Did you know you can find just about any food in powdered form these days? Even black bean burger in powder form is readily available! While some powdered foods may not have that “fresh served” touch, their convenience is unbeatable for van lifers, travelers or budget shoppers.
I wish I had learned sooner into my van life travels how handy powdered foods can be. Just add a splash of water or throw into your smoothie, soup or meal and boom: it’s ready. Especially ideal for vanlifers without a fridge.
I haven’t personally tried all of the powdered food options on this list, but my goal is to make you aware of their existence so you can try them if you want!
Quick List of Powdered & Dried Foods
Powdered and Dried Fruit
Fruit is one of the easiest food groups to find in powdered or freeze-dry form. Packed with nutrients and vitamins, they give a variety of foods that extra flavor kick. Try adding powder or dried fruit to smoothies, oatmeal, cereal, ice cream, pudding, salads, trail mix, pancakes…the list goes on.
Fruit Powders and Dried Fruit Options:
Powdered Dairy & Nondairy Milk
Honestly, when I hear “powdered milk” I think of my dad telling me how he and his six siblings grew up on the chunky, gross stuff because it was cost-effective. Blah!
Good news is that powdered milk has come far in terms of taste, variety and quality. What’s more, you can choose to only use it for baked goods or cooked meals if you’d rather stick with real milk for cold meals.
Powdered Milk Options:
Ah, sweet sweet butter. It’s a miracle you can get a big container of butter powder so you always have the versatile treat on-hand. Especially since the price of butter has been on the rise. I frequently use butter for making pancakes, sauteeing vegetables, frying eggs, spreading on toast, adding to rice or potatoes…the list goes on.
You can opt for powdered honey with added sweetness or raw honey powder. Honey is a great way to add sweetness to your food in a “healthy” way. Although honey has sugar, it’s complex sugar accompanied by antioxidants. These take longer for your body to break down, giving you slow-burning energy as opposed to a quick sugar high and then crash. But honey is expensive! That’s why its powder form is a blessing to have around.
The beautiful world of cheese blend powder comes in so many varieties! If you’re like me, you like a different type of cheese with nearly every meal of the day. (Okay that’s a little excessive–but at least once a day). Like all groceries these days, cheese is expensive. Having its powder form available is a great way to spice up dishes such as fried eggs, breakfast burritos, pasta, soups, potatoes, mac n’cheese, etc.
Cheese Powder Options:
Eggs are a staple item for nearly all of my van life breakfast meals–rich in protein and the “right” kind of fat content. But eggs are difficult to store and expensive. That’s why powdered eggs are insanely convenient. While it’s true you can only have your breakfast eggs scrambled if you’re using powdered eggs, you’re also saving tons of money and storage space! Level up one and try this powdered scrambled egg mix by Augason Farms!
Peanut Butter Powder
Peanut butter has made a name for itself over the years as an essential pantry item. Check out peanut butter powder so you always have some ready to go. Its savory, salty flavor pairs so well with sweets, dried or baked goods–and its rich in protein and vitamins. Add it to smoothies, oatmeal, PB&J sandwiches, brownie or cookie dough mix, smear on apples or toast, eat with crackers, or even eat it plain!
Chances are, you’ve already eaten your fair share of pancake powder mix from your childhood days. A quick and easy meal that feels fancier than just toast or a bagel! You can opt for a super simple pancake mix to just add water, or opt for fluffier and more protein-packed pancakes with a pancake mix that requires eggs and milk.
Cacao Powder or Powdered Chocolate
Cacao powder is technically just the “cacao” part of chocolate; meaning it lacks any sugar or sweetness. You’ll want cocoa powder for baking items such as brownies or any chocolate-based baked good. But you’ll want rich milk chocolate powder on hand as a sweet and sugary alternative for things such as a hot cup of cocoa, to spread on ice cream or desserts.
Freeze-Dried Meats & Meat Alternatives
I’ve heard of canned, dried and packeted meats–but freeze-dried meats are new to me. I thought this was reserved as astronaut food?! I joke…sort of…but freeze-dried meats have a shelf life of up to 25 years (if unopened; down to a year once opened). They keep their “meat” form once rehydrated and can be added to any meal: stir fry, soups, stews, or whatever you choose to pair them with. It’s an excellent source of protein and a safe way to still be able to eat meats without refrigeration.
Freeze-Dried Meat & Meat Alternatives:
Or as I like to call it, “brotein powder” if you be hittin’ the gym and crushing those protein shakes for the gains. Proud to say I have been lately…but I digress. Protein powder comes in a huge variety of flavors (my go-to is chocolate and vanilla). It’s far more versatile than I gave it credit for. I have added protein powder to shakes, oatmeal, plain milk, protein cakes, and more. It’s a great way to add a ton of protein to your meal without jam-packing it with calories. You can also opt for plain whey protein if you want a flavorless protein addition to your meal or drink.
Powdered Spices & Seasonings
The best way to spice up a bland meal is to, well, add spices to it! My personal favorite spices for cooking and sauces are garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning and pink Himalayan salt. These spices can last well over a year and can help you avoid getting tired of the same meals, by changing their flavors.
Benefits of Powdered Foods
If you already live in a van, then I don’t need to tell you how important convenience is with any essential van item! You want food that isn’t messy, easy to prep, stores easily, takes up less space, has a long shelf life, can be consumed quickly and cleaned up in a moment. Enter: powdered foods. Truly, it’s the the holy grail of convenient food.
2. Long shelf life
A huge perk of powdered food is its long shelf-life. It’s hard to always know when you may need just a pinch of a random ingredient (ie butter or milk) when making a meal, amiright? This is where powdered foods shine as an inexpensive way to always have essential ingredients on-hand. They can be stored for months without spoiling, which is great for emergency situations or for those who live in areas with limited access to fresh food.
Since powdered foods have zero moisture content, their nutrients are extremely condensed without water to “spread” things out. This makes them a great addition to any diet. They can be fortified with vitamins and minerals, and can also contain protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients.
You are essentially buying in bulk when you buy powdered food, which is always a more cost-effective way to shop. Your dollar gets stretched a lot further since powdered food is so condensed. It’s also a great option for those on a budget, as it can be used to supplement meals and provide essential nutrients without breaking the bank.
From smoothies, soups, stews, baked goods, fresh-cooked meals and more, food powders can be used in a variety of ways. Always have butter powder, egg powder or flour powder on-hand for baking needs–and vegetable powder on-hand for stew and soups!
6. Easy to transport
Lightweight and easy to carry, powdered foods are perfect for camping trips, hiking, or other outdoor activities. They can be packed in small containers and mixed with water or other liquids when needed.
7. Environmentally friendly
Feel good knowing you’re helping take care of our planet when you opt for powdered foods. Generally, they require less packaging than fresh foods and less energy to produce and transport, which can help reduce carbon emissions and other environmental impacts.
Summing It Up
So, are powdered foods going to make the cut into your pantry? Be sure to check ingredient labels or researching powder food brands before purchasing so you know you’re getting quality, real food. And then check out my favorite van life meals–most of which you can use powdered food to make!