When I started out, one of the main staples on the trail was a product called GORP. I never was quite sure what GORP was, even though the acryonym was supposed to mean “good old raisins and peanuts”. As time passed, I was happy to see more types of food products enter an area that had been dominated by raisins and peanuts. However, I quickly learned that many of these meal replacement bars tasted worse than GORP; and had a number of problems that GORP did not – they would freeze; or melt; or melt and then freeze. Admittedly, providing food for outdoor adventurers such as myself is and has been a problem – the product needs to be able to withstand temperature extremes, provide a great deal of calories to replace what has been burned, along with a nutritional balance; and most of all, needs to be lightweight to allow an outdoorsperson to carry them. With all of these challenges and more, it’s not surprising that for the last thirty years, food products have been hit or miss.
In 2015, I am pleased to say that I have found a meal replacement bar that fulfills all of the requirements that I am talking about above, and more. In this case, I am talking about Greenbelly meal bars. These bars have been formulated by Greenbelly to have one-third of a person’s daily value of calories; along with the necessary companion items, such as carbohydrates, fiber, fats, and sodium; and are made from all natural ingredients. One of the advantages to being one-third of a person’s daily intake of calories is that the bar is larger than a normal meal replacement bar – but not overly large and heavy so as to influence the amount of weight a person will carry on the trail. The larger size ensures that the outdoorsperson will not become hungry on the trail like they would with a series of smaller meal replacement bars.
The bars also come in three distinct flavors: Cranberry Almond, Dark Chocolate Banana, and Peanut Apricot. In terms of full disclosure, I will admit that I am not the biggest apricot fan; and as such, the combination of peanuts and apricot did not sound appealing to me. But, I am pleased to admit that all of the flavors tasted perfect – and delicious. While meal bars will obviously never replace real food, what I can say is that for me, Greenbelly bars are the next best thing – which should tell you a lot about the taste and quality that the bars provide. Like every product I test, I took the Greenbelly bars with me on a number of outdoor activities – in plus eighty five degree heat – and below twenty five degree cold. On each occasion, the bars did not melt nor freeze; and retained their flavor. In terms of performance, I found the caloric value to be more than sufficient for each of the strenuous activities I was performing; and on one occasion, as the bar was so filling, I had extra to share with my adventure partners (which is always a good thing).
As if everything I’ve listed above wasn’t good enough; Greenbelly also provides great community outreach by donating a meal to a local food bank to help fight hunger. As someone who has had to depend on what he puts into his body on numerous occasions, I will be the first to tell you that not all meal replacement bars or products are equal – or good. However, Greenbelly is a ray of light in a crowded marketplace; and something that I will continue to rely upon on all of my adventures to keep me alive – and even more important, happy with what I am eating while outside. If you’re concerned about what you are putting in your body during your adventures; and more importantly, care about the greater good, I’d also strongly encourage you to do the same.
Kickstarter Campaign: Currently, Greenbelly, like many start-ups, requires a little help to get fully operational. As its 2015, they have a Kickstarter Campaign to raise the necessary capital to keep operating and thrive. I'd encourage anyone who's interested in their product to go, check it out, and hopefully donate. You can check this campaign out here.
Disclaimer: I was contacted by Greenbelly to review their product in 2014; and was provided with a number of free samples of their products; but was not paid to review their products. I have since consulted with them about their products; and their mission. I do not believe that this relationship has affected or will affect my ability to provide an unbiased review of their product, as I have applied the same stringent standards I do when reviewing other products, but in terms of disclosure I am required to let you know what my relationship is with this company.