Thursday, July 26, 2018

Product Review: GreenBelly Meals


When it comes to food to pack for hunting I like to have variety. I hunt hard and I like to eat, so I want something that will fill me up, be nourishing, and it has to taste good. A good balance of protein, carbs, and needed salts are a must. For the last few scouting trips I have packed Greenbelly Meals for my meals with some interesting results.






I tried out all three flavors:
  • Dark Chocolate Banana
  • Cranberry Almond
  • Peanut/Apricot

Each 650+ calorie, ready-to-eat meal is divided between two bars in one convenient pouch. They are made from all-natural and gluten-free ingredients. Each pouch contains 1/3 of your daily nutrition, so planning out meals is easy. What I liked right away is that I didn't have to pack anything to heat up water in order to eat. I could tear open a pouch and eat right away. The packaging is excellent for keeping the meal secure and to allow it to close (zip lock shut) if you don't finish the meal.


My first impression of the Greenbelly meals is that these taste really good! I started off with the chocolate banana. I knew I'd be scouting in 85-100 degrees and I didn't want the chocolate to melt. The aroma is great and flavor is excellent. These taste really good (did I say that already?). They are a bit salty for my liking, but I understand you need to replenish the salts in your body when exerting yourself like I was. Even still, I'd like to try some that weren't so salty.

Side Note: While the pouch seals well and is a great size to fit in my pack, they are noisy! If you are hunting you'd likely consider a different way to bring these out. I'd suggest taking them out of the original packaging and vacuum sealing them as individual bars (I'll get to why in a second). That would allow for a quieter experience. I also think these crumble very quickly inside a pack. I found that if i did not put these at the very top of my pack, they bars got a bit crushed into more of a granola and not a bar. That's why I think I would vacuum seal individual bars the next time out. That being said, these do take up less space that your typical backcountry meal pouch and that alone is a major plus.

These are made to be a meal, but I found that while biking or hiking longer distances, eating an entire meal was not a good idea. These are REALLY filling! Along with the salts, you need to drink plenty of water to get these to digest properly. I was better off eating one bar vs. two. If it was the end of the day and I was back at camp then I would slowly eat both. I nearly lost my breakfast a few times due to eating an entire pouch while glassing and then biking a few more miles. I learned the hard way so you don't have to.


Once I had reached my destination (or end of my one way bike/hike trip) I parked under a tree with some shade and ate the peanut/apricot. This was a great combo of flavor. I ate in half-hour increments as to not fill my stomach too quickly. I was able to seal the bag, take a nice nap, and eat the rest when I woke up. I knew I was going to be climbing uphill for a few miles and needed the energy.

Some of the best things about the GreenBelly meal are that they are great for hunting in SoCal. You can't have a fire right now, so it's great to have a meal like this to open and eat. They taste great and fill you up. Gluten-free means more people can enjoy them. They don't melt in the heat like a candy bar or trail mix with chocolate, and they are easy to eat! I can see these being great for a 2-3 day hunt, but I would get bored eating the same thing everyday. I plan to pack some other snacks like jerky and nuts as well.

Overall, I was impressed with how good these taste, fill you up, and keep your energy level up. I did not have a favorite because I liked them all! I will take these out again for sure. A three-pack will cost you $22.99 which is really good considering what competitors will charge you for a meal that you have to prepare (and these taste better!). If you plan on hunting for longer periods of time and need more meals, you are better off buying a bulk pack and dividing it up accordingly. I would certainly recommend these to hunters looking to pack lighter, not have to cook anything, and who want good nutrition while hunting. 

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