A (Mostly Comprehensive) Guide to Food on Apogee Trips

Meals are a huge part of every Apogee trip, and good or bad food can make or break an experience – which is why we work so hard to provide simple, tasty, nutritious, and plentiful meals – for all of our students, every day.

The focus on meals during an Apogee trip starts at our Leader Training, when we dedicate more than a full day of training time to all things food: nutrition, dietary restrictions and allergies, shopping, packability, recipes, cooking on camp equipment, sanitation, kitchen safety, tastiness… the list goes on! Not to mention the lessons, practice, and ideas that come out of every meal during training.  

Kyle and Rosa push the peppers in their Iron Chef Competition entry during Leader Training.

Two of the most important aspects of Apogee meals that we cover during Leader Training:


This admittedly-not-so-easy-to-remember acronym is now an essential component of the Apogee leader vocabulary. SITANUP stands for the four pillars of every Apogee meal: simple, tasty, nutritious, and plentiful. We’ll be cooking primarily with camping equipment and with limited refrigeration, so the meals can’t be too complicated – sorry, no soufflés this summer. But just because they’re simple doesn’t mean they can’t be delicious; we get creative with spices, fresh ingredients, local flair, and new recipes. Furthermore, simple, delicious meals can also be healthy! Every day, we make sure to include the basic essentials for keeping our bodies fueled: starches, carbohydrates, protein, and vegetables. Finally, we make sure we always have plenty to eat! While we always do our best to minimize food waste, we err on the side of “too much” vs “too little” when it comes to food. Our leaders will tell you that every day consists of not three, but six meals – breakfast, a hearty snack, lunch, another substantial snack, dinner, and dessert.

Dietary restrictions, allergies, and food preferences

Over the course of our 20+ seasons running trips, we’ve become very familiar with a wide array of food allergies and restrictions: gluten intolerance and Celiac disease, nut allergies, and vegetarian diets to mention some of the more common ones – and we’re happy to accommodate to the best of our abilities. We have great gluten-free (GF) substitutes for our usual Apogee staples, whether that’s GF oatmeal for breakfast, gluten-free bread for lunchtime sandwiches, or quinoa instead of pasta for dinner. For nut allergies, depending on the severity of the allergy, we can run completely nut-free trips. If you’re a vegetarian, we’ll work to make sure that there are options for you at all meals and for our carnivores out there, we have meat options whenever possible, too!

Our staff hits the meal line hard during Leader Training.

Once our leaders are trained and practiced in the art of Apogee meals, they head into the field with an extensive list of recipes, a bag full of cooking equipment, and, most importantly, a positive attitude (insert two thumbs up and a cheesy smile here). In addition to being able to provide SITANUP meals on trip, we also want our students to take ownership of the trip, which includes meal planning and preparation. Each day, a different group of students will compose the “cook crew,” who, under the supervision of the leaders, plan, shop for, and prepare the day’s meals. Not only is this a great opportunity to learn a new skill, but it also empowers the students and instills a sense of responsibility.

This Cook Crew proudly presents their SITANUP meal for the group’s tasting pleasure.

There’s more to it, of course, but without further ado, here are just a few examples of some typical Simple, Tasty, and Nutritious Apogee meals.

Note that this is not, by any means a comprehensive list, but is just meant to give you an idea of the general types of meals you might see on an Apogee program.

For Breakfast:

  • Bagels with cream cheese 
  • Oatmeal with apples and cinnamon 
  • Peanut butter and banana sandwiches
  • Yogurt, granola and berries
  • (on a rest day) Made-to-order pancakes!

For Lunch:

As lunches are usually “on the go” on Apogee trips, wraps/sandwiches are the go-to lunch most days. But we very much value variety here at Apogee, so we work hard to vary the sandwich toppings throughout the trip – think of all the combinations of proteins/veggies and spreads – it’s endless!

  • Deli meat and/or cheese sandwiches or wraps with spreads (mayo, mustard, hummus, hot sauce, etc.) and veggies (lettuce, tomatoes, onions, peppers, pickles, etc.)
  • Sides of: hummus and pita chips, chips and salsa, carrots, peppers, pretzels, potato chips.
  • (in the backcountry) Peanut butter and jelly/honey sandwiches and trail mix.
A student dives into their lunch creation on our Pacific Coast biking trip

For Dinner:

  • Sweet potato chili
  • Chicken and veggie stir fry
  • Pesto pasta with veggies and sausages
  • Chickpea curry over rice
  • Barbecue night! Hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, grilled corn, etc.
  • Burrito bowls
  • (in the backcountry) Thanksgiving in July! (stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, turkey summer sausage)

For Dessert:

  • Banana Boats
  • S’more’s 
  • Funfetti orange cake (single-serve cakes baked over a campfire in a hollowed-out orange peel!)
  • Campfire apple crisp
  • Strawberry shortcake

Our passion, creativity, and general love of food (and sizable appetites!) here at Apogee provide us with the motivation we need to make food a memorable, delicious part of every Apogee experience. Please give us a call if you ever have food-related questions, concerns, or great stories from your trip!

That’s all for now – it’s just about dinner time. Happy eating, everyone!