Food Review: Nomad Nutrition
A nutritious diet isn’t something a lot of first time thru-hikers focus on. Being exhausted from logging 20+ mile days can lead to binge eating whatever highly processed foods you have in your pack instead of providing your body with needed nutrition.
But sometimes downing a bag a day of sugary candy or an entire box of chicken in a biscuit can lead to dwindling energy throughout the day and leave you only temporarily full.
Nomad Nutrition brings a new element to the game of backpacking food: a plant-based diet. More people are vegan now than ever before, and Nomad Nutrition has some delicious meals that will fuel your body with nutrients to keep your energy up and your appetite satiated.
Price: $15 for 100 grams of food, $8 for 50 grams of food
Products: Lunch or dinner
Note: This review is based on the 100-gram size.
Circumstances of Review
During the month of May I went on a monthlong road trip from Oregon to Colorado, stopping at four national parks along the way. Nomad Nutrition supplied me with all of their available meals options: Hungarian Goulash, Irish Shepherd’s Pie, Indian Red Lentil Stew, and Katmandu Curry.
I tested two of the meals after a long day of hiking in Yellowstone National Park and the other two for lunch during a day hike in Arches National Park. Both times I used a Pocket Rocket stove to heat the water for the meals, and ate them with my spork.
All of the meals are completely plant based, meaning they do not have any animal meat or animal products ingredients.
Each of these meals requires one cup of boiling water. Once the water is added, you simply stir the ingredients and then close the top of the bag and wait about ten minutes.
If it’s cold outside, I always massage the bag back and forth with my hands, which helps heat the food up evenly and warms your hands at the same time. Double whammy.
I was surprised at the caloric density of Nomad Nutrition’s meals. Each of these meals are 600 calories or higher, which is great after a long day of hiking in the backcountry. The Irish Shepherd’s Pie has nearly 800 calories, all from plants and packed with nutrients.
I found Nomad Nutrition’s meals to be filling and knowing I was filling my body with something that it will thank me for put a smile on my face.
Nomad Nutrition’s meals were tasty and filling. The spices used brought the ingredients to life and the flavors danced around in my mouth as I worked my way through each meal. It was so refreshing to get a daily dose of veggies instead of ramen while in the mountains.
This meal honestly tasted like chili on steroids. The smoked paprika was the main spice that I could taste in the dish and the warm kidney beans and veggies made me feel at home in a brisk day in Yellowstone.
Irish Shepherd’s Pie
This was the dish I was most looking forward to and it did not disappoint. I was wow’d that the Irish Shepherd’s Pie had nearly 800 calories and left me completely satiated. I could really taste the sun-dried tomatoes in this dish, and the corn, potatoes, and peas made me feel like I was eating shepherd’s pie straight from Ireland.
Indian Red Lentil Stew
The Indian Red Lentil Stew was very earthy and had strong notes of a cumin-like flavor. This one took a little longer to cook than the rest but was still packed full of veggies, including onion, peas, potatoes, and garlic sun-dried tomatoes. It wasn’t too spicy, but I would say that due to the mealy texture this was my least favorite of the options supplied.
Surprisingly to me this was my absolute favorite of Nomad Nutrition’s meals. The rice noodles are DELICIOUS in this! And the taste was spot on with the aromatic flavors of a standard curry. The spinach is a nice touch in this dish too, and I also enjoyed the chickpeas and mushrooms. 10/10 highly recommend this one.
To be completely honest, after sampling all of the meals, it still blows my mind how calorie dense they are. It is amazing to get nearly 800 calories in a backpacker meal comprised mainly of veggies. I also enjoyed all of the flavors in these meals and I know my body loved the nutrients too.
These dishes are spendy. More expensive than their competitors. If you’re on a plant-based diet or are very health conscious, I don’t think you can get more nutritious meals than these. It’s unfortunate they come at a price that most thru-hikers don’t budget for.
I would encourage anyone interested in Nomad Nutrition to test a meal for a shorter backpacking trip where you’re more likely to “treat” yourself and go from there. Nomad does offer a smaller version of the meals (50 grams of food) for $8, which is about half the cost! This is an amazing option
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