In 2013 while on a multi-day backpacking trip in the Maroon Bells, Ty Soukup tried a standard freeze-dried meal for dinner. He got sick. Earlier in the year, he had started the paleo diet, a diet which according to Google definitions is “based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food.” If you’ve had a typical freeze-dried backpacking meal, you know that they’re full of salt and potatoes or pasta. Those ingredients don’t align with a paleo diet. Literally sick from standard freeze-dried backpacking meals that didn’t align with his Paleo diet, Ty Soukup and his mother Dawn Anderson launched Paleo Meals to Go.
Paleo Meals To Go are freeze dried, gluten free, milk free, soy free, grain free and shelf stable meals that align with the paleo diet. To prepare a Paleo Meals To Go, you tear open the pouch, take out the oxygen absorber, expand the bottom to make it into a bowl, then pour in 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 cups of hot water and stir. Close up the package and wait for 10 to 12 minutes. Then eat. We found that almost all the meals did better when using the maximum amount of suggested water and waiting longer than the suggested 10 to 12 minutes. After we started waiting 15 minutes, the food rehydrated better, so for all these reviews we used the maximum amount of water and waited at least 15 minutes before eating.
For our review, we received Bedrock Beef Chili, Caldera Chicken Curry, Mountain Beef Stew, Butte Cacao Banana, Palisade Pineapple Mango and Cliffside Coconut Berry.
Paleo Meals To Go Mountain Beef Stew
This was the first Paleo Meals to Go freeze-dried meal that I tried. I was on a kayaking day trip and decided to bring it along. While I watched my companions eat their sandwiches, I anxiously awaited by meal to finish cooking. I was a little worried because I’ve had some bad luck with freeze-dried meals (I’ve tasted many, many of these back when I worked in outdoor retail), but I’ve also had excellent fried-dried meals as well. My favorite (and previous sponsor) was the now defunct Enertia Trail Foods. The Mountain Beef Stew pleasantly surprised me after the first taste. The Paleo Meals To Go Mountain Beef Stew offered a beefy beef taste full of meat. That meaty taste was supplemented with a mix of vegetables — almost a coleslaw like texture except without the sauce. The two combined together into a salad-like meal. It wasn’t exactly a stew but was excellent. My kayaking partners asked how it was and the first thought I had was that it was by far the best freeze-dried backpacking meal that I had ever had.
Weight (dry): 3.06 ounces
Ingredients: Cooked Beef (beef, salt), carrots, onions, mushrooms, celery, spices (spices, granulated garlic), sea salt.
By far my favorite dinner from Paleo Meals to Go is the Bedrock Beef Chili. The Bedrock Beef Chili is a filling meal for one person — after it rehydrates it was surprising how big of a meal it was. It has a nice spicy chili flavor. Not too hot, but spicy enough that I didn’t feel like I needed to add any hot sauce to it. When using 1 3/4 cups of water, it makes a broth. It wasn’t a thick liquid like you’d expect from a chili, but it was good. This is one meal that I could eat multiple times on one trip. I received two samples of this and I was going to share one with my better half, Ilena, but because I enjoyed it so much she allowed me to eat the second one on another night.
Weight (dry): 3.05 ounces
Ingredients: Beef (Beef, Salt), Sweet Potatoes, Onions, Tomato Powder, Seasoning Blend (Chili Powder [Chilies, Salt, Spices], Spices, Granulated Garlic), Carrots, Coconut Sugar, Red Bell Pepper, Green Bell Pepper, Tomatoes, Sea Salt.
Paleo Meals To Go Caldera Chicken Curry
While the packaging claims that this is a curry, it wasn’t what I expected. When I think of curry, I think of spicy Indian food with a thick sauce. While there was a slight curry taste, it was more a hint of spices than a rich curry blast. The Paleo Meals to Go Caldera Chicken Curry is more like a chicken and pineapple salad than a curry. This was my least favorite of the meals that we tried. That said, Ilena liked it. She thought it was tasty and said that she would eat it again.
Weight (dry): 3.05 ounces
Ingredients: Chicken, Pineapple, Spinach, Coconut Sugar, Red Bell Pepper, Seasoning (Garam Masala, Spices, Curry Powder), Onions, Celery, Sea Salt.
Paleo Meals To Go Butte Cacao Banana
The Paleo Meals To Go Butte Cacao Banana was by far my favorite breakfast meal that we tried. After reconstituted, it was a hardy breakfast made from two favorite fruits: bananas and strawberries. While there were some other flavors in there and almonds, the strawberry and banana taste dominated. This breakfast held me over until lunch. I didn’t feel like I needed a morning snack even after a physical morning. This is a breakfast meal that I’d do again.
Weight (dry): 4.5ounces
Ingredients: Bananas, Almond Flour, Flaxseed Meal, Almond Slivers, Whole Almonds, Cacao Nibs, Strawberries, Coconut Sugar, Ground Vanilla Beans, Sea Salt.
Paleo Meals To Go Palisade Pineapple Mango
Like the Cliffside Coconut Berry (see below), the Palisade Pineapple Mango has a coconut base, so you’re going to have to like coconut if you’re going to like this. Luckily, I do. While, I liked the flavor, I do wish that there had been more mango in the mix — it’s my favorite fruit. There are lots of nuts in this meal as well. It seemed like every bite had either a walnut or pecan in it. While the nuts tasted good I would have liked to option of having the nuts in a separate bag, so I could eat them on the side. I generally prefer to have nuts on the top of my meal instead of mixed in, so I can see and expect the crunch instead of being surprised. Despite my preference, this breakfast was tasty and filling. It’s hard to believe that it contains 640 calories, but I had energy until lunch time.
Weight (dry): 4.15 ounces
Ingredients: Coconut, flaxseed meal, almond flour, walnuts, pecans, bananas, coconut sugar, pineapple, mango, ground vanilla beans, sea salt.
Paleo Meals To Go Cliffside Coconut Berry
Blueberries, strawberries and coconut. What’s not to like? I enjoyed the blueberry and strawberry flavors mixed in with the coconut. Out of the two coconut-based Paleo Meals to Go breakfasts that we tried, this was my favorite. If you’re out canoeing during blueberry season adding in fresh wild blueberries would make this even better. Like the Palisade Pineapple Mango, it has whole nuts in the mix. I would have prefered to have those in a separate package or ground up and mixed in. This is a meal that I’d take on a trip again.
Weight (dry): 4.15 ounces
Ingredients: Coconut, flaxseed meal, almond flour, walnuts, pecans, blueberries, strawberries, coconut sugar, ground vanilla beans, sea salt.
We enjoyed the Paleo Meals to Go freeze-dried paleo backpacking meals. My favorites and the standouts were the Bedrock Beef Chili, Mountain Beef Stew, Butte Cacao Banana and Cliffside Coconut Berry. The Chili and Stew were some of the best freeze-dried backpacking meals that I’ve had (and I’ve had lots of them). Ilena loved the Caldera Chicken Curry. The price for these meals is higher than some others on the market, but when you compare ingredients, you can see why. To stick to the paleo diet, they don’t include the typical cheap filler ingredients that typical backpacking meals do, such as pasta and instant potatoes. That and the great taste makes the premium price worth it for me. These are well worth bringing on your next canoeing or kayaking adventure.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Paleo Meals To Go for free from Paleo Meals To Go in consideration for a gear review.