On multi-day hikes, the right food goes hand-in-hand with the right equipment.
Food is the fuel in your tank, so you definitely don't want to run out, but at the same time, you should avoid overloading your pack with bulky, heavy items. With today's lightweight backpacking equipment, your pack should weigh about 25 lbs. when filled with several days worth of food and gear.
Prepackaged freeze-dried meals are readily available, but can be expensive and bulky. Points in their favor are that they will keep for years, and help to simplify meal planning. You can save room in your pack by transferring these meals to zip lock freezer bags.
One obvious but important thing to consider with do-it-yourself recipes, and also the store-bought meals, is that you may not like their taste. Therefore, it's important to try the meals at home, before taking them on the trail. This will help you avoid a backpack filled with food that you really - really don't want to eat. Winter is a great time to experiment with new backpacking meals at home.
Aim to keep meal planning simple. After a long day of hiking, most people don't want to cook a complicated meal. Also, you do not need a different meal for every day of the week, so bring just a few simple snacks and meals that you like. It's also more efficient to have 2 snacks during the day rather than an actual cooked lunch. It's also a good idea to bring along an extra days rations, just in case....and the store-bought meals are good for this purpose.
As a final note I want to say something about little luxuries on the trail, that can lift your spirit. Often, the desire to carry less weight will lead to a very austere meal selection., but on a recent tough hike, I learned the value of a good chocolate bar. At the end of each day, just relaxing for a few minutes and enjoying a treat before putting up my tent made all the difference!
If your hike isn't enjoyable, then just why are you hiking anyway?
The information provided here is focused on do-it-yourself One-Pot and Freezer-Bag meals.
Some Basic Backpacking Recipes
Backpacking Meal Planner
Backpacking Food Staples
Energy Bars + Trail Breads
Freezer Bag Cooking Tips
Freezer Bag Meals
Freezer Bag Cookbook +
Backpacking Recipe Book