Adventure, we run the the adventure stage of the Duke of Edinburgh expedition for Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. Using our extensive knowledge of the outdoors, expeditions and the Duke of Edinburgh award, we have noted down our top tips for eating on the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Make a meal plan before your expedition and pack everything you need in advance.
Download the Duke of Edinburgh Meal Planner here
The food you take on your expedition doesn’t have to be bland and boring, you can still eat great food! It’s always a good idea to make a meal plan that includes tasty foods- give yourself something to look forward too, expedition life can be tough. Here are my favourite meals on expedition:
Pancakes: You can’t go wrong with pancakes! Bring along some pre-made pancake mix and simply add water. You can top them off with maple syrup, jam, or nut butter for an extra boost of energy.
Wraps: Wraps are a great lunch option because they’re easy to pack and customize. Bring along some tortillas, your favourite deli meat or veggies, and condiments like mustard, mayo (save miniature sachets from fast-food joints)
One-pot pasta: Pasta is an easy option that can be customized with a variety of sauces and toppings. You can bring along pre-made pasta sauce- add a protein supplement if wanted (chorizo is my go too).
Try your food
When you are out on expedition, you will not have access to pop into the shops to buy some snacks or new food if you decide you don’t like the food you brought with you. Make sure you have tried all the food you are planning on taking, before you set off. It is essential that you get enough calories when you are on your expedition, so missing a meal is not an option, even if you don’t like your food- good nutrition is a key factor in having a happy expedition.
Going on your Duke of Expedition is also a good time to try new things, so why don’t you try something new that you may not normally eat- you might surprise yourself!
Consider nutritional needs
It is essential that the food you decide to take on your DofE expedition has enough calories to keep you going for the duration of the whole exped. Your meals should provide at least 3000-5000 calories per day that are high in calories, sugars and fats.
Packing does not mean don’t pack enough food to keep you going, by packing light, I mean you should think about the weight of the food you will be taking- for example, a can of baked beans are heavy and bulky, whereas a small packet of couscous is lightweight and filling.
Top tips for packing light for your DofE expedition meals:
- Remove excess packing before your expedition- Remember to Leave No Trace so you must carry all packaging rubbish home with you
- Pre-pack your meals into Ziplock bags
- Light-weight, high calorie, filling food is best- so avoid packing cans.
- Dried-cured, smoked meats or vegetarian equivalents last well and are lightweight
Pack food that wont go off
Taking food on expedition that is likely to go off is no good- the last thing you want on expedition is to have food poisoning. Do not take food that has to be stored in the fridge or freezer- such as milk, yoghurt or raw/some processed meat.
Get good equipment
Part of your Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition is showing you can cooking a hot meal on cooking equipment outside, the easiest way to do this is by using a camping stove. Cooking outside is great fun and is also a great team building activity with your peers, there is also nothing better than relaxing at camp and having a hot meal after a long day on your feet.
Cooking on a camping stove can take a little practice, so make sure you practice cooking outside in all weather conditions before you head out on expedition.
The cooking equipment you will need for expedition it:
- Gas for the stove
- Washing-up equipment
Check out our favourite pieces of camping cooking equipment here:
Pack your food neatly
One of my biggest tips when you are packing for your expedition is keep your kit organised! This includes all your food and cooking equipment- there is nothing worse than having to pull all your kit out of your bag to find your food when you are tired, hungry and cold.
Here are my top tips for keeping your cooking equipment organised on expedition:
- Use waterproof dry bags
- Pack spare carrier bags- these are always handy to sit on and carry home rubbish
- Keep all your cooking equipment and food in one place/dry bag
- Meal prep by using ziploc bags with dry ‘just add water’ ingredients
- Carry on-the-go sweets/treats in your pockets to keep sugar levels high when you are walking
Your Duke of Edinburgh expedition is supposed to be fun! Give yourself a little something to look forward to at meal times and whilst you are walking on expedition- I always carry sweets in my pocket that I like to nibble on as we are on the go, this keeps my sugar levels up and keeps me distracted if it is cold and wet.
At the end of a long day in the cold, wet weather, it is always nice to have a cuppa back at camp, so prep some a ‘tea kit’ in your ziplock bags: remember to add sugar and milk powder if that’s what you have at home.
- Top Ten tips for your Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition here
- A guide to the Duke of Edinburgh Award: here
- A guide to the Duke of Edinburgh Award: Silver here
- A guide to the Duke of Edinburgh Award: Gold here
- Duke of Edinburgh award: Essential equipment: here
- Top Tips for Backpacking in Scotland: here
- The best head torches for adventures in the outdoors: here
- Stag Party Adventures Edinburgh: here
- Planning a Hen Party to Edinburgh: here
- Hen Party Adventures Edinburgh: here