Monday, August 15, 2016

Product Review: Paleo Meals To Go

As a person who spends a lot of time outdoors and loves to eat, I like good food in the backcountry. When you are in the backcountry and working hard, you need to replenish your calories. Paleo Meals To Go has created a variety of one serving, dehydrated meal choices that are gluten free, clean eating and low in sodium (which is a big plus in my book). I was given the opportunity to try a variety and these are in the order I ate them, but there is no particular reason why I ate them this way. I used the recommended amount of hot water with each meal. It is stated that you can use cold water, but I preferred to use hot. 

NOTE: On each of the meals, the narrow opening at the top was detrimental in getting the oxygen packet out. Many times I had to fish for it.

Summit Savory Chicken - 300 calories per serving

This meal was delicious and had a ‘clean’ taste to it. The lack of salt made the meal a bit bland at first, but I welcomed it. If you really wanted to add salt, it was provided on the outside of the pouch. I am over the high sodium meals. The meal was very filling, but not over the top where you feel like you have to take a nap. The deep pouch was a pain to get my hands in. I really didn’t care for the smaller opening and deep pouch.

Cliffside Coconut Berry - 640 calories per serving

This was excellent and would make a great breakfast meal to get you going. No added sugar, so no crash after eating it. It doesn’t seem like a lot in the pouch, but trust me, it is filling. I definitely needed a longer spoon to really mix this up. (I ordered one right after eating this one.) This tasted great! The fat content is high, but it does help fuel you. The pecans and walnuts are whole, so that was a bit much. Don’t get me wrong, they tasted great, but I would have preferred them to be cut up a bit or chopped. I hate walnuts, but this blend worked nicely.

Mountain Beef Stew - 390 calories per serving

Flavorful and the veggies tasted great! I am very impressed with this one. The veggies were actually crunchy and made for an enjoyable meal. The meat tasted great and this did have a bit more sodium than others. (There was a salt packet provided on the inside of the pouch. I left the package closed an extra five minutes, but some of the meat wasn’t fully rehydrated again. I didn’t totally mind the crunch, but you could tell. There was plenty of beef in this meal to make it a great stew. I would actually drop the mushrooms from this meal, as they seem to get lost.

Apex Fruit Snacks - 170 calories per serving

My recommendation is to drink plenty of water before eating this and bring dental floss. This was one of my least favorite pouches to try. The small particles of fruit were like dust at the bottom. Not a fan. I didn’t taste much in the way of a particular fruit, it was just sweet to me. I ate half the package and felt full. Be careful not to eat too much as I feel it’ll give you a belly ache. You can add water to it, but I was afraid it would get much. Might be good to add to oatmeal.

Caldera Chicken Curry - 310 calories per serving

This was my least favorite one of all. In fact, I really disliked the flavor and consistency of this meal. The texture was way off and I felt like I had to choke it down. It needed more seasoning and the flavors of the soft chicken and crunchy pineapple grossed me out. This one is not for me and I would not order this one. Very bland and mushy.

Palisade Pineapple Mango - 640 calories, 50g of fat per serving

A hearty breakfast or a great meal after packing out of the backcountry, due to the high fat content. I did have issues with the packaging as when I added the required water the pouch leaked all over. There was a hole at the ‘V’ at the bottom of the pouch. I felt like there was still plenty of water to hydrate the meal, so I gave it an extra 8 minutes to rehydrate. Unfortunately, there were still some rubbery pieces of fruit after 20 minutes. The label states pineapple mango, but I got mostly bananas in mine. There was a powerful flavor of bananas, coconut, and flax. To be honest, I didn’t mind the flavor at all.

Bedrock Beef Chili - 360 calories per serving

Again, more issues with the packaging when I added the required hot water. It began leaking right away. Fortunately, I anticipated this and had a plate underneath. That wouldn’t be the case in the backcountry. In fact, I’d probably end up with it on my clothing, making me bear bait. I was still able to have a good amount of water and seal the package. 20 minutes later some of the potatoes were still tough, but tasted really good. Much of the actual spice was on the very bottom of the pouch. I stirred the meal and still wound up with the spices on the bottom of the pouch. My recommendation is to shake the bag well before adding water (which I did) and then also tip it back and forth, upside down when the water has been added. With the leaky pouch, I could not do this. I would say this - bring a small amount of rice with you to add to the chili. I felt like this needed some texture and carbohydrate.

Butte Cacao Banana - 570 calories, 35g of fat per serving 

It was hard to mix this all up, due to the small opening. It is recommended you add the hot water and let it sit for 10-12 minutes. I let it sit for 11 minutes and then cut the bag in half so i could get at the contents. I stirred it up and there was still dry mix at the bottom. I stirred it up again and let it sit another 2 minutes. It was absolutely delicious! It was nice having the smaller nuts in this meal, but the full size almonds were a bit much. I would have preferred some chopped, but the flavor was excellent and this would be great to eat after a long day when your body is craving fat.

Canyon Chicken Chili - 310 calories per serving

Low sodium, low fat, and super high protein - excellent! This has 40g of protein per pouch and that is awesome. There were no major issues with the bag, other than it being too small to get your hand in. The meal tasted great, but the sweet potatoes look nothing like a sweet potato I would eat. These were white and didn’t taste like sweet potato. They added great texture though. The spices were on the bottom again and I had to cut the bag in half to really stir it up. This meal was very tasty and had just he right amount of spice from the peppers. I really like that! The only issue I really had with this one is that it tasted really dry at the end due to lots of shredded chicken. That part of it wasn’t too appetizing, but it still tasted great. I might add a single-serving packet of olive oil and maybe some hot sauce at the end.

Overall, the Paleo Meals To Go team have come up with some excellent dehydrated, gluten free meals! I cannot tell you how nice it was to eat a meal with less sodium and feel great after. Well done, Ty and Dawn! In the end, I do think the pouches could be wider and shorter to allow for better access. I am concerned about the packaging not being able to withstand abuse on the trail, but hopefully that is cleared up soon. The paper-like pouches are very quiet and that was a bonus in my book. When you are packing meals, it’s nice to have something quiet in the way of packaging. The meals are around 3-4 ounces each, which is excellent for those who count each ounce in their pack. The price point on these is going to be higher because of smaller volume and I can see that being an issue with many hunters who are on a budget. Many of the meals are $9.99 each, On the flip side, for those of who was less sodium, great flavor, and a single serving, these will be great to have with us! You can buy your own in the Paleo Meals To Go store. The meals are good for a little over a year, which is great for us hunters. I would give these a 4 out of 5 stars on flavor, 5 out of 5 for clean tasting and eating, and a 3.5 out of 5 for the packaging. You can bet that I'll be buying a variety of these for my hunts this year. 

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a variety of meals from Paleo Meals To Go in consideration for a product review. The reviews on The SoCal Bowhunter are solely my honest opinions. I receive no monetary compensation in exchange for these reviews.  All content © The SoCal Bowhunter. No reproduction, in any form, w/o explicit written permission. 

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