Review: Nutberg Drinkable Meals

Imagine you're getting on a nine hour flight. You're going to get hungry, your body will need nourishment, but carrying two full meals on the plane is too much of a hassle. Or, you're on a long hike on a hot summer day and need something to replenish all major macronutrients that won't spoil or take up too much space in your pack.

Normally, I steer clear of meal replacements because I've yet to find something that matches the nutritional value I get from sitting down and eating real food. Most are high in carbohydrates and low in protein compared to what I'd eat for a normal meal, don't taste good, don't leave me full or satisfied, and aren't affordable. But sometimes, cooking a full meal, even buying one, isn't the best option. So, then what?

The banana flavored Nutberg meal, before adding water.

When the team at Nutberg contacted me to give their meal replacement drinks a try, I was skeptical, as I usually am about meal replacement options. But after a quick review of the macronutrients and the company story, it seemed possible Nutbergs drinkable meals could change my mind about meal replacement options.

So, what's in a Nutberg drinkable meal? The ingredients in all three flavor options include things like coconut, oats, rice protein, almonds, almond protein, chia seeds, and all are absent of artificial sweeteners. All flavors are gluten free, soy free, and vegan. The Classic, Cocoa, and Banana meal options are all 501 calories with approximately 27.6g protein, 40.5g carbohydrates, 26.0g fat, and 11g fiber.

This macronutrient balance is very different from what I've seen for other meal replacement options, and that's what made Nutberg's meals appealing. On a typical day, I work toward consuming 140-150g protein, 180-200g carbohydrates, and 60-70g fat. The higher protein, lower carbohydrate, and higher fat content mean when I'm on the go, I don't have to completely sacrifice my normal macronutrient balance.

Nutrition information shows a lot more protein and a lot fewer carbs than I'm used to seeing in meal replacement shakes!

Do Nutberg drinkable meals taste good? I tried the chocolate version first, using it as a breakfast replacement on a normal weekday. After opening the packet and dumping the contents into a container for mixing, I added 250mL of water instead of the recommended 300-350mL. I like my smoothies and protein shakes thicker, but the longer the Nutberg meal sat, the thicker it got. For round two of testing, I added 300mL water and that worked out much better.

The chocolate version reminded me of a thinner chocolate almond butter; nutty, chunky, and all around delicious. Delicious, that is, as long as you don't mind drinking something with that texture. (My fiance didn't have the same affinity for the texture that I did). I also tried blending the classic flavor with frozen berries, which was great, though it's not an option I'd have on the trail. The banana and classic options tasted very similar,

All mixed up! In a jar without a blender, the chunks don't all blend in, but that's okay by me.

My main concern with using them as trail "food" is the fact that I need to take a separate blender bottle to make them in, or use a water bottle and clean it as soon as I'm done drinking the meal. They also don't mix as well without a blender, but that didn't bother me; the chunks that didn't fully blend actually tasted like almond butter!

Are Nutberg drinkable meals filling? Yep! I normally have breakfast around 8am, head to work, and by 11am, I'm more than ready for lunch. After using the chocolate version as a breakfast meal replacement, I found I didn't start to feel hungry until noon.

Are they worth it? After tasting all three flavors, yes, but be willing to purchase a higher quantity of meals to keep the price low. The minimum purchase quantity is seven packets, and at that quantity, the price is $6.00/packet. If you're willing to go up to a purchase quantity of 28, the price drops to $3.78 per packet, which sounds much more reasonable to me. (UPDATE: After this review was posted, I received the following from Nutberg - "We've recently changed our bundle quantities and prices for the exact reason you mentioned (15 is now our smallest quantity)."

Time to drink up! The chunks that didn't get mixed up are visible, but I loved chewing on them.

Though it would take me months to consume that many of the meals, I'm planning on taking them in upcoming hikes, long flights (the nine hour flight example is real, I'm heading to Slovakia in July), and trips where timing and resources don't allow me to eat a full meal. In those situations, I could see needing to have a large quantity on hand, making purchasing 28+ of them worth it.

Thanks to the Nutberg team for sending complimentary meals to test, and as is always the case with complimentary samples, opinions expressed here are my own. What do you think, would you give these a try?

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