Fitness TipsHealth Tips

Can Dehydrated Meals Taste Good and Also Be Healthy?


As an enormous proponent of consuming one thing contemporary at each meal, I had spent so much longer than most individuals within the ready tenting meals aisle at REI, fastidiously studying and re-reading labels. It was onerous to wrap my head round a meal made in a pouch, simply by including boiling water. I used to be going to want some robust persuasion to alter my thoughts.

All you want is boiling water. Picture: Sage Friedman/Unsplash

I used to be on the lookout for pre-packaged choices that had been additionally thought-about “wholesome”—that’s, containing elements that I might really pronounce and that didn’t include phrases like “modified” or “different flavors.” However what I quickly found is that this sort of meals has come a good distance, and the alternatives are fairly strong.

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My curiosity in easy-to-pack, just-add-water dehydrated meals was sparked once I realized the story behind Patagonia Provisions—a line of natural, simple-to-make grains and soups, in addition to humanely harvested jerky and salmon pouches, which require no refrigeration till opened. I used to be impressed with the quantity of thought and care that went into the sourcing of every ingredient.

Today, increasingly individuals are on the lookout for the healthiest, most sustainable choices in relation to what they eat, each at residence and on the street.

So, with that in thoughts (and a narrowed lens to search out the healthiest labels in existence) I taste-tested a few of the choices on the market. Right here’s what I discovered.

Patagonia Provisions

just add water camp food taste test
Patagonia Provisions Savory Grains. Picture: Patagonia

I used to be actually completely satisfied to get my arms on some savory grains from Patagonia Provisions.

Simplistic packaging and directions had been the proper exterior to what’s discovered inside. I attempted the mushroom and kamut khorasan wheat, which had an excellent clear, wholesome taste—there was nothing too overpowering within the combine, and it tasted like a aspect dish that I’d prepare dinner up any night time of the week.

When it comes to heartiness, this dish is a bit lighter than the others we style examined. One serving (or one pouch) contained 2.5 grams of fats, 380 energy and 15 grams of protein—the best quantity of protein per serving of any the alternatives we tasted. One serving was greater than sufficient for 2 folks to share as a aspect dish.

just-add-water dehydrated meals taste test
Khorasan wheat is analogous in texture to quinoa, however has a extra nutty taste. Picture: Patagonia

The opposite meal pouches all contained not less than two servings per pouch, and had been really sufficient for a number of small meals for 2 folks, however had related calorie and protein counts per serving.

The truth that the grains are natural, vegan and gluten-free had been additionally an added bonus. One downside is which you can’t make this meal contained in the pouch, so that you’ll have to make use of camp bowls and plates.

Backpackers Pantry

just add water dehydrated meals taste test
Backpacker Pantry Chana Masala. Picture: James Rodney

I beloved that Backpackers Pantry had such a various providing of meals that had been vegan and gluten free. Upon first style of the Chana Masala, I used to be shocked this meal got here from a pouch. It was savory and spicy, and a bowl of this glad my starvation. Plus, it’s an incredible value for the quantity of meals you get (About $7 per packet).

The directions known as for including 2 1/2 cups of boiling water, resealing the bundle and letting it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. I opened the bag at 15 minutes to examine to see if it was cooked all the best way, and I positively ought to have waited till 20 minutes had handed.

just add water meal pouch taste test
Served with some diced inexperienced onion, this Chana Masala makes a comforting meal for 2, irrespective of the place you might be. Picture: James Rodney

Though I resealed the bag and waited it out for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, the rice was barely underdone because of person error. Regardless, this meal nonetheless ranked as one in all my favorites in taste.

Taster’s tip: Along with letting it steam longer (resist opening that bag, irrespective of how hungry you might be), ensure that to present the contents a very good stir contained in the packet to the get all of the spices combined properly.

On the diet aspect, I favored the truth that all of the elements had been frequent meals I knew and beloved, like lengthy grain rice, garbanzo beans, turmeric, ginger and crushed crimson chili pepper. One serving of the Chana Masala contained 410 energy, Three grams of fats and 14 grams of protein. The sodium content material is greater than others, at 1420 milligrams.


just add water meal pouch taste test
AlpineAire’s Himalyan Lentils. Picture: James Rodney

This style take a look at then dug into the Himalayan lentils from AlpineAire.

It is a candy and savory vegetarian dish, and I favored that the elements, along with rice, lentils and black beans, included diced apples and freeze-dried mango. It’s additionally moderately priced for a beneficiant quantity that can simply feed two folks.

Sadly, it went a bit past my tolerance for sweetness ranges, particularly for dinner, as I’m usually craving one thing extra savory.

just add water meal pouch taste test
Including some savory greens and inexperienced onion to the Himalayan lentils bowl helped off-set the sweetness. Picture: James Rodney Picture: James Rodney

One serving comprises 310 energy, 3.5 grams of fats, and 11 grams of protein. It is available in on the low finish for sodium, as properly, at 180 milligrams per serving. An added bonus to this packet is that it had an additional lengthy shelf life, good to make use of by January 2023 (though I couldn’t discover a precise shelf life for this product).

On the draw back, it did include a few further filler elements not current within the others, resembling maltodextrin, a thickener starch that’s usually used to increase shelf life.

Good To-Go

just-add-water meal pouch taste test
Good To-Go’s Mexican Quinoa Bowl, with a poblano mole sauce, is among the most subtle meals in a pouch. Picture: James Rodney

Good To-Go’s simplistic aesthetic and packaging was an instantaneous bonus—I beloved {that a} fast scan knowledgeable me this meal was vegan and gluten-free. Upon additional assessment of the label, I used to be actually impressed on the sorts of elements this dehydrated meal included, resembling mole poblano sauce.

“Dehydrated gourmand” is what Good To-Go has labeled their creations, that are dreamed up by former New York Metropolis restaurant proprietor and chef Jennifer Scism. And I’ve to agree with that assertion.

just-add-water dehydrated meals taste test
Corn, black beans, butternut squash and tomatoes are all tied along with a savory, advanced sauce. Picture: James Rodney

That is a kind of dishes that will get higher as you proceed consuming it. Extra of the advanced flavors had been revealed on my subsequent spoonfuls, like hints of the diced cilantro, scallion and Mexican oregano. By the point I completed I used to be glad—and likewise speaking myself into having just a bit bit extra.

There are two servings per 6.7 ounce packet. One serving comprises 350 energy, eight grams of fats, and 13 grams of protein. Sodium weighs in at 390 milligrams per serving and it has a two-year shelf life—not dangerous, contemplating we couldn’t pick one single “filler” ingredient.

Whereas it is a little more of an funding, at $13.50, if you’re somebody who’s health-conscious and has considerably of a refined palette, this can be a nice selection.


Taking elements, style and general hunger-quenching into consideration, I’d rank Good To-Go because the primary possibility. Patagonia Provisions is a really shut second, with the one draw again being that it’s extra of a aspect dish than an general meal. Nevertheless, a full meal might simply be put collectively utilizing gadgets from the remainder of the Provisions line.

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