Greenbelly Meals Flavor Review

Gear ReviewsJeff Garmire

Greenbelly Meals was founded by a former Appalachian Trail thru-hiker. The food company was created to fill a need in the market. The owner Chris Cage speaks about nutrition during his travels prior to Greenbelly, “Fast food was unhealthy, fresh fruit was perishable, protein bars weren't filling and cooking was messy and time consuming.” 

The cottage nutrition company separates itself by being designed as a full non-cook meal and not a snack, like comparable products. The meal replacements are gluten free and plant based, all containing over 600 calories. 

I was at first hesitant to accept something other than real food. Since my first thru-hike in 2011 I have drastically changed my nutrition strategies. I have moved from candy and processed snacks to real food. I base my current diet around food I would also eat off the trail. This means I carry lots of cheese, tortillas, salami, burritos, nuts, dried fruit, and trail mix.

These meal replacement bars looked different. They resemble a protein bar, but are packed with nearly triple the nutrition and are sizeable enough to look satiating. Greenbelly meals are also plant based. I was ready to try something new. I opened my mind to give them a try. 

For two days I committed to testing each of the flavors in various environments and dove deep into comparing the four Greenbelly meals. The different meals all contain everything necessary to maintain a balanced diet on the trail. The higher ratio of fat to protein in each bar is perfect for avoiding the late day sugar crash. While nutritionally similar, I found the bars designed by a French trained culinary chef all very unique in taste. Here is what I thought of each one.

 

Flavor Review

Mango/Cashew/Coconut

Calories: 650

Fat: 26g (40% of Daily Value)

Carbs: 95g (33%)

Protein: 17g (33%)


This bar was the sweetest of the bunch. It was also the most polarizing. My roommates were split down the middle. They either loved it or hated it. The tropical flavor of the bar makes it a good breakfast option. For those with a sweet tooth like me, this is the flavor for you.


Peanut/Apricot

Calories: 645

Fat: 22g (33% of Daily Value)

Carbs: 100g (33%)

Protein: 17g (33%)


The peanut taste is distinct but not overwhelming. The bars have a taste suitable for eating throughout the day. I ate the peanut/apricot flavor for both breakfast and dinner. This flavor pairs nicely with the Cranberry/Almond with the contrasted feature of nuts and dried fruits being the focal point of the bar.


Cranberry/Almond

Calories: 645

Fats: 22g (33% of Daily Value)

Carbs: 100g (33%)

Protein: 17g (33%)


The cranberries provide a tartness with a nice compliment of the almonds. This was the most subtle of the flavors and the easiest on my stomach. It was my favorite to take through a variety of situations, activities, and outdoor temperatures. The mildness made it the most filling and easy to eat quickly. If I were to buy only one flavor, this would be it.


Dark Chocolate/Banana

Calories: 640

Fats: 22g (33% of Daily Value)

Carbs: 100g (33%)

Protein: 17g (33%)


The Dark Chocolate/Banana meal is a blend of salty and sweet. Despite chocolate in the name, the bar was mild and not overpowering. The meals are all very dense and best consumed with water nearby, but this was my favorite of the flavors. While ski touring this bar had no issues in the direct sunlight within my pack.



Conclusion

Each flavor exceeded my expectations. I tested the meals while ski touring in the mountains, running on trails, and backpacking through Arizona. The difference between the Greenbelly meals and others is they did not crumble, smash, or distort despite being compressed in a backpack or running vest. There were no issues with melting or messiness involved in consumption. They were quick, clean, and healthy. But, I was glad I had extra water with me, as with any dry food and meal, they were thirst inducing. 

The meal replacement bars fill a niche in my trail nutrition plan. I have a sensitive stomach and have been looking for something easy to eat and also calorically dense. Greenbelly fulfills this need while also containing a lot of other nutrients. I cannot see them entering my pack on upcoming ultramarathons because of the excess hydration they require, but I can see them being part of resupply strategies for both long and short trips in the future. 

 

 

Green Belly Backpacking Meals Non-Cook Stoveless
Greenbelly Meals

 

 

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1 comment

Jeff

Jeff

I had the Mango Cashew Coconut today for lunch during a hike. Delicious, fruity and very satisfying! Will get some more for super easy but nutritious trail lunches.

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