I’ve been trying a few new meal options over the past month in preparation for a multi-week section hike along the Appalachian Trail, which has included testing out Mountain House and Harmony House backpacking meals and Knorr Rice and Pasta sides. Frankly, I’ve been appalled by the amount of sodium included in these meals, especially since the other trail food (nuts, bars, salty snacks) I often eat during the day, also have their share of added salt.
For instance, here’s a list of backpacking meals, mainly dinners, I’ve compiled that lists the amount of sodium per serving and by package, since more often than not you’ll eat the whole thing in one sitting. As a point of reference, US Guidelines recommend eating a maximum of 2300 mg of sodium per day.
Even if you’re not at risk for high sodium intake, meals that have a large amount of sodium in them can be unpleasant to eat, if only because you have to drink so much water to overcome the thirst they create.
Using the list above, I’ve picked out a few of the meals with less salt, mainly from Good-to-Go and Outdoor Herbivore that I plan to eat every week with a little rice added in. I’ll also eat a few of the higher sodium meals, but not on successive days.
While eating meals high in sodium probably wouldn’t affect me if I had to do it everyday for a short weekend trip, it’s not something I want to subject my body to over a period of weeks. Finding all this extra sodium in backpacking food, some of it quite extreme, was a real eye opener. There’s got to be a better way.
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