As a fat guy, I get sensitive when people start suggesting food to me. I listen to what they have to say and I know they mean well, but admittedly, I start feeling self-conscious and defensive. It’s not their fault when they mention that what they want me to try is “low-cal” or “nutritious.” All I hear is, “Hey chub-chub, stop eating Cheetos and bacon and lose some weight. Your appearance makes me uncomfortable.” I know this is me filtering what other people say through myself, but I won’t ┬ádigress. I am what time and circumstance have made me and the chip on my shoulder is staying right where it is (until I get hungry and eat it :-).

So I’m not going to talk to you about weight loss. That’s not why I started writing about hiking. I started writing about hiking because nothing brings me more joy than seeing a fellow heavy hiker on the trail. And do you wanna hear the best part about this topic? Foods higher in calories are actually suggested on hikes. That’s right! You have to keep your caloric intake high to help your body recover from your exertion. By eating peanut butter by the spoonful, I’ve been prepping to be a hiker my whole life and didn’t even know it!

Specifically, meal bars are for meal replacement. So if your stove is just too far down in your pack, these guys are a great alternative to cooking. My lunch break is exactly that: a break. And I’m not busting out the cookware for my midday rest. They have enough calories to take the place of a full meal, so keep that in mind when your planning your day. They usually weigh about 3 oz and contain about 300 calories. If you’re just looking for a quick snack, there are other products out there besides meal bars and I’m planning another post about those options soon.

So let’s talk meal bars. I’m going to start with my favorites and move down the list.


I love these little guys. They’re flavorful and tasty. The different varieties actually taste discernible and unique. They’re also gluten free and dairy free, which I like. Personally, the Cinnamon Raisin is hard to beat. For my money, Bobo’s are also the most economical because they are actually two servings in one package, basically making them half the cost of other meal bars.

ProBar Meal Bars

ProBar has been around a long time and they’re a staple out on the trail. The flavors are diverse and creative and they are a solid source of protein, which you’ll need for muscle recovery. I like the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip one the best. They are a little higher in fiber, so if your diet is fiber sensitive, be aware. These meal bars are nutrient-dense for long lasting energy and nourishment. Also important, ProBar has a lot of products out there and not all of them are meal bars. Some are energy bars, protein bars, etc. Make sure you know what you’re buying.

GoMacro Macrobar

I’m no vegan, but these bars taste good. And if you’re looking for an all-natural option with no refined sugars, these are the best meal bars that I’ve encountered. I dig the “Cherries + Berries” bar. The GoMacro isn’t as tasty as the previous options, but they’re loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C, and they’re also a solid source of protein and fiber. The vegans got one right this time.

All of these bars are organic and keep for a pretty long time, which means they can also get a little dry, so make sure you’ve got your water bottle close by to help wash them down. This is the nature of all meal bars, but these are the least dry that I’ve encountered.

It’s important to remember that I’m a sensitive guy and my weight has been the emotional lightning rod of my life. I hope, however, that you can benefit from this character flaw. I hope you can trust that these suggestions have less to do with you losing weight (which if you do, great, if not, that’s great, too), and more to do with how happy I am that you’re eating one of these bars while sitting on a rock overlooking an alpine blue lake, shouldered in by a sea of swaying green trees. I’m so glad you read this post. Happy heavy hiking.