Back in 2021 I had bought to review a wide range of Next Mile Meals freeze-dried meals. I reviewed a number of them and then the other meals got lost in the Hiker Pantry, way in the back. Oops. I came across them recently and was “I really need to finish the reviews“. I actually couldn’t remember when I had bought them till I looked up the old reviews. At least it was only 2 years ago, and not 3 or more. Hahahaha. Of the 4 meals I had left, 1 was not sold anymore, so I picked the 3 still sold to review.
One note: I paid $14.00 per meal then. They are $15.95 now due to inflation.
Now then…this was something I noticed. The meals I bought carried a manufacturing code on the top, but didn’t have an expiration date. That was troubling to me, since as I mentioned above, I wasn’t sure at first what year I had bought the meals in. Hopefully this has changed since then, but if not, I would suggest you mark on the back, with a Sharpie Marker, the date you bought it on. I had to search in the FAQ section to find out the shelf life.
Well, oopsies. It was a year. Hahahaha. Good times. I am so used to commercial meals being at least 3 years, normally 5 years and some on the 20 to 25 year end. But they all passed the sniff test. Which is totally scientific I might add. All joking aside, freeze-dried food holds well past suggested years. If it has gone bad you can tell easily. It will smell bad. If the ingredients are crisp and dry looking and smell like the meal, it’s fine. If it is soft and smells of anything but the ingredients, toss it.
Now having said that…..there will be a note in the Deli Roast Beef meal about the condiments packed in the meal, below.
Amazon carries a 6 pack sampler of the meals for $106. It is more expensive than buying direct but if one needed it quickly it might be an option.
All the Next Mile Meals are gluten-free (though not certified) (they call it “gluten conscious”) and are Keto friendly. This is one reason for the price point on the meals (being about $16 per meal, which serves 1 person) as they are meat centric with vegetables. or not any added. There are no (cheap) carbs to lower the cost.
For me, the sodium is far higher than I like. The meals are single serving, and range from 1,000 to 1,500 mg sodium per bag. If it’s hot though, for most people it is fine. It’s definitely better than some brands which an entire bag can top 2,500 mg or more.
The real upside is these meals are in the 50+ grams of protein per bag. That is a filling meal for sure, and will fuel you for a long time.
Buffalo Style Ranch Chicken. It retails for $15.95.
520 calories, 57 grams protein and 1,280 mg sodium. It’s got flavor for sure. It also rehydrated the best of the 3 meals. And it has lots of peppers in it, for a nice veggie addition.
Deli Roast Beef. It retails for $15.95.
Upon opening up the meal I noted it had 1 mustard and 2 mayo packets. I went to the website to look up just how long those packets were considered “good” and their answer was 180 days after the meal was packed for sale. The mustard packet was actually hardish inside so I tossed those packets quickly (they were at least 2 years old) and used fresh condiments I had on hand instead. Safety first!
I added 6 ounces water as noted on the back, stirred well and let sit tightly sealed for 15 minutes.
I opened it up and added in mayo and mustard, stirring it in.
This meal had far too much water left, so the mayo became a soup sauce. It still tasted good. In fact, of the 3 meals, this was my favorite. It would have been great served over rice as well, if you eat carbs. As is, it was far too soupy to use in a tortilla wrap, as suggested. Most likely I should have drained off any remaining water before adding the condiments.
A generous portion. It had a good flavor profile, but I feel it only needed 5 ounces water. It says 5 to 7 minutes to rehydrate, I did 15 minutes and I felt it didn’t absorb enough. However, I find cubed freeze-dried beef often has this issue – no matter the brand. Got 20 minutes? Take the time. Or as I note above, drain it a bit before mixing in the mayo and mustard.
530 calories, 51 grams protein, 1,570 mg sodium for the bag.
Chicken & Broccoli Casserole. It retails for $15.95.
This meal I felt needed 7 ounces of water. It absorbed all the water added and even though I had stirred very well, it had a dry clump in it. I was able to beat that in before plating up. Now then…I won’t lie. I am not a huge fan of freeze-dried broccoli. It reeks to me (it’s the same with cauliflower chips). I couldn’t get past the heavy smell of the veg. It isn’t to say it’s the meals fault – most commercial dehydrated and freeze-dried broccoli has this issue (the only one I have found I liked is Thrive Life’s broccoli and the frozen broccoli we freeze-dry at home, in our Harvest Right machine). So this meal was a no go for me.
However, a certain Golden Retriever laid there and licked the bowl clean. He thought it was simply the best meal he had had since…..breakfast. He loves meal review days and happily joins me to “help”. He’d tell you that the chicken, cheese and greens were perfect and that he barked at his sister who was trying to get some…..
590 calories, 1010 mg sodium, 55 grams protein.
These meals are great if you are looking for protein heavy. keto friendly options. They have good flavor and are easy to make. However, watch the expiration dates and remember to use these meals up first.
FDC Disclaimer: We bought all product reviewed above, all thoughts are ours.