Being a huge supporter of eating something fresh at every meal, I spent much more time than most people in the prepared passage for camping at REI, carefully reading and rereading the labels. It was difficult for me to wrap my head around food cooked in a bag, just adding boiling water. I needed a strong conviction to change my mind.
I was looking for pre-packaged options that were also considered “healthy,” that is, they contained ingredients that I could actually pronounce, and which did not contain terms such as “modified” or “other tastes.” But I soon discovered that this type of food has come a long way, and the choice is pretty robust.
My interest in easy-to-pack, dehydrated dishes only added to the water flared up when I learned the story of Patagonia – a line of organic, easy-to-cook grains and soups, as well as humane-packed dried and salmon pouches. that do not require cooling before opening. I was impressed by the amount of thoughts and worries that went to the source of each ingredient.
Nowadays, more and more people are looking for the most healthy and sustainable options when it comes to what they eat, both at home and on the go.
So, keeping this in mind (and narrowing the lens to find the healthiest labels available), I tested some options for taste. Here is what I found.
I was really happy to receive a little salty grain from Patagonia.
Simplified packaging and instructions were the perfect look for what's inside. I tried mushroom and Kamut Khorasan wheat, which had a very clean, healthy taste – there was nothing too strong in the mixture, and it tasted like a side dish that I would cook any evening of the week.
In terms of cordiality, this dish is a bit lighter than the others that we tasted. One serving (or one sachet) contained 2.5 grams of fat, 380 calories and 15 grams of protein – the largest amount of protein per serving of all the options we tried. One serving was more than enough for two people to share as a side dish.
All other food bags contained at least two servings per bag, and there were enough for several small meals for two people, but they had the same amount of calories and protein per serving.
The fact that the grain is organic, vegan and gluten free was also an added bonus. The disadvantage is that you cannot cook this dish inside the bag, so you will have to use bowls and plates.
I liked that Backpackers Pantry had such a varied offer of dishes that were vegan and gluten free. When I first tried Chana Masala, I was shocked when this food came from a bag. It was savory and spicy, and the bowl of it satisfied my hunger. It’s also a great price for the amount of food you get (about $ 7 per pack).
The instructions contained the addition of 2 1/2 cups boiling water, re-closing the package and leaving it for 15-20 minutes. I opened the bag after 15 minutes to check if it was completely cooked, and I definitely had to wait until 20 minutes had passed.
Although I sealed the bag and waited another 5-10 minutes, the rice was a bit underestimated due to a user error. Despite this, this food is still considered one of my favorites to taste.
Taster tip: In addition to lasting longer (do not open the bag, no matter how hungry you are), make sure the contents are really well mixed inside the bag so that all the spices are well mixed.
As for nutrition, I liked the fact that all the ingredients were ordinary food that I knew and loved, such as long grain rice, garbanzo beans, turmeric, ginger and chopped red chili peppers. One serving of Chana Masala contained 410 calories, 3 grams of fat and 14 grams of protein. The sodium content is higher than that of others by 1420 mg.
Then this taste test was dug by Himalayan lentils from AlpineAire.
This is a sweet and salty vegetarian dish, and I liked that in addition to rice, lentils and black beans, it included diced apples and freeze dried mango. It is also at a reasonable price for a generous amount that will easily feed two people.
Unfortunately, this goes beyond my tolerance of sweetness, especially for dinner, as I often crave something more delicious.
One serving contains 310 calories, 3.5 grams of fat and 11 grams of protein. This is included in the lower limit for sodium, also, at 180 milligrams per serving. An additional bonus to this package is that it had a very long shelf life, which could be used until January 2023 (although I could not find the exact shelf life for this product).
On the other hand, it contained several additional filler ingredients that are not found in others, such as maltodextrin, a starch thickener that is often used to extend shelf life.
Good to go
The simplified aesthetics and packaging of Good To-Go became an immediate bonus – I liked that a quick scan informed me that this dish is vegan and does not contain gluten. After further studying the labels, I was really impressed with the types of ingredients included in this dehydrated food, such as moth blanc sauce.
“Dehydrated Foodie” is what Good To-Go calls its creations, which were invented by a former restaurant owner in New York and chef Jennifer Szism. And I have to agree with this statement.
This is one of those dishes that gets better if you continue to eat it. More complex flavors were discovered on my subsequent spoons, like hints of diced cilantro, shallots and Mexican oregano. By the time I finished, I was satisfied, and also forced myself a little more.
There are two servings per pack of 6.7 ounces. One serving contains 350 calories, 8 grams of fat and 13 grams of protein. Sodium weighs 390 milligrams per serving and has a two-year shelf life – not bad, given that we could not choose one single “filler” ingredient.
Although it's a little more investment, it costs $ 13.50, but if you care about your health and have an exquisite palette, this is a great choice.
Considering the ingredients, the taste and the overall satisfying of hunger, I would call Good To-Go the best choice. The provisions on Patagonia are a very close second, the only drawback is that it is more a side dish than a common meal. However, you can easily make a complete meal using the items from the rest of the “Position” line.
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