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Portion sizes for home dehydrated dinners?
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d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Portion sizes for home dehydrated dinners? on 07/18/2013 11:23:53 MDT Print View

It's been a few years since we have seriously dehydrated meals for a trip, and we seem to have lost our file listing weights per portion that we used. My recollection is that we would generally take 1.5 oz of cooked and dehydrated rice or pasta, plus either 2.5 or 3.5 oz of "main course" (usually some sort of bean-based dish, curry or chili or the like), but I can't remember which. If it wasn't a rice or pasta dish, perhaps 4.5 oz (something like tamale pie). I also remember having too much food sometimes at high altitude when our appetites were not up to their normal ravenous standards.

Does anyone have a rule of thumb for portion sizes of home-dehydrated meals? We'll be basically having one main dish, a very light soup, and a dessert for dinner meals.

David Noll
(dpnoll) - MLife

Locale: Maroon Bells
Portion sizes on 07/18/2013 18:56:09 MDT Print View

I usually start a trip with about 5-5 1/4 oz of dehydrated food in a freezer bag and increase to about 5 1/2 - 5 3/4 oz per bag by day 4. We usually have chocolate for dessert. However at altitude we will have a thick soup the 1st night.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Portion sizes on 07/19/2013 01:00:51 MDT Print View

Thanks... that sounds similar, at least. Anyone else have a standard portion weight?

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Portion sizes on 07/19/2013 05:29:15 MDT Print View

I usually start with some rice/pasta dish, about 5-6oz. Add in any veggies, spices, beans, lentils or meats about 1-2 ounces.

This is about 1000C. With a light soup (boulion, olive oil, veggies) this will add another 200C or so. Cocoa is good: a melted Hersheys bar, a packet of coca mix and a dash of cayenne pepper. This may take a couple minutes to prepare, I guess.

I believe you had the proportions backwards in your origonal note. The carbs should be about 5-6oz. Spice, beans, etc are the lesser amount. But this is mostly about taste. They have close to the same calories.

Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
rice on 07/31/2013 23:50:30 MDT Print View

I find that rice and couscous dishes need a little less, around 4-5oz. and all else 5-6oz.
Im a bigger guy but usually don't eat a LOT anyway

Edited by JasonG on 08/01/2013 13:28:53 MDT.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Re: dehydrating foods on 08/02/2013 09:29:27 MDT Print View

For wet foods (stews, rice and beef, chili, etc), I like to dehydrate 3 cup portions. This ends up being about 1 1/2 cups dry, weighs about 5-6 oz, has 500-700 kcal, and rehydrates with 1 1/2 cups water.

For pasta, I use between 4-6 oz dry pasta (cooked) plus 1-1.5 cups wet sauce per serving. Again, weight ends up being about 6 oz and rehydrates with 1 1/2 to 2 cups water.

Often, I'll throw in an ounce or two of freeze dried chicken or sausage if I want to beef up calories or portion size.

Hope this helps as a starting point.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Re: dehydrating foods on 08/02/2013 09:41:54 MDT Print View

Thanks, all. 3 cup servings sounds like more than we eat at altitude, but I'm ending up packing about 4.5 oz dried total for a serving, along with about 2 oz of soup (they've ended up being more hearty than I'd originally planned) and 2 oz dessert. I think this should be enough; we're out for a week, so we can make things up rather quickly once we get back if we've felt deprived.

The BF went on a work-related camping trip in Tahoe last weekend and took similar portions as a test run; he thought it worked out OK, and he didn't have soups.

This time I am keeping meticulous records of what I'm bringing of each dish, and will keep a printed copy somewhere too in case the computer loses the file...

Edited by dkramalc on 08/02/2013 09:48:37 MDT.

Richard May

Locale: Swamplands.
portion size ... on 08/02/2013 10:10:32 MDT Print View

I do 6oz dinner, 4oz breakfast, 9.2oz snacks of dry food. This worked for me at 12000 feet for two nights, except the first when I was really hungry after the day's ascent.

I am a newbie with this kind of cooking and this was based on a book recommendation... worked for me no-less. I took homemade, dehydrated ground beef pasta casserole and spaghetti bolognese.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Portion sizes for home dehydrated dinners? on 08/02/2013 13:19:03 MDT Print View

I go by what I know works for ME. I like say 4 ounces pasta, or 1 cup instant rice. 1/4 cup dried veggies, 1/4 cup dried protein...for me that works out to 1-2 cups water needed.

I don't weigh food often, unless I am writing up recipes for the blog and website....

Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Portion sizes for home dehydrated dinners? on 08/03/2013 20:57:43 MDT Print View

I'll second what Sarah says. All of our meals are dehydrated and end up requiring about 1.5-2 cups water.

Looking back over the last couple of years of longish distance hikes, dinners end up being about 3.6-4.8 oz, and a total weight of ~23oz per person per day.

Having said that, we haven't been managing dehydration and electrolyte imbalance very well and at altitude we've lost our appetites and ended up bringing at least 1/5 of our meals and 1/4 of our snacks back home with us. I'd hate to count on not eating, though! In 2 weeks we're doing the 100 mile wilderness and are taking some sodium pills along with us to help out.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Portion sizes for home dehydrated dinners? on 08/03/2013 21:59:13 MDT Print View

Well, I'll report back after our trip on how things worked. We may end up relocating; were planning Humphreys basin area, but the smoke from the Aspen fire may end up making that a less desirable destination.

Nathan Lare
(cirque) - MLife
Re: Portion sizes for home dehydrated meals on 08/08/2013 20:42:00 MDT Print View

I have found that for me on trips of about a week or less that my appetite is the same as it home or sometimes lower regardless of how hard I hike. I have started dehydrating my own meals from leftovers at home. The best thing I have found for me was to dish out the cooked food in the portion size I would eat at home and then just dry that. It worked well on my last trip and I am planning to do it that way on my next one too.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Portion sizes for home dehydrated dinners on 08/19/2013 11:25:02 MDT Print View

It turned out that portion sizes were just about right for us; we needed to push ourselves to finish off the portions a couple of the nights, but we were never hungry after dinners. Lunches needed supplementation with nuts, etc., but we'd expected that and packed extras accordingly; breakfasts and dinners worked out great.

Our breakfasts were around 11 oz for 3 of us, or 3.6 oz per serving. Our dehydrated lunches were Laurie Ann March's Citrus Lentil (~4 oz per serving) and Indian Carrot (about 2 oz per serving) salads (other lunches were a few ounces of nuts/dried fruit/sesame sticks, plus a trail bar or cookies split 3 ways). Dinners were 4.5 oz per serving (generally 1.5 oz of starch with 3.0 oz of "stuff"), with the exception of spaghetti which was 4 oz plus 1 oz dried cottage cheese. We ended up having soup with dinner twice (1.5 - 2 oz per serving) and dessert every night (1.3 - 2 oz per serving).

So in terms of satiety, I felt full after each meal, and wasn't hungry until the next mealtime. BUT - I did feel more tired towards the end of the week, and am wondering if it was due to not getting sufficient calories, resulting in my body breaking down muscle? The meals were not particularly dense in calories, but pretty much the same nutrient balance as we eat at home - perhaps I need to include more fat in the backpacking meals to keep calories higher. The two guys did not have this complaint, so it may just be that the altitude and hiking eventually wore me out (also we were traveling faster by the end of the week, so maybe it just exceeded my capacity for speed). I *think* I lost some pounds on the trip, but too soon to tell; my weight hasn't yet stabilized since getting home Friday night.

I have to give big thanks to Laurie Ann for her wonderful recipes - I ordered both her cookbooks after returning from the trip, since the few recipes of hers I had gleaned from the web worked out so deliciously!

Breakfasts: granola
chili relleno casserole
carrot cake quinoa flake porridge

Lunch: Citrus Lentil Salad + snacks
Indian Carrot Salad + snacks
trail mix

Dinner: Jambalaya with rice
Masoor dal with rice
Channa masala with rice
Spaghetti with red sauce, kale, dried cottage cheese
Black beans with quinoa

Soups: tortilla/lentil soup
Thai curry noodle soup

Desserts: Plum and apple crisps
Coconut/banana or coconut/banana/chocolate chia pudding
Trader Joe's triple ginger cookies

Oh yes, and one night with fresh trout as an appetizer. :)

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Portion sizes for home dehydrated dinners on 08/19/2013 16:07:00 MDT Print View

We don't work out portion sizes, but we do weigh the total amount of food.

We take between 1.5-1.75 lbs/person/day. If everything is fully dried then 1.5 lbs/day/person, more if we bring heavier luxury foods (e.g. fresh foods or cans of gourmet food).

If we're a little off on a portion we just eat something else.

If you are meticulous you can get away with 1.4 lbs/person/day, but there's probably no wiggle room at this weight. Of course some people are happy hiking hungry...

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: RE: Portion sizes for home dehydrated dinners on 08/19/2013 16:31:09 MDT Print View

I just don't think there is any way I could get 1.5 pounds/day of dehydrated meals into myself at 10,000 feet...I could barely eat all of what we had, which seemed to be substantially less than that. Perhaps if there was more fat/less fiber in what we took?

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Portion sizes for home dehydrated dinners on 08/20/2013 07:28:49 MDT Print View

Not sure about 1.5 lbs/day at altitude, but many people use about the same amount for regular hiking. Much of the food is dense so you don't feel like you are eating that much (home-made fruit/nut bars, for instance, also hard salami and dried fruit).

I recall years ago forcing myself to eat and drink at altitude. My standard glacier climbing strategy (Mt Rainier and other Washington volcanoes) was to eat and drink as much as I felt like during breaks, then force myself to eat/drink the same amount again. I.e. I always ate/drank at least double what I felt like. The result was far fewer headaches, fatigue and other ailments at altitude than most everyone else.

Delmar O'Donnell

Locale: Between Jacinto & Gorgonio
Weighs In on 08/25/2013 20:43:21 MDT Print View

On a recent 3-day, my "main dish" for dinner was 3 oz of quinoa or lentils dehydrated. (Optionally, add up to an ounce of goodies like walnuts, raisins, jerky, or coconut.) I thought the 3 oz dehy amount was a good sized portion for me, weighing 165 lbs. Dinner also included 2 oz of cracker/flatbread, 1.5 oz of walnuts, and 1.5 oz of M&Ms, which were never finished. So this dinner was bigger than my stomach at 8 oz total--7oz would have been a better fit.

I carefully measured how much I ate ... ate till full, never hungry ... and averaged 1 lb 6 oz of food eaten a day...virtually all of it dry or dehydrated foods. For me, packing 1.5 lbs of food a day leaves a sufficient "safety net" of uneaten food for an extra meal or two, if it comes to that.

Edited by Bolster on 08/25/2013 20:54:22 MDT.