Eating a balanced diet is vital for a healthy lifestyle, and when you are backpacking it can be difficult to prepare healthy meals for yourself. This is why backpackers will sometimes prepare meals in advance, as opposed to campers, who can have the luxury of cooking in their camp kitchen. However, if your backpacking trip is going to last a while, this can be difficult, because, with all the backpacking essential supplies, your backpack will be heavy enough. This is where lightweight, healthy, conveniently packed freeze-dried meals come to the rescue.
With backpackers in mind, many food manufacturers have started creating healthy and convenient freeze dried meals. These goodies are easy to prepare, preserve the flavours and the texture of the food and provide you with the necessary nutrients for your body to recuperate and function optimally.
Freeze-Dried Meals Retain Nutrients
There are various reasons why so many people decide to buy high-quality backpacking freeze dried meals for their adventures, but what are they exactly?
The three most popular ways to preserve food, especially when it comes to backpacking, are dehydration, pre-cooking and freeze-drying. All of these methods have their advantages and are often used by people going on outdoor adventures, Nevertheless, in terms of nutrients preservation, freeze drying is the most popular method.
While the easiest, fastest and cheapest method is pre-cooking, it’s the least suitable when it comes to longer hikes, because it doesn’t protect the food from spoiling as long as the other methods do. Dehydrated meals are also a popular choice among backpackers, but in the process of removing water slowly by using low heat, there is a possibility of nutrient loss. More precisely, the longer exposure to heat destroys some vitamins.
Freeze-dried food, on the other hand, as the name suggests, is prepared by freezing and then drying the cooked food. This process ensures that while the frozen food is being dried, the water won’t melt, but rather converts from solid to gas, without ever becoming liquid. This is done by heating the food slightly and putting it in a vacuum, which speeds up the process of transitioning the ice into gaseous water vapour.
This process, known as sublimation, removes most of the water while preserving the food texture and flavour. In the end, the heat is raised to remove the residual water, leaving only 1-4% of the water in the food – which makes the meal lightweight and long-lasting. The whole process is faster than dehydrating and, more importantly, all of the nutrients are retained.
Freeze-Dried Meals Are Convenient
When you are out there in the wilderness, the last thing you want to do is pack many items that will help you cook. Freeze dried meals are not only lightweight but are also incredibly easy to prepare. Simply put, cooking them is simply putting back the water that was lost while the prepared meal was dried.
What you’ll need to do is simply follow the instructions written on the package of your chosen freeze dried meal to ensure that the flavour and the texture of the food don’t change. Backpacking freeze dried meals come in packages that can double as a dish to prepare the meal as well as a makeshift plate to consume it.
Freeze-Dried Meals Are Balanced
Since freeze drying preserves the nutrients best, consuming preprepared and then freeze-dried meals will be as healthy as if you were to prepare them yourself with fresh ingredients. Furthermore, they are perfect for a balanced diet, as they contain the right ratio of nutrients that will help your body recover from physical exhaustion.
Containing 300-800 calories per meal – which weigh around 80-150 grams, freeze dried meals are ideal for physically demanding activities like hiking. Good manufacturers make sure that these meals contain the right number of calories that will provide you with enough energy to continue on your trail because calories are the fuel that gives your body the strength to withstand physically demanding activities. Of course, you should always check the ingredients – to be sure that you are getting the right nutrients, but also to check for any ingredients that you might be allergic to.
Freeze-Dried Meals Are Tasty
Just because you are backpacking and you can’t prepare a home-cooked meal, doesn’t mean that you should compromise on taste and that you shouldn’t enjoy your food. High-quality preprepared freeze dried meals for backpacking come in a wide variety of flavours. However, in order to get the right taste and texture, you need to make sure that you follow instructions to the letter during the cooking, or more correctly, the rehydration of the meal. Whether you want savoury or sweet meals, there are many options with a variety of tastes and textures, but of course, finding the right ones may require some trial and error.