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Expedition nutrition

Keep your mind and body fuelled up for a four-day expedition, as we look at how to prepare nutritious meals in advance.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • A4 paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Access to the internet
  • Flipchart or whiteboard

Before you begin

  • Each group will need internet access so they can check the price of their menu. People could use their own smartphones, if they have them.
  • Alternatively, if you don’t have internet access, you may need to get creative! Could you print out some research before you begin, or could people take their plans home to check the cost? You could even pop into a local supermarket with your plans.

Get planning

  1. The person leading the activity should talk to the group about their next expedition. If they haven’t got a real expedition planned, they should make one up. Everyone should talk about what cooking equipment will be available, what storage there’ll be and what the budget is for meals and snacks.
  1. Everyone should split into small groups. Each group should get a sheet of paper and some pens or pencils.
  1. Everyone should plan out meals for themselves for a four-day expedition. Each day must include a breakfast, lunch, dinner, some snacks and all of their drinks.
  1. The groups should think about what foods they can cook, store and rely upon. They should work out what equipment they’ll need to cook and eat different foods, where the food can be stored when it’s not being used, and how they’ll keep everything clean and fresh.
  2. Once they have a draft menu, everyone should check that it’s reasonably balanced. Does it have fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates, protein, dairy or alternatives, and oils and spreads? It’s good to have some fun foods in the mix too! 
  3. Everyone should head online and check how much their menu would cost. Is it in budget? If it’s not in budget, people should think about any swaps they could make to bring the cost down.
  1. Once everyone’s finished, they should gather together. Each group should take it in turns to share their menu with everyone else and explain their choices. 
  2. Everyone should vote for the best option for each meal, to come up with a four-day menu that works for everyone.


This activity gave everyone the chance to plan meals for themselves. It was a chance to think about living healthily, but they needed to communicate well too.

Was this the first time that people had planned out what they were going to eat on a trip? How did they work as a team decide as a team what foods to choose? What did people say to the rest of their group to convince them that their choices were the best?

Taking responsibility for meals on a trip is a real challenge. Everyone had to balance a number of factors including equipment, storage, and dietary needs. They also had to make sure the entire menu was reasonably balanced. How did people work around problems to come up with a menu that worked for everybody? What other aspects of an expedition would people feel comfortable taking control of? What would they need to do to be ready for the responsibility?


Online safety

Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe.

For more support around online safety or bullying, check out the NSPCC website. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command.

As always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare (including their online experiences), follow the Yellow Card reporting processes.


Check for allergies before you begin. Make sure you have suitable areas for storing and preparing food and avoid cross contamination of different foods.


Teach young people how to use cooking equipment safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Make sure it’s safe to use and follow manufacturers’ guidelines for use.

Fires and stoves

Make sure anyone using fires and stoves is doing so safely. Check that the equipment and area are suitable and have plenty of ventilation. Follow the gas safety guidance. Have a safe way to extinguish the fire in an emergency.

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.