5 Lightweight Backpacking Breakfast Cereal Recipes

After eating store-bought oatmeal packets for years, I recently started making my own backpacking breakfast cereals. They are healthier, higher calorie, and better tasting than most store-bought cereals (which are usually just rolled oats with artificial flavors).

The trade-off is some convenience (requires assembling meals in advance and sending mail-drops on longer hikes.) But, it’s a nice way to break the monotony of oatmeal every morning.

Here are five of my new favorite breakfast cereal recipes:

Note: You can substitute any cereal grains you like in these recipes. My personal favorites are steel-cut oats, hominy grits and crunchy high protein granola because of their chunky, grainy, non-mushy textures.


#1 Apple Cinnamon Pecan Oatmeal

Serves: 1     Calories: 535     Dry Weight: 3.9 oz (137 cals per ounce)

Apple Cinnamon Pecan Oatmeal

Ingredients: 

1/4 cup Quick Steel Cut Oats
1/4 cup Honeyville Freeze Dried Apples
1/4 cup Chopped Pecans
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tbsp Peak Dry Whole Milk Powder
1 tbsp Honeyville Powdered Butter
1/8 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1 cup Water

Instructions:

1. At home, measure all ingredients into a Ziploc baggy to make a single-serving packet.
2. In camp, mix cereal and water in cook pot. Cover and bring to boil over high heat.
3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
4. Transfer to pot cozy and let sit for 5 minutes.
5. Stir and eat.


#2 Peach Almond Grits

Serves: 1     Calories: 520     Dry Weight: 4.2 oz (124 cals per ounce)

Peach Almond Grits

Ingredients: 

1/4 cup Quick Hominy Grits
1/4 cup Honeyville Freeze Dried Peaches
1/4 cup Slivered Almonds
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tbsp Peak Dry Whole Milk Powder
1 tbsp Honeyville Powdered Butter
1/8 tsp Salt
1 cup Water

Instructions:

1. At home, measure all ingredients into a Ziploc baggy to make a single-serving packet.
2. In camp, mix cereal and water in cook pot. Cover and bring to boil over high heat.
3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
4. Transfer to pot cozy and let sit for 5 minutes.
5. Stir and eat.


#3 Banana Nut Oatmeal

Serves: 1     Calories: 555     Dry Weight: 4.4 oz (126 cals per ounce)

Banana Nut Oatmeal

Ingredients: 

1/4 cup Quick Steel Cut Oats
1/4 cup Honeyville Freeze Dried Bananas
1/4 cup Chopped Walnuts
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tbsp Peak Dry Whole Milk Powder
1 tbsp Honeyville Powdered Butter
1/8 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Cinnamon
1 cup Water

Instructions:

1. At home, measure all ingredients into a Ziploc baggy to make a single-serving packet.
2. In camp, mix cereal and water in cook pot. Cover and bring to boil over high heat.
3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
4. Transfer to pot cozy and let sit for 5 minutes.
5. Stir and eat.


#4 Very Berry Granola

Serves: 1     Calories: 660     Dry Weight: 5.1 oz (129 cals per ounce)

Very Berry Granola

Ingredients: 

1/2 cup Nature Valley High Protein Granola
1/4 cup Honeyville Freeze Dried Strawberries
1/4 cup Honeyville Freeze Dried Blueberries
1/4 cup Slivered Almonds
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Peak Dry Whole Milk Powder
1 cup Cold Water

Instructions:

1. At home, measure all ingredients into a Ziploc baggy to make a single-serving packet.
2. In camp, mix cereal and cold water in cook pot (or bowl).
3. Stir until milk powder is dissolved and eat.


#5 Strawberry Banana Granola

Serves: 1     Calories: 625     Dry Weight: 4.5 oz (139 cals per ounce)

Strawberry Banana Granola

Ingredients: 

1/2 cup Nature Valley High Protein Granola
1/4 cup Honeyville Freeze Dried Strawberries
1/4 cup Honeyville Dehydrated Banana Chips
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Peak Dry Whole Milk Powder
1 cup Cold Water

Instructions:

1. At home, measure all ingredients into a Ziploc baggy to make a single-serving packet.
2. In camp, mix cereal and cold water in cook pot (or bowl).
3. Stir until milk powder is dissolved and eat.


Sides: Honey Bun & Coffee

Whenever I need to bump up the calories I add a Little Debbie Honey Bun to my breakfast. One bun provides an extra 230 calories and weighs an ultralight 1.7 ounces. I also like a cup of Starbucks VIA Instant Coffee (which tastes almost as good as freshly ground coffee.)

What are your favorite backpacking breakfast recipes? Please post in the comments below…

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16 Responses to “5 Lightweight Backpacking Breakfast Cereal Recipes”

  1. Are the honeybuns included in your calorie count? Because that seems really high for oatmeal and grits.

    • @Joel: The honeybuns are not included in the calorie counts. The fruit, nuts, sugar, powdered milk and butter really helps to crank up the calories in the cereal. A honeybun would add an extra 230 calories (and 1.7 oz of weight.)

  2. Dave The Mostly Green, Some Grey Reply December 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Erik, how are you packing those honeybuns & keep them from getting smooshed? Or does it matter really. What’s your food stuff bag system?

    • @Dave: I buy the honeybuns in boxes of six and the buns are individually wrapped. I pack as many as needed in a quart-sized ziploc baggy, which goes inside my food bag. They usually do get kind of squished, but still taste good. My food bag is a Granite Gear Air Zippsack. The zipper top makes it easy to root around inside and find stuff without having to dump everything out.

  3. hi erik
    I add instant cappuccino, to cereals, the coffee and chocolate give it an extra flavor and calories

  4. Erik,
    For the steel cut oats, are you precooking and dehydrating them first? I eat SCO weekly at home and know they cook better if I let them sit in the water overnight. Just curious….

    • @Leigh: I don’t pre-cook the steel cut oats. But I do add them to the water right out of the gate (as opposed to waiting for the water to boil first). I find that few extra minutes in the water while it’s coming up to a boil, plus a few minutes of simmering, then five minutes in the pot cozy is good enough to cook them to my liking.

  5. You really know how to mess up Georgia Icecream, ie “grits”. Lol

    • @Dale: I know sweet grit recipes are not very popular among Southerners. But, being a Californian, I’m free to experiment and perform all sorts of grit sacrilege. The Peach Almond grits is one of my favorite abominations. Tastes almost like Peach Cobbler :)

  6. Erik,
    I am really fond of Coaches Oats from Costco. The don’t need to cook as long as steel cut oats but aren’t as processed as quick oats. And I just discovered another add in at Costco – Kirkland brand pecan-cashew nut crisp, with cinnamon apples and peaches. 1 ounce is 1/4 cup and provides 150 calories. Tried some in my Coaches Oats the other day, with some butter and brown sugar, and it was delicious!

  7. Erik- How does the Peak brand milk powder compare to Nido? Since the E.U. has high food standards, one would assume that the Dutch produced Peak powder would be produced with better raw ingredients, as opposed to the Mexico produced Nido milk powder.

    Also, Costco is now selling Bob’s Red Mill Museli in the usual Costco-esque sizes. My go-to trail breakfast.

    And finally, be aware that unless your corn based cereal (i.e. grits, etc.)is labeled organic, it is most likely made with GMO corn, as 88% of all the U.S. corn produced is now GMO.

    • @Watertank: I don’t know about the quality of Peak Powdered Milk vs. Nestle Nido. But they both taste good to me. Much better than non-fat powdered milk (which tastes like rainwater strained through an old sock.)

      Bob’s Red Mill also makes Organic Grits. I have a bag of these in my cupboard waiting to be tried when I run out of regular grits.

  8. Nice recipes. I also enjoy a Carnation breakfast drink with my meal. Nice calorie boost, has some maltodextrin and some vitamins.

  9. South By Southwest Reply February 10, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    Could dehydrated food items be just as easily used? Or do you not recommend them as a substitute? I’m currently working on a menu for a long distance trip and I’m working on a budget here so I would prefer to use dehydrated foods. Also, these recipes look great!

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