UKC

Good food for low temperatures

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 Baron Weasel 27 Jan 2021

What do people like to eat when winter climbing?

I find most foods very unappetising when it's freezing. The best thing I've found is heavy fruit cake, although sweet stuff in general doesn't really agree with me so I'm looking for something more savoury ideally.

The ideas I've had but not tried yet is to carry a flask with some chunky soup in it or possibly a protein shake which could have some instant coffee too for a caffeine hit.

All ideas welcome because half of the time I carry food that I don't eat because its not appetising until I'm back in a warm vehicle or home. 

1
 Exile 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I carry Trek bars and quite like them. (I think you are South Lakes based - Booths or Sainsburys.)  I also sometimes break up a couple of Yorkie bars and mix with fruit and nuts and have a bag of that in my pocket. 

 SteveJC94 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Jelly cubes, Pepperamis, Soreen and Brioche all seem to work well. I made the mistake of taking a Mars bar on my first winter trip - I'm surprised I had any teeth left afterwards! 

 LakesWinter 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Kelloggs raisin bakes are good - not too sweet. I eat half a bar at a time and supplement with jelly babies on stances. I also take a packet of nuts too to add some savoury snacks to the day too.

 Baron Weasel 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Exile:

Trek bars and the aldi equivalent (sadly discontinued) have been one of my go to snacks as have a bag of nuts and raisins, but I don't ever want to eat enough for proper sustenance and usually eat them afterwards. 

1
 Kevin Woods 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I've always had shortbread and cakes for on the move food in winter. Never got on well with nuts unfortunately. 

In reply to Baron Weasel:

>The ideas I've had but not tried yet is to carry a flask with some chunky soup in it or possibly a protein shake which could have some instant coffee too for a caffeine hit.

If you're taking a flask, have you considered a flask of boiling water?

You can add it to a re-hydrate meal, then use the pouch to warm you hands, until dinner is ready. Take some soup, coffee or hot choc sachets for a warm drink depending on what you fancy later. You then have one system, but several options. 

As for protein powder, have a look at bulking powder. It's ~50/50 protein and carbs, usually oats, and some multivits. Some don't taste great, but you could add coffee powder. Add hot water for porridge, can also be made up with cold water.

 Baron Weasel 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Kevin Woods:

> I've always had shortbread and cakes for on the move food in winter. Never got on well with nuts unfortunately. 

I crash if I have too much sugar and generally have almost none these days, but I can imagine that cake would be good otherwise. 

1
 Baron Weasel 27 Jan 2021
In reply to dread-i:

I like the idea of boiling water and a rehydrated meal as long as the meal is good. Any recommendations? 

1
 LakesWinter 27 Jan 2021
In reply to SteveJC94:

You can wipe your bum on a soreen too if needs be. Allegedly it feels pleasantly squishy.

2
 ianstevens 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

In which case you'll hate my idea... I just snack all day - flapjacks mainly, soft ones that freeze okay. Make "lunch" and just leave it in the car to eat on return. 

 Eric9Points 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I used to buy a bag of fun sized Mars bars or Snickers. They were small enough to put in your mouth whole which eliminated the risk of breaking your front teeth and you could keep them stuffed into different pockets so they were easy to get at when on a belay.

Post edited at 13:11
 Myr 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I think the winter climbing nutrition dogma is to have a jelly baby sugar spike every few hours, drink no fluids, and then wonder why you're having such a hard time. Personally I have a much better time when I eat and drink as normally as possible.

> I find most foods very unappetising when it's freezing.

Do you mean when the food is freezing or when the weather is cold? If the former then you can get insulated food containers, or maybe pack a tupperware of warm food wrapped in your belay jacket and eat when you're racking up. If the latter then it's hard to think of a solution...

 Rick Graham 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

If you like savoury, what about cold pizza?

Fold in half and squash together when warm. Carry in a plastic bag and take a bite or just eat the lot.

1
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Whatever the environment — UK hills, UK winter, alpine — I have a massive bag of mixed nuts and dark chocolate, and a few cereal bars or slices of homemade flapjack in my pocket, and I graze on those continuously throughout the day. Nothing that can either freeze, squish or turn minging. In the UK hills in winter, if more walking/on easy mountaineering ground, I'll also often carry a flask of regular or non-caffeinated (rooibos, peppermint, whatever) tea in place of a water bottle, and a sensible size mug to drink it out of. Obviously that's suboptimal if actually climbing though.

Post edited at 13:56
In reply to Baron Weasel:

> I like the idea of boiling water and a rehydrated meal as long as the meal is good. Any recommendations? 


Adventure Foods are ok and do veggie stuff. I've found the pasta ones take a little longer than stated, or the pasta can be a bit crunchy.

Once you have a heat resistant sealable bag you could recycle it, to make your own. Smash potato, herbs and cheese. Couscous, coconut and curry powder etc.

 Basemetal 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Big breakfast  at home then  sandwich at the car park and I usually forget about eating for the rest of the day. I do keep carbs like a Cliff bar or Garibaldi/ fig rolls handy in case I feel an energy dip, but mostly I just need to stay hydrated with warm squash. The cyclist's approach to long ride nutrition seems to work well - carbs for fuel during exercise

 Kevin Woods 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

And as well as the shortbread/cakes, some rolls and a flask of tea

In reply to Baron Weasel:

Also a fan of hard cheese and dried sausage, to mix things up (and because they also go into noodles to make bivi food far more exciting), but that's more in foreign climes where it's easy to get nice sausage.

 nniff 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Iced fruit cake, ex Sainsburys.

Cream cheese and salmon bagels

Dates, with the stone removed

Pepperami

Clif coffee gels

Hot Vimto or SIS blackcurrant

In reply to Baron Weasel:

Sausage rolls! Or any of their related brethren: the pasty, samosa, empanada etc.

Post edited at 14:48
 Jamie Wakeham 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Hot stock in a thermos; Marigold bullion powder is my favourite.

 MischaHY 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Nuts and dried fruit is about the most calorie dense combo you can get that isn't sweets or chocolate. The issue you'll have with anything like soup is actually getting enough calories into it to be worth carrying - practically speaking a nut/fruit mix plus salamis and flapjacks is the most effective combination. I like the idea of the cold pizza though tbh! 

 mrphilipoldham 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Normally throw the jetboil in and do instant noodles with some nice sausage chopped up and thrown in. 

 TechnoJim 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Peanut butter, banana and jam wraps. Tin of Irn Bru for walk out. 

 David Cowley 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Hi-gates flapjack bars from home bargains for 39p and a loaf of soreen. Easy to eat particularly with thick gloves or mitts

In reply to Baron Weasel:

I suspect you find things unappetising because cold food doesn't release it's smell so well, maybe consider keeping your food warmer?

If you're going down the 'very hot water in a flask' route, how about Readybrek? Mix the relevant quantity of powdered milk into it and whatever else you want (drinking chocolate and sugar are what I do) and double bag it in freezer bags for transportation, squeezing all the air out before closing so they're less poppable. That way you can simply add your hot water on site.

  I've not seen them in the shops here, but in South Africa you can get instant porridge sachets called 'Oat-so-easy*' which use hot water, although you can eat them with cold water if you wait 15-20 minutes for them to absorb it - useful if your stove breaks at the end of day 1 of a 6 day trek!

*'Oats-so-simple' are available in the UK but require milk rather than water. Not so simple!

 Andrew Lodge 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

A Scotch egg, exactly the same to eat regardless of how cold it has been all day and reasonably robust so unlikely to be destroyed when you pull it out of the bottom of your rucksack.

That and some form of soft flapjack keeps me going, both can also be eaten on a belay stance.

 Basemetal 27 Jan 2021
In reply to David Cowley:

> Hi-gates flapjack bars from home bargains for 39p and a loaf of soreen. Easy to eat particularly with thick gloves or mitts

At 500 kCal a pop those Hi-Gates things are life savers. They've started to do a smaller (29p) one that's a bit less of a commitment in one go -handier on the bike too.

 BuzyG 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Garibaldi biscuits.  Mixed nuts raisins. Cheese ham and pickle butties. I tend to avoid chocolate bars when it's cold. It's like eating rock until it melts a bit. I still keep a few in my emergency box though.

 Will_he_fall 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Mini scotch egg bites and similar snack bites work great on the hill even when its super cold. Stick em in a ziplock bag and enjoy.

 fmck 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

The night before takeaway Mexican volcano pizza. That always has me sweating no matter the cold. 

 wercat 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

jam sandwiches (home made jam) underrated treat

 GAE 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I usually have:

A few fingers of Cheese (Manchego is good) each wrapped in Parma ham.

Mixed nuts with dried mango or strawberry (I hate raisins).

Flask full of rooibos with a teaspoon or so of maple syrup in.

Post edited at 19:10
 Baron Weasel 27 Jan 2021
In reply to GAE:

> A few fingers of Cheese (Manchego is good) each wrapped in Parma ham.

I like this idea, I was thinking of wrapping Trek bars in parma too. 

 hokkyokusei 27 Jan 2021
In reply to SteveJC94:

> Jelly cubes, Pepperamis, Soreen and Brioche all seem to work well. I made the mistake of taking a Mars bar on my first winter trip - I'm surprised I had any teeth left afterwards! 

All sounds good bar the pepperamis, I find them very difficult to chew when very cold!

 ColdWill 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Could not think of anything worse than a protein shake on the hill, even mass builder carb loaded ones, and then the wind..

 hokkyokusei 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Naturals' Jelly Snakes are my cold weather treat. Boiled sweets are good, they never get any harder! Soreen is always good.

 NathanP 27 Jan 2021
In reply to LucaC:

That's my recommendation too. And small pork pies. Water resistant too.

 SFM 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I’m surprised that no one has suggested the god of hill food- pâté sandwiches. Never freeze, have a good mix of carb, fat and protein. What’s not to like? 
A cheeky wee pork pie doesn’t go amiss either. 

 crayefish 27 Jan 2021
In reply to fmck:

> The night before takeaway Mexican volcano pizza. That always has me sweating no matter the cold. 

Is the pizza named for the after effects?

 ColdWill 27 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I just go with GU energy gels and a hot flask "these days" (ie Nov 2019).

In reply to wercat:

> jam sandwiches (home made jam) underrated treat

Did my entire Junior Brecon course (JNCO infantry training course) on the back of these. Sugar, carbs and fat (plenty of butter). Awesome.

In reply to Baron Weasel:

Eccles cakes or Mrs Crimbles Coconut Macaroons.  Neither freeze easily and the grease - sugar combo is a winner for me.  For savoury option; rice cakes, cheese, ham and mayo.

 hpil 28 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

tuna mayonnaise sandwiches and a packet of hula hoops

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/off_belay/tuna_mayonnaise_-_the_skoda_octavia_of_sandwiches-713121

'nuff said

(ducks for inevitable troll fight)...

 wercat 29 Jan 2021
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

what finer testimonial could you have?

A lot of jam sandwiches eaten deep under the bed of the North Sea as well before the mines closed

1
 Tim Sparrow 29 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Hot Cross bun with a slab of butter in the middle.

Fig rolls. Bounty bars - high calories, don't freeze like Snickers or Mars bars.

Flask of hot orange squash.

 crayefish 29 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Icecream.

Its designed to be cold.

You're welcome. 

 fmck 29 Jan 2021
In reply to crayefish:

> Is the pizza named for the after effects?

Well I suppose it does have that effect also. I did once need to go after one early in the morning in Galloway forest. My Border terrier on the way back down disappeared on the track out. When back tracking shouting his name I realised where I had earlier had a s**t and thought "Oh no". Sure enough he was eating my night before remains.

My mate Bill had to go all the way home with his head out the window. Every time he put his head in the window the dog was panting my shit breath round the van he would start wretching.  

 crayefish 29 Jan 2021
In reply to fmck:

Hahaha great story.  Made me laugh out loud!

 Mr Messy 30 Jan 2021
In reply to fmck:

Superb, brightened up my Saturday morning coffee and marmite

 tjhare1 31 Jan 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Cold pizza, preferably the Aldi spinach and ricotta ones. Tasty, savoury, moist and reasonably energy-dense. Also super quick to prep in a rush - just whack it in the oven whilst eating your breakfast and shove in a bag.

My other favourite is hot cross buns with butter and chocolate spread. Rocket fuel!

 SenzuBean 01 Feb 2021
In reply to tehmarks:

> Whatever the environment — UK hills, UK winter, alpine — I have a massive bag of mixed nuts and dark chocolate, and a few cereal bars or slices of homemade flapjack in my pocket, and I graze on those continuously throughout the day. Nothing that can either freeze, squish or turn minging. In the UK hills in winter, if more walking/on easy mountaineering ground, I'll also often carry a flask of regular or non-caffeinated (rooibos, peppermint, whatever) tea in place of a water bottle, and a sensible size mug to drink it out of. Obviously that's suboptimal if actually climbing though.

I've had some wicked headaches from mixing dark chocolate + altitude + exertion, probably some of the worst headaches I've ever had. I am too afraid to go near it anymore, unless sat in a chair where I can weather the headaches.
Dark liquorice is what I replaced it with - top stuff for big days, no headaches.

In reply to SenzuBean:

Oh, that is suboptimal! I wonder what the cause of it is? The body is a wondrous thing.

 Basemetal 01 Feb 2021
In reply to SenzuBean:

> I've had some wicked headaches from mixing dark chocolate + altitude + exertion, probably some of the worst headaches I've ever had. I am too afraid to go near it anymore, unless sat in a chair where I can weather the headaches.

That sounds a lot like classic migraine. Dehydration might be another relevant trigger that figures in the same circumstances. (It took me decades to figure out it was the common denominator for mine as I don't have any food or stress triggers), Worth reading some of the latest articles on migraine, the better to avoid them.

 SenzuBean 01 Feb 2021
In reply to tehmarks:

> Oh, that is suboptimal! I wonder what the cause of it is? The body is a wondrous thing.

Dark chocolate has some pretty strong vasodilating effects, so if you eat too much (which I did), it's much harder for your heart to pump the same volume of blood as usual (I think). I think that's what happened.
Liquorice is a vasoconstrictor, so does the opposite thing - and seemingly gets on better with me. I ate tons of liquorice when going up Rainier, and no problems.

 SenzuBean 01 Feb 2021
In reply to Basemetal:

> That sounds a lot like classic migraine. Dehydration might be another relevant trigger that figures in the same circumstances. (It took me decades to figure out it was the common denominator for mine as I don't have any food or stress triggers), Worth reading some of the latest articles on migraine, the better to avoid them.

I don't think it was a migraine. Those wicked headaches only happened (except one time*) when I ate tons of dark chocolate (like half a block), and then did strenuous mountaineering/hiking.
The one exceptional time, it wasn't just a headache but I had to hobble off the mountain, that was definitely heat exhaustion.

 Basemetal 01 Feb 2021
In reply to SenzuBean:

Glad you got out of it anyhoo!

 Root1 01 Feb 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I take some pre cooked sausages to eat cold on the hill. Supplemented by pork pies and fruitcake. Boiled eggs make good hand warmers on the walk in which you can eat before climbing.

 HardenClimber 01 Feb 2021
In reply to SenzuBean:

Interesting... many of the end points of liquorice (well, the glycyrrhizic acid) tend to be the opposite of acetazolomide, which (simplistically) would suggest it wouldn't be great for altitude... (particularly the alkalosis).

(look up hyperaldosteronism)

In reply to Baron Weasel:

foods with high fat content are good when its cold.  Blocks of cheese with oatcakes are pretty good. I'm a big fan of xmas cake and pudding too.

In reply to Baron Weasel: Breakfast = as much jumbo oats with added raisins & milk as I can manage. Hill food = 4 mini pork pies & 2 bags of jelly babies. All out of their wrappers and in a small draw-corded nylon bag (mushy fat & carbo mix).  Try and eat something on the hour, every hour after the first two hours. Don’t forget the pro-plus caffeine tablets and ibuprofen. Hill drink = lots of supping from streams on the walk-in. Small flask of hot ribeana (used to take 1litre nalgene filled with carbo drink, but in my old age... I’ve got old... and like my warm drink). Immediate recovery stuff back at the car/van = Mars recovery drink, big bag of salted peanuts. Vodka.. if Malcolm is driving, which he usually isn’t. Seems to have worked well for my Scottish winter over the past few years/decades.  

 SenzuBean 01 Feb 2021
In reply to HardenClimber:

> Interesting... many of the end points of liquorice (well, the glycyrrhizic acid) tend to be the opposite of acetazolomide, which (simplistically) would suggest it wouldn't be great for altitude... (particularly the alkalosis).

> (look up hyperaldosteronism)

I will have a look. Maybe it's not good when you get to "real" altitudes
It could also be one of those odd paradoxical reactions (I think it was found that tobacco smokers get altitude sickness less than non-smokers, iirc?)

In reply to SenzuBean:

> It could also be one of those odd paradoxical reactions

On a similar note (but probably not paradoxical at the biological level), I learnt recently that caffeine is purportedly beneficial to some degree to acclimatisation/performance at altitude. For some reason (no personal evidence either way because I'm a coffee fiend always) I'd always assumed that it would be detrimental in one way or another.

I find the biology behind these things fascinating.

 Jim Fraser 01 Feb 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Cadbury Wispa is a particularly good item for winter climbing. Chocolate is a great morale booster as well as calorie booster. There are two properties that make the Wispa good in this environment. 

First, the aeriated nature of its structure means that even at low temperatures it can still be bitten into without resulting in a dental emergency.

Secondly, in spite of that aeriated structure, it has greater robustness than most comparable products and survives rucksack storage reasonably well. 

 V1k 02 Feb 2021
In reply to SFM:

True! I grew up in Eastern Europe and crackling pâté was absolutely amazing on winter expeditions. A couple weeks ago I found a shop called ‘Paprika Store’ where they sell it. 

 Kalna_kaza 02 Feb 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I always enjoy the Summit 2 Eat meals, the ones in the bright yellow packets. Reasonable choice and have high calories to weight ratio.

 Duncan Beard 06 Feb 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

I used to take sarnies as per summer hillwalking but found them unpalatable in the cold & often never ate them all. I haven't really thought of savoury alternatives, so the following may not interest you.

I started buying the big flapjacks with a tasty top eg caramel or bakewell. There's a lot of energy in a compact form, can be stuffed in pockets to eat at belays, doesn't freeze too easily & not messy. Filling stations usually have a choice but I have ordered boxes of 25 direct from manufacturers e.g. Blackfriars.

Having discovered Aldi's raw fruit & nut bars (cashew & date or pecan & date) I'm looking forward to trying some, they are only 35g each but are cheap.

In reply to Baron Weasel:

Personally I  like christmas style nuts, the ones with dried fruit and fudge / chocolate, covered in sweet flavouring. The fudge/chocolate is in small bits so defrosts in your mouth and doesn't feel too solid, got protein and vitamins.

Cheese and fatty sausages also add calories and keep you warm as you digest them, high fat content stops them from freezing. 

Soreen loaf is pretty good for a meal, also you pretty much can't throw it up too, so if you're working really hard it's good, although almost impossible to eat on the move and not a pocket snack.

In terms of bars I like the cashew crush bars from Aldi.

I moved away from jelly cubes a few years ago as I tried to reduce the consumption of simple carbohydrates without other beneficial nutrition, an approach I use while ultra running.

 mike123 08 Feb 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel: just idly reading this and unsurprised that my very squidgy tuna savoury seeded rolls and flask of very hot very strong Ribena have come up. I like the idea with Of cooking pizza jus before setting off , wrapping In several layers of foil and then into a sturdy box, wrap in belay jacket .  Eaten  a couple of hours in , should still be warmish and relativly pleasant .

 waitout 01 Mar 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Jar of peanut butter & a spoon.

Just be wary of sticking your tongue to the roof of your mouth if you need to be shouting whilst on belay.

In reply to Baron Weasel:

I know there is the idea that any food can be warmed up in your clothing or next to a drinks bottle (already surrounded by your spare insulated clothing/spare gloves) - but often with winter climbing the time or conditions to sort this out aren't going to be there. So the suggestions for food that still works when actually cold are the really valuable ones for me. In general find any bread based food terrible in the cold. I climb with Andrew Lodge - so I already agree with the scotch egg idea. With flap jack you just have to experiment - some hardens up ridiculously, I do my own and this recipe from John Torode  works well, you don't have to add maple syrup or whey power, substitutions with other syrups and flour also work fine, I've never bothered with the popping candy; https://cyclefelixstowe.proboards.com/thread/22/torodes-master-cycling-flapjack-recipe

In reply to Baron Weasel:

There's a lot of replies on here already that I cba to read so sorry if this is a repeat, but it reminded me of doing a winter mountaineering course with Glenmore lodge a number of years ago and being highly amused by the lunch provided. Trying to eat a sandwich in 50mph winds didn't go well... Most of it ended up at the back of Sneachda. Then a frozen apple for desert, lolololol.

Also: avoid snickers.

I have no suggestions for something that is actually good I'm afraid. I normally settle for just taking snack: nuts, haribo and some babybels.

 Tony Buckley 12 Mar 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Cheese rolls are the thing; well, the start of the thing, at least.

A cheese roll (barmcake, bap, morning roll, whatever you call them) can withstand a good deal of abuse, mostly relating to being squashed or sat on, without being unduly affected.  The key is to slice it, butter one side only (be generous, it helps), use slices of cheese rather than grated and use a mature cheddar for preference, and then add some pickle or chutney.  Not Branstons, that's just not up to the job.  Use something that's going to wake your mouth up.  Spiced mango and chilli chutney, lime pickle, something of that nature.  Indian relishes are the winter climber's friend.

And if it all goes wrong, a cheese roll can probably, if well frozen, be hammered into a crack and used as protection.

T.

 Dave the Rave 12 Mar 2021
In reply to Baron Weasel:

Pork pies Baron, pork pies. Or Game pies if I can be bothered making one or stopping at Tebay.


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