mountain house calories

Mountain House Freeze Dried Food Pouches – Calories

A list of the calories in the various pouches of Mountain House freeze dried food. It’s important to know this. Why? Because the use-case-scenario for these food pouches are those of which calories are important. Let me explain…

What do most people use Mountain House freeze dried food pouches for? They use them for their very light weight convenience, flavor, and nutritional value while hiking, camping, or any activity where these attributes are important.

There are other manufacturers of freeze dried food pouches. Why am I mentioning Mountain House? Because they have been the leader in this category. The Mountain House brand has always been considered the best in flavor and nutrition. Although I’m sure other brands compete, I decided to dig a bit deeper into the calories that you get in these pouches.

Lets say you’re hiking all day, or part of the day. Those of you who have ever gone out hiking know that the activity can be quite calorie intensive. In other words, your body consumes calories (energy units?) to get through the ordeal. And this needs to be replenished…

Ideally you’re looking for a good combination of calories and nutrition (which includes a balance of carbs and protein). While it’s relatively easy to stuff unhealthy calories into packaged foods (fillers?), the best choices are well balanced with nutrition. I believe the leading brands do a good job here.

I researched the various flavor choices from Mountain House to discover the calories in each pouch. It doesn’t matter what any manufacturer says regarding servings. Servings are arbitrary. What matters are the total calories (and nutritional value). So this is what I discovered…

Calories In A Pouch of Mountain House Freeze Dried

Sorted from highest to lowest calories per pouch

These are their latest pouches as of this post date, as far as I know. Apparently there was a redesign sometime around 2020. They’re marketed as Mountain House Adventure Meals.

Mountain House Pouch DescriptionTotal Calories
Creamy Macaroni & Cheese620
Chicken and Dumplings600
Chicken Fried Rice600
Mexican Style Adobo Rice & Chicken570
Chicken Fajita Bowl560
Beef Stroganoff with Noodles560
Biscuits & Gravy 560
Granola with Milk & Blueberries520
Yellow Curry with Chicken & Rice510
Chicken Teriyaki with Rice480
Spaghetti with Meat Sauce470
Chili Mac with Beef460
Lasagna with Meat Sauce440
Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken420
Beef Stew400
Italian Style Pepper Steak380
Scrambled Eggs with Bacon350

Did you notice something?

Some of these pouches don’t have very many calories, while others contain more. That’s important to know.

For example, lets say after a day’s hike you’re looking forward to a delicious meal. So you heat up some water with your ultralight camp stove, tear open a Mountain House pouch of Italian Pepper Steak, add the hot water, let it sit for a bit, and then eat it. A little while later you’re still hungry… That’s because there’s only 380 calories in that particular flavor pouch.

Whereas a Mountain House pouch of Chicken and Dumplings has 600 calories. That’s a difference…

In my opinion, 600 calories is probably not enough either, depending on the energy you’ve expelled during the outing. Although with that said, if it were me, I would also have a variety of food bar / protein bar snacks with me too. That would supplement well (desert?).

Mountain House Adventure Meals
(their storefront on amzn)

Check The Label For Total Calories Per Container

In conclusion, and I’ve mentioned this before, when it comes to ‘survival food’, it’s a good idea to ignore the proclaimed number of servings. Rather, check the calories (and nutrition).

Many companies (including the aforementioned) have tended to reduce the calorie content, presumably as one method to disguise inflation and/or increase margins. I still believe Mountain House to be one of the best. However pretty soon you might need two pouches to fill ‘er up (the stomach, that is)…

[ Read: Camping Gear List & Checklist of Necessary Things & Nice-to-have ]

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17 Comments

  1. Mountain House definitely the best tasting and good quality in my opinion. There are buckets on Amazon that are ok prices. The boys got one for Christmas last year.

  2. Mountain House is a local company for me being located in a county south of me. Their buckets are available around my area and I have 4 of them stacked in my garage at present time. Freeze dried foods are expensive so in addition to one meal per day, I supplemented my freeze dried foods with a lot of dehydrated foods to supplement. Some of what I carried included: instant soup mixes, jerky, trail mix/gorp, raisins and dried fruit and a breakfast mix which was granola with some trail mix together.

    Try it before you buy it in quantity. Individual tastes will vary so there is no use in buying something you do not like eating.

  3. Though very convenient, the cost per calorie is pretty steep and while they may be good for 2-3 day camping trips they are not a good choice for long distance hiking. When I was hiking the AT, I could get far more calories to weight ratio with olive oil, Knorr Rice/Pasta sides, tuna/chicken packs, Slim Jims, peanut butter, honey, bagels, and granola. If weight and volume (MH packets are large and take up a lot of space considering the small contents) are of no concern and you have other nutrients to supplement they are fine and I have several buckets at home and keep a couple of packs our trucks long with other “get me through a week” supplies.

  4. I wonder if any of MH meals are dairy free? I would send a bunch to my son’s house for his family. Their daughter is allergic to dairy tho. I’ll check their website – maybe they list all ingredients for their meals there.

  5. Biscuits and gravy are a great meal to leave in the vehicle. I really cannot eat two of these as the sodium is just to much. Drink lots of water with all of them.

    1. RWT,
      You bring up a good point in meal planning. When I was hiking I’d burn around 5,000 calories a day and sweated a lot so I could eat whatever I wanted as I could never carry enough food to replace the sodium and calories I burned. However if you are in s SHTF situation depending on one’s situation their food prep could have an adverse affect on their health.

      Examples
      If you live in a rural or remote area you most likely will be able to continue with outside daily chores therefore using the calories and sodium you take in. However if you are in an urban environment and are restricted to staying indoors eating high sodium survival meals it could wreck havoc on your body and create an unexpected medical situation. Us vets, that had to eat MRE’s for any period of time, understand how they can “lock you up” and cause constipation which can lead to pretty severe health issues. Keep Imodium in your preps especially if you are relying on MREs.

      Everyone should “eat what you store” to see what effect it has on your system and whether you like the taste and consistency. If you are having to eat something everyday and it sucks (even if you are hungry) this will have a negative effect on your survival mindset which will definitely reduce your chances of surviving.

      1. – Romeo Charlie,
        Just so you know, Imodium is for diarrhea, not constipation. It will make the problem worse. Try Dulcolax if in a bug out situation, be aware it may cramp you up. Lots of water, stool softeners like Colace, or Milk of Magnesia would be a far better choice.
        – Papa S.

        1. Hey Papa Smurf,
          Thanks for catching my mistake. I was thinking ex-lax and typed imodium. I guess that’s what happens when we get old. Glad it was a typo instead of grabbing the wrong one from the medicine cabinet!

          1. – When I was working in the Urgent Care, we had a mom who brought in her 8-year-old daughter with constipation. “But as soon as I realized she was constipated, I gave her Imodium right away, but now she is feeling worse and is throwing up!”. I had the unenviable job of explaining to Mom just what she had done to her child, while my co-worker got to give daughter the salty, funny-tasting soda pop followed by all the water she could drink. (Magnesium Citrate, if you are not familiar with the stuff)
            – Papa

  6. Reply to RC and Papa S.: So true about FD foods and MRE’s- Both can lead to constipation. There are several things I did to prevent the problem in the first place. First: remember that this is a dietary change and you need to recognize that. (hiking and working outdoors is no place to start a new diet) Second: For freeze dried rations, I would generally add more water than the instructions called for on order of 20% additional water. These meals just seem to rehydrate better this way. Third: The importance of eating a handful of dried fruit and drinking several cups of water or drink with the dried fruit per day.

    Our general guideline on the fire line was at least 1 small cardboard box of Sun-Maid raisins (gratuitous product endorsement- how many remember the little red boxes with the lady wearing the sun bonnet?) per person per day to be eaten in conjunction with whatever else was eaten. The small box of raisins was a general guideline for younger, uneducated fire fighters as a minimum amount of dried fruit to consume to avoid problems before resorting to milk of magnesia or senakot. These days, most grocery stores have a bulk food section where one can make their own trail mix/gorp and the variety of dried fruit can literally boggle the mind. I have also tried adding dried mango and papaya to my gorp with good results.

    1. Cali – wise words on the FD excess water. We always use excess water for FD when backpacking to further assist with general hydration as that can be a problem at elevation. As for constipation, never had and issue, but then we’ve always had fiber bars with us as well. Natural remedy is buckthorn berries, but a little bit goes a long way. Plenty of stories about people confusing them with chokecherries and making a jelly.😀

    2. Mountain house is my go to emergency food and has been for 40 years, have tried all the other brands literally and they do not come close. Noticed the prices on MH have gone way up, and the amount per packet has been decreased. One of my favorites was white chicken chili sadly they discontinued it a few years ago. Always double the suggested time (don’t worry they stay hot for a long period unopened) and I increase the amount of water depending on the meal type. Salt content has never been a issue as I am a salt addict, never in 73 years ever had any health issues with high amounts. In any crisis you body will need salt and I believe the survival food manufacturers factor that in with their products. Stay alert, keep prepping

  7. The sodium in MH causes water retention for DH and I, and is rough on our BP. We made our own meals, in mylar with oxygen absorbers. We know now that milk powder, tomato powder, and FD onion can change in flavor, despite our efforts, so we omit them. Always test recipes! FD food is too expensive to toss, and hard to pick out off-flavored ingredients.

  8. “milk powder, tomato powder, and FD onion can change in flavor”.
    Can you expand some on this statement? How/what is the change? How long was it stored. Stored properly?
    I have a lot of these in my inventory, and will depend on them is a SHTF, plus I really do not like surprises when my life counts on my storage food.
    Perhaps I will get some out and try them to see if there is a problem with taste.

  9. I consider freeze dried food, like Mountain House, to be the base load of my long term food storage. It is my base load because it has such a long shelf life (25 years), that it is outside of any normal food rotation schedule. The packages don’t fratricide other freeze dried packages like canned food does. Every payday, I like to put back a five gallon bucket full freeze dried food. I believe that a freeze dried meal will have more trade value than almost anything else worth storing. The cumulative storage of freeze dried food is outside of short term food loop and grows in volume (base load), rather than the static short term larder inventory.

  10. Hey food for thought (sorry just had to say that). Freeze dried foods are the prepares dream, but for those that do not recognize it they have a one serious concern, many people new and seasoned to prepping sometimes make a serious mistake. That is storing their survival foods in a environment where the temp exceeds 70 degrees. Even mountain house failed to mention this until I believe 2012 or so by labeling their products with a storage temp alert. Remember at a survival convention that I attended with a group and somebody mentioned they stored for several years about a 1k of meals in a metal shed outside where the temps were over 100 degrees for weeks at a time and the temp in the shed was much hotter…. Sadly they were informed that those meals food value would have been decreased to zippo by the heat. My storage room is about 8’ by 20’ and I installed a dedicated small room air conditioner set at 70 degrees for summer, winter time temps freezing temps have no degradation on freeze dried foods. Learning is the icing on the cake for your survival journey…..

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