Are Meal Replacement Shakes Good for Hiking?
Hiking is one of the greatest pastimes, combining the beauty of nature, the health benefits of exercise, and the endorphin high you get from completing amazing challenges. Packing food for hiking sucks though, and hikers are always searching for a solution. Are meal replacement shakes good for hiking? Or are there better options?
Meal replacement shakes are good for hiking as they are calorie-dense (400 calories per 100 grams of powder), easy to make, safe to transport, and high in protein, fibre, and nutrients. They can help you keep your pack light, and require no equipment other than a shaker.
In this article, we will be taking a close look at each of the reasons why meal replacement shakes are good for hiking. Helping you to decide whether they are the right option for you.
Are Meal Replacement Shakes Good for Hiking?
There are a number of factors that can affect the necessary weight of your pack. How long you are hiking, how difficult the terrain, the amount of access you have to shops along the way, and how many people are in your group.
Larger groups can spread out the weight more easily, while those walking alone tend to have heavier packs. Short hikes require less weight and you have more endurance and strength over shorter distances.
But even long hikes can be made easy if you have access to shops along the way. Stopping for lunch at a local pub or restaurant means you don’t have to carry lunch for that day. A local supermarket means you can fully replenish food stocks halfway through your hike, and therefore don’t need to carry much for the first couple of days.
This all comes down to planning. But, sometimes you choose a hike that requires you to carry several days’ worth of meals at once, at this point, it comes down to the weight of the food, and what equipment is needed to prepare it.
In this article, we will be making the argument that meal replacement shakes are one of the best foods you can pack for hiking.
Six Reasons Why Meal Replacement Shakes are Ideal for Hiking
Here are six reasons why meal replacement shakes are ideal for hiking, these reasons can apply to one-day hikes, two-day hikes, or even ten-day hikes!
Reason #1 They are lightweight
This is perhaps the most important reason why meal replacement shakes are great for hiking. They are incredibly light. They are also calorie-dense, in the sense that just 100 grams of powder, when mixed with water, contains 400 calories.
This means that you could carry 10 meals for a total weight of 1 kg. Which is the equivalent of three cans of food, or 4-5 dehydrated meals.
Meal replacement shakes are also very small and won’t take up much space in your backpack. Unlike dehydrated meals, you don’t have a lot of packaging surrounding each meal, just one bag that can hold up to 20 meals.
Reason #2 They require very little equipment
All you need to create a meal replacement meal is a scoop or spoon, a shaker, and some water. There is no need for saucepans, gas canisters, matches, plates, bowls, cutlery, a washing-up bowl, or any of the paraphernalia required to cook a meal.
This can save a lot of space in your bag, and it can help to keep your pack light. Making walking easier and more enjoyable.
Reason #3 They are highly nutritious
Hiking is a surprisingly intense form of exercise, that can utilise a number of nutrients in your body. This means that you need a highly nutritious diet to help you recover well.
Luckily, high-quality meal replacement shakes such as Rootana are packed full of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and protein. All designed to keep your body in top condition.
Reason #4 They Won’t Spoil
This isn’t much of an issue on day hikes, but food spoilage can be a big issue on longer hikes. This is why the dehydrated meal industry is so popular. But as we have already mentioned, meal replacement shakes have a lot of advantages over dehydrated meals.
Meal replacement shakes aren’t affected by heat or humid conditions. They aren’t bruised by being squashed in your bag (like fruit would be), and unless you’ve had the shakes for a year already they are incredibly unlikely to be past their sell-by date.
This is a really big deal on longer hikes, and it also allows you the luxury of bringing perishable foods for the first couple of meals. Because you know that your meal replacements aren’t going to be affected by being served later on in the hike.
Reason #5 They Can Be Prepared in Seconds
The process for preparing your shakes is very efficient. Grab your shaker, pour in some water (400-500 ml), open your powder bag and scoop out two servings. Pour them into the shaker, tighten the lid and then shake vigorously.
Drink your shake, rinse out your shaker (or fill it with water to drink as you walk) and you are ready to go. Anyone who has arrived late to their designated camping spot for the night will know how important it is to prepare your meal quickly while you still have light.
Reason #6 You Don’t Need a Fire to Heat Them
This is one area where meal replacement shakes really outperform dehydrated meal packs. Don’t get us wrong, we love dehydrated meal packs, and think that they are a great option for hiking. But, they are usually horrible when eaten cold.
This means that you need to find a way to heat them, which usually involves boiling water over a gas or wood fire. This requires you to bring a gas fire and cylinder on your hike, and a saucepan to hold the meal in.
It also means that you have to wait at least six minutes for the water to boil, possibly longer, and you’re going to need to stir the food and then clean your cooking utensils. It doesn’t sound like a big deal when reading this article, but after a long walk, it can feel massive.
Why Rootana is Perfect for Nature Lovers
It is no surprise that many hikers are also lovers of environmentally-friendly foods and real food ingredients. Rootana offers both of these, without any of the artificial sweeteners and colourings that so many meal replacement shakes use.
Rootana contains 400 calories per serving, 20 grams of protein, 7 grams of fibre, and 44 grams of carbohydrates. It also contains 13-16 grams of healthy fats (depending on which flavour you choose). An ideal meal choice for nature-loving hikers!
The purpose of this article is to discuss the benefits of using a meal replacement shake. The purpose is not to disparage other food choices. Dehydrated meals, energy bars, dried fruits, nuts, etc are all popular for a reason, but we believe that meal replacements are a great alternative, particularly if your pack is heavy.