Food Finds · One Pot Meals · Trail Cooking · Vegetarian

Meal Review: Meals On Wheels

After my hike at Sunrise yesterday I headed downhill to White River. I wanted somewhere peaceful to have lunch so I picked the climbers parking lot/day use/picnic area outside of the car campground. The Wonderland Trail runs through the middle of the picnic area and I choose the last table where I could see the river below me and the trail hooking down rapidly to meet the river. Peaceful indeed. Shady and nice as well. And not a single other person picnicking besides me.

My lunch was testing out Pack Lite Food‘s Meals On Wheels, a one pot concoction that I had picked up in a one person size. The meal is vegetarian friendly but does contain cheese so is not vegan friendly. Dry weight is 5 ounces, has one bag and one internal packet (minimal garbage) and retails for $4.25 on Pack Lite’s website.

The meal takes 1 3/4 cups water and cooks up nicely in a GSI Soloist pot set.

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The bag has the meal and as well a packet of Parmesan cheese in it. Make sure to catch that so you don’t dump it into the water. Simple instructions: add the dry items to the water in your pot and bring to a boil.

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Once it boils, lower your stove and gently simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Not a terrible amount of fuel used as my standby stove is a hot one and I had the stove barely on. Still, one could easily bring it to a boil, let cook a minute then put in a pot cozy for 20 minutes. After the cooking time is up they tell you to cover it tightly and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes till it thickens up to your liking. I let it sit for 5 minutes but was too hungry to wait. It might have been a bit thicker I suppose but I didn’t mind.

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Ready to eat:

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The nutrition count is nice: 570 calories, 12 grams fat, 7 grams fiber, 16 grams protein and only 499 mg of sodium. A shake of the Parmesan cheese packet and a little black pepper and it was nice and tasty.

For salt lovers you will want to pack a packet of it with you for “seasoning”, for those of us who watch our intake? Hello! It is very rare to be able to enjoy a large serving of commercial hiking food and wonder how soon till my fingers puff up like Vienna sausages. The flavor of the cheese sauce is mild, I would recommend this meal for children who are picky or if you have a delicate stomach. It sits well, fills you up and warms you up on a cool day. For the adventurous, well you can always treat it as a base meal and add spices and hot sauce to your taste buds contentment…..

Overall?

Pros: Easy to prepare, not bad on fuel use, stick to the ribs type of meal – you will feel full. If cooked in a non stick pot you will have easy cleanup. Good nutritional stats. No weird ingredients or anything artificial added. Health food without looking like it came from the Hippie Co-Op.

Cons: While I enjoy the lower sodium aspect, be forewarned to carry extra salt if you are the type that looks longingly at Bambi’s salt lick in the woods. May be too bland for some, so carry a spice kit (you do already, right? If not, go here to get some ideas on how you can have a gourmet kitchen on the cheap and still be UL!)

~Sarah

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