by Diane Spicer
This Nutberg review considers a drinkable meal for lightweight, easy to prepare backpacking menus or as a substitute for lunch during a day hike.
Nutberg contacted Hiking For Her and generously provided three different flavors of drinkable meals:
There is no affiliate or financial relationship between Nutberg and HFH.
All photos and opinions in this Nutberg review belong to Hiking For Her.
An additional disclosure: Hiking For Her is keenly interested in gluten free, plant based, flavorful and easy prep foods for hiking.
While flavor and preparation are certainly important, a hiker thinks first about weight and calories when choosing food for the trail, especially on an extended backpacking trip.
So let's start there in this Nutberg review.
One packet of Nutberg weighs - are you ready for this? - 110g, less than a bar of chocolate.
You will need 300 - 350ml of water to reconstitute the meal, so be careful to factor in that amount of water (and its weight) if you're hiking in a dry area.
A thorough discussion of the hiking nutrition per packet of Nutberg is coming up.
For now, realize that 500 calories are available to you, regardless of which flavor you choose: classic, banana or cocoa.
That's a pretty high hit of energy for the amount of weight you'll be carrying per packet.
The basic ingredients delivering those nutrients, regardless of flavor:
We already know that these drinkable meal packets are lightweight, nutrient dense, and easily stackable in a food bag or bear canister.
But how quickly can you get one ready for consumption?
And how do they taste?
The process of preparing a Nutberg meal could not be simpler.
1. Measure 300 - 350 ml water into your water bottle.
2. Toss in the metal agitator (your anti-clump device).
3. Open the vacuum sealed packet by tearing across the top where it's notched.
4. Dump the powder into your bottle, being careful to capture all of it.
4. Shake, shimmy, and salivate for a few minutes.
5. Bottoms up!
Be a good citizen by practicing Leave No Trace principles: carry out the empty packet for proper disposal, and re-use the rinsed off metal agitator again and again.
Just in case this point escapes you:
No stove, no fuel, no set up time, no pots to clean
Are you fully grasping the advantage of carrying these meals into the backcountry?
These easy to prepare "meals" can also be trail snacks every few hours when you're pushing hard and burning calories at a stupendous rate.
Let's just get one thing right out into the open in this Nutberg review:
Also, if you have food allergies involving nuts, coconut, rice, tapioca or guar gum, steer clear of these meals.
For the rest of us, you're gonna appreciate the clear, unmuddied flavors in these drinkable meals!
And if you're already on a plant based (vegan) or strictly Paleo diet (lots of coconut), this is right up your flavor profile!
NOTE: Nutberg offers a "Good Taste Guarantee" if you're hesitant to try these flavors. See their website for details.
Each of the three flavor packets had their own little quirks, and by that, I mean distinct tastes.
Time to get detailed about flavors in this Nutberg review.
I tried the cocoa Nutberg first, because, well, chocolate.
The water I used was just above room temperature, and I allowed the mixture to sit for 5 minutes before drinking it.
The coconut flakes definitely got my attention on my first sip, in a good way. They provided texture and reinforced my expectation of coconut flavors.
The drink was thicker than I expected, not sweet and not overpowering in its cocoa taste as some other cocoa based dehydrated mixtures have been.
There is a hint of coffee, too.
A few hacks to personalize it:
I am somewhat averse to artificial banana flavorings in candy, pudding, or other foods.
So I was looking forward to trying this banana-y drinkable meal to see if it really tasted like banana.
I found this flavor to be less about banana than about nutty goodness from almonds and hazelnuts.
And I definitely got an "oatmeal" hit from it, which was quite satisfying because GF oats are a staple in my diet.
A few flavor hacks:
Tip: Don't expect a vivid yellow color, even though the packet is yellow, because there are no artificial colorings in Nutberg (hurrah!).
I wasn't expecting much from this flavor, as you can tell because I saved it for last in this Nutberg review.
Mild flavors don't hold my attention on a long hiking trip.
However, in this case, the neutral flavors in the classic packet provided an opportunity for some culinary creativity:
Now that I've got you salivating, let's turn our attention to something just as important as flavor for successful hiking trips: the nutrient profile of Nutberg.
As an older hiker, it really matters to me what I put into my body on a hiking trip.
So I was very careful to size up the nutrients offered in these Nutberg packets.
For a complete data profile, use Nutberg's breakdown by flavor.
For a fast overview, stick with me for a bit.
Hiking For Her provides a detailed discussion of the importance of the "Big 3" nutrients here.
This is what your body gets in one banana flavored Nutberg packet:
Carbohydrates (energy): 40.5g, of which 11.7g are simple carbs (fast energy) in the form of glucose
Protein (for building and repair): 27.6g
Fats (for satiety and muscle energy): 26g
That's a generous dose of nutrients!
And their "friends"?
Recall that all of this totals to 500 calories, which a hiker regards as an abundant energy supply from one little packet.
Expect high fat content from coconut and nuts.
The question becomes: "What kind of fats, and how will they help me on a hike?"
Of the 26 grams of fat, around half (12.5g) are saturated.
Bottom line: Nutberg is high in saturated fat and while you're hiking, you're likely to use this fuel rather than convert it to fat.
For muscle strength, consider the omegas provided in Nutberg:
This ratio skews toward the healthy side, when compared to the 10:1 ratio typical of American diets.
Both of these are polyunsaturated "essential" fats (EFAs) which help build strong cell membranes (and therefore strong muscles), but they play different roles in your hard working hiking body:
There's a lot more to the fat story than that, so contact me if you need more details.
In this review, let's just say that Nutberg is giving you plenty of muscle fuel to keep you going on the trail.
Going with our banana example, here are the percentages of some of the harder to obtain (in typical hiking food) vitamins and minerals.
The values are percentages of daily intake in one packet:
(A full run down is available on the Nutberg site).
Why do these micronutrients matter to hikers?
Proper enzyme function, for one thing.
That translates into muscles which are willing to contract hour after hour, and clear, sharp decision making for navigation.
I think it's prudent to mention three things, in this order:
I hit a glitch almost immediately when I tried to use the wire agitator (included, see photo above).
My Nalgene bottle, although a wide neck version which I carry on every hike, wasn't wide enough!
This would have been a problem on a hike, although a smooth, clean rock of the appropriate size would have been a fine substitute to break up the powder clumps.
Instead, I prepared the drinks in a wide mouth pitcher with a tight fitting lid.
This is just one reason why I always try something new in the comfort of my own kitchen.
You never know when your best laid plans are going to go haywire out on the trail!
The Nutberg folks recommend a different style of Nalgene bottle.
The OTF water bottle holds 22 fluid ounces, so the right amount of water plus the Nutberg powder will fit easily.
It has a tightly fitted lid for safe shaking, and is easy to hold and drink from once your Nutberg is ready.
To most American taste buds, Nutberg will be distinctly lacking in a bold amount of sweetness. Our diet includes sugar in just about every type of prepared food, and we've come to expect it in meals.
However, if your taste buds have been weaned off cane and beet sugar, you will immediately appreciate the subtle nutty and spicy flavors.
And you can always try some of my flavor hacks if the lack of sweetness prevents you from full enjoyment of Nutberg right out of the package.
To get the most nutrition from each packet, you have to be diligent about breaking up the clumps and allowing enough time for thorough mixing.
While the metal agitator they provide does its best to break up the clumps, you have to be diligent to get all of them broken apart.
If you don't, your flavor profile will be weaker than you'd expect.
Also, lumps will need more water (which you might not have budgeted into your daily weight and pack volume), and more shaking (which takes time and attention away from other things you might need to be doing).
Let's wrap up our Nutberg review!
This company is easy to deal with, and has taken pains to meet all stringent European and U.S. food regulations.
Each meal is conveniently packaged, and costs ~$3.25 US.
To recap why Nutberg makes sense for your hiking plans:
I can definitely see myself using Nutberg at the end of a long day when various mishaps and weather issues have kept me on the trail longer than anticipated.
The opposite scenario may also play out on the trail:
I want to get an early start and don't want to fuss with breakfast.
I can also see myself stashing some Nutberg pouches in my carry on luggage for inevitable travel delays and lay overs.
After drinking in all the facts in this Nutberg review, it's your turn to give "the finest meal on the go" a try.
Head on over to their website and see how easy it is to get your questions answered and an order placed!
For more HFH nutrition and food tips, head over here.