Contributed by Jennifer Dawson   [caption id="attachment_3137" align="alignleft" width="300"] freeze dried broccoli[/caption]

Hunting remains a popular pastime in the USA with more than 15 million individuals partaking in the activity at least once a year.  While it is no secret that countless Americans find hunting to be extremely exhilarating, not everyone is aware of the impact it has on the body. In fact, a hunter that carries a backpack over moderate terrain can burn as much as 11,000 calories in a single day while putting strain on a large number of joints and muscles. In order to prevent severe fatigue, loss of concentration, headaches, and stomach pain, it is important to replace a good portion of these calories while on your hunting expedition. Thankfully, this is not hard to do when you have access to a variety of foods that can help replenish your energy during the hunt.

Jerky packs a mighty punch

When going hunting, the last thing you want to do is carry around any unnecessary weight. Jerky is both very lightweight and contains a whopping 100 calories per ounce as well as a healthy amount of protein. It also does not need to be stored in the refrigerator, and it has a shelf-life of up to two years.  If you are lucky you may have a batch of jerky on hand from a previous hunt. If not, try to get your hands on quality jerky from reputable manufacturers. Original beef jerky remains a favorite due to its low cost and availability. Other popular choices include buffalo, elk, ostrich, wild boar, and deer.  You can keep things interesting by choosing your jerky in a variety of flavors such as hickory-smoked, chili, and honey-mustard.

Granola bars are always a winner

If you are looking for a quick, energy-boosting snack, granola bars are always a good choice. A typical granola bar contains up to 100 calories per ounce as well as a decent amount of healthy fats and complex carbs. Although there is a range of quality options available on the market, homemade granola bars are in a league of their own. It is also not nearly as complicated to whip up a batch as you may believe.

As an ardent hunter chances are good that you have built your own rifle by using a series of select components such as lower receivers, jigs, and barrels. If you have successfully completed such an intricate rifle-building exercise, you should have no problem finding your way around the kitchen. You can combine a variety of kitchen staples such as rolled oats, coconut flakes, peanut butter, and dried berries for a delicious and nutritious snack.

Freeze-dried meals are nutritious and convenient

If you are planning to camp out during your hunting trip, a couple of freeze-dried meals should definitely be on your list of things to pack.  These meals are not only nutrient-dense, but also generally very easy to prepare.  All you need is boiling water and a makeshift pot, and you can transform anything from freeze-dried chicken and beef to vegetables and cheese into a hearty meal. You can also give your morning oats a flavor and nutrient boost by adding a handful of freeze-dried berries.  Other freeze-dried fruit pieces, including mango and pineapple, can also be used to make a simple yet delicious dairy-free smoothie that will keep you hydrated and energized throughout your hunt.

Hunting can burn a considerable amount of calories in a relatively short period of time. Luckily, there is a myriad of food items you can take along to help boost your energy during your trip.