Backpacking is one of the fastest-growing forms of travel, allowing you to explore exotic and beautiful countries away from the well-trodden paths of mass tourism. One of the few downsides of backpacking, though, is the food. Can I use meal replacement shakes for backpacking? This article will tell you everything you need to know about meal replacement shakes and travel.
You can certainly use meal replacement shakes for backpacking, and they offer many advantages. They won’t spoil, are easy to carry, and are simple to prepare. They can help you to avoid an upset stomach as you slowly acclimatise to the new cuisine.
This article will explain why meal replacement shakes can be so beneficial, the practicalities of using them, and which meal replacement shakes are best for backpacking.
What are Meal Replacement Shakes?
Meal replacement shakes are similar to protein shakes but are usually comprised of a mix of protein, fats, carbs, and fibre. They are used either as a replacement for a meal (unsurprisingly), or they can be used as a supplement or snack.
Most meal replacements are served in powdered form, and you can then add water, milk, or a non-dairy alternative to them in a shaker. Pre-mixed drinks are becoming increasingly popular, but these are a more expensive option and are not well-suited to backpacking, so we won’t be discussing them in this article.
Can I Use Meal Replacement Shakes for Backpacking?
Meal replacement shakes are great for backpacking, and this article will describe exactly why. It’s not something that you need permission for, none of the ingredients is illegal or dangerous (unlike certain supplements), and you are not going to have any issues bringing them in through customs. In fact, most meal replacement shakes can be bought internationally.
5 Reasons why Meal Replacement Shakes are Perfect for Backpacking
There are many reasons why you should consider meal replacement shakes when backpacking; here are five of the biggest.
Reason #1 Meal Replacement Shakes are light and don’t take up much space
Many people choose to pack their own food as much as possible while backpacking. This is a smart move economically, allowing you to stick to your budget instead of spending a small fortune on eating out three times per day.
But food can take up a lot of space. It can also weigh quite a lot. Meal replacement shakes are ideal because they are very calorie dense. 100 grams of Rootana (for example) can contain 400 calories, whereas 100 grams of bread will only contain 265 calories while taking up a lot more space.
If you’ve read our article on hiking, you will know that keeping your backpack as light as possible is very important, as a heavy bag can cause discomfort and stress.
Reason #2 Meal Replacement Shakes are ideal in an emergency
Picture the scene, you are backpacking through Spain, following the Camino de Santiago, and you take a wrong turn (almost impossible due to how well that route is planned, but you get the idea). You realise that your planned stop for lunch isn’t going to happen.
Luckily, you have a bottle of water in your bag and a shaker bottle with a meal replacement powder. Thirty seconds later, you have a 400-calorie meal inside of you, and you have the energy to get back to the planned route.
We never like to imagine that backpacking can go wrong, but sometimes it can. We’re not saying that a meal replacement shake is going to fix every situation (it won’t, for example, stop that bull from hitting you in Pamplona), but they can help in certain scenarios.
Having a meal that can be forgotten about for 30 days and still be perfectly safe (and delicious) to drink when you need it most is a no-brainer decision for any backpacker.
Reason #3 Meal Replacement Shakes can help you adjust to the local cuisine
There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to eating food abroad. The idea that you can get an upset stomach because the food in (insert country here) is unhygienic is usually false. Often, we get upset stomachs because we are not used to the richness of the food or the spiciness, or it is prepared in a way that we are not used to.
Also, sometimes food just isn’t hygienic!
Meal replacement shakes are a great option for travelling because you can use them during your first few days as you slowly phase in more and more foods from the country you are visiting. This can really help you to adjust to the different cuisine available.
Also, if you are feeling the effects of drastically changing your diet, then a meal replacement shake is the perfect food to settle your stomach.
Reason #4 Meal Replacement Shakes are inexpensive
Meal replacement shakes are usually inexpensive, particularly when compared to eating out. It is certainly possible to cook meals that have a lower cost per serving, but that is a luxury that backpacking does not offer.
Another consideration with meal replacement shakes is that the cost is front-loaded. Meaning that you can purchase 30 days’ worth of meals before setting off. This ensures that all of the money you bring with you on your trip can be spent on other things.
Reason #5 Meal Replacement Shakes are nutritious and high in protein
Eating out is one of the best parts of backpacking, experiencing local foods, fancy dishes, and treating yourself to desserts, snacks, appetisers, and drinks. All of this is great, but it can be low in nutrition, particularly fibre, vitamins and minerals, and protein.
Having a meal replacement shake once per day can help with this. They are packed full of micronutrients, are high in good-quality plant-based protein, and they often include natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, and healthy fats.
How to Use Meal Replacement Shakes for Backpacking?
The first thing that you should consider when taking meal replacement shakes with you is when and where you will have access to clean running water. A meal replacement shake requires water or milk or a non-dairy alternative to mix with the powder.
This means that you either need to ensure that you can purchase bottled water at certain points during your backpacking journey, or you need to be able to carry water with you. This is not some added struggle that only meal replacement shakes cause. You need access to water anyway to prevent dehydration.
Once you have your water, or you know where on your route you can get some, then you can pay attention to storing your meal replacement shake powder securely.
Most meal replacement shakes have decent packaging that is easy to open and close. But you really want to ensure that your powder does not leak when placed in a backpack. Keep it near the top of your backpack, and you might want to separate it into serving sizes in Ziplock bags.
Keeping your shaker clean is vital, as a dirty shaker will smell terrible after a while. If you can’t find places to wash your shaker, then a good compromise is to use your shaker as a water bottle after each meal. This will help to keep it clean and also allows you to get a full serving, rather than leaving lots on the side of the shaker.
Why Rootana is the Perfect Meal Replacement Shakes for Backpacking
Rootana is perfect for backpacking because it is highly nutritious, has a low cost per serving, tastes great, and is high in protein and fibre. Meaning that you will feel fuller for longer while you travel. This can help you with weight maintenance.
Rootana uses high-quality oats, pea protein, and healthy fats, and it is fully vegan. It is also environmentally friendly and free from artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, stevia, or aspartame. You can carry 30 days’ worth of Rootana around in your backpack easily, and it won’t take up much space.
If you want, you can purchase the metal scoop and shaker, which are even easier to clean. They are also amazingly durable and can handle even the most arduous of journeys.
Not only is Rootana good for you and the environment, but it is also delicious, inexpensive, and can be easily used when backpacking. If you are planning on travelling, then Rootana is a no-brainer decision.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Take Meal Replacement Shakes on a Plane?
Yes, you can take meal replacement shakes on a plane, provided that they are still in powdered form (no liquids on planes allowed). The best practice would be to pack them in a sealed container and make sure that they are clearly labelled. You can declare them if you prefer and may have to answer some questions, but this is rare.
Are Meal Replacement Shakes Healthy?
Provided you are consuming your meal replacement shake as part of a healthy diet. Then you can expect to see improvements in your health. Meal replacements are high in micronutrients and often contain lots of healthy fibre, protein, and fats.
How Many Meal Replacement Shakes Should I Take While Backpacking?
This is up to you and should be based on the circumstances of your trip. If your backpacking involves lots of time spent in the wilderness, then replacing two meals (or more) might make sense. If you are backpacking through cities, then having one per day would make more sense.