Sometimes putting a menu together for a hiking and backpacking trip can seem daunting. Will I have enough food? Will there be reasonable variety? If you happen to be on a group backpacking trip and are working on a group menu, it can even look more complex. The good news is that food is not complicated. Indeed you are more likely to overpack food, where you should really under pack a little and although being hungry is no fun, hydration is much more important.
There are some qualitative measures that are always good to look at. Calories per day or calorific density, even weight can be a basic measure for planning. You also have to decide whether you are going to cold-soak, rehydrate or actually cook. There are some fabulous backcountry recipes that can really give you some gourmet food at the end of the day. You can also fish and forage on occasion. Foraging can add some great natural food to your backpacking diet, especially berries. But of course, you have to know what you are looking for.
I always think day hiking is a slightly higher risk than backpacking. With backpacking, I expect to be in the wilderness for a few days and am well prepared. People expect a day hike to end up with you being back at the trailhead at the end of the day. That’s why having sufficient food for a day hike, and being prepared in case you are out overnight is essential.