I too like those foods you get from the sporting good stores. Since you will be in Kentucky and it'll be hot, having a salty food isn't a bad thing - it helps prevent dehydration.
I have a single burner stove for backpacking that I use when I'm hiking or on a Jeep Run. I also pack a pan that I can cook it all in. It's very light and I can pack stuff into it so it doesn't take so much space in the pack. Heat it up and enjoy.
But if you want fresh food, vacuum sealing and freezing is a great way to go. You can store them next to your Camelback pouch (if you have one) to keep water cold too. If you're not taking a cooler, freeze a water bottle filled with your water so you can use it to keep food cold, but then drink it as needed as it melts.
We're hiking the Grand Canyon next year, so I'm enjoying reading the input here too!
Green Jeep Member #155
Low Output 4 Cylinder Jeep Member #35
Keep moving forward. But keep an eye on history, for if you don't, you are doomed to repeat it.