PROBAR – Organic Meal Replacement Bars

PROBAR

You may have noticed that I’ve been trying a lot of snack bars lately. I’ve been on the hunt for a bar that tastes great, has the nutritional value that I want, and isn’t full of sugars or corn syrup.

Snack bars and food in general is a very personal thing based on preference and individual taste. What I love the taste of may not necessarily be the same as what you like and vice versa. So you’ll have to take this review for what it is, my opinion on the bars I’ve tried and the one I think is my current favorite.

My goal in trying all of these bars is to find ones that I don’t get tired of eating for a multi day hike, give me the energy I need, and provide enough calories to be a potential meal replacement, not just a snack. I’m also looking for a bar that won’t melt and get nasty in the heat during a hike – that pretty much rules out anything with a chocolate (or fake) coating.

PROBAR

PROBAR
Not too long ago a good friend, and informal ambassador for PROBAR, contacted me to recommend trying PROBAR as part of my ongoing snack bar evaluation. I’ll be completely honest and admit that although I had seen PROBAR in various outdoor and upscale grocery stores, I had never paid them much attention – could that be a packaging issue? Convinced that I would like PROBARs my friend kindly arranged for me to receive some free samples, so I had no excuse not to give them a try.

PROBAR

PROBARs are made from all organic ingredients. The Original collection, where it all started, each contain 15 whole food ingredients and is probably the reason why they seem to curb my hunger for longer than just about every other bar I’ve tried. Besides, nothing beats natural whole foods over chemically derived vitamins. The 15 whole foods found in each Original collection bar are also 70% raw, meaning that you get optimal nutrient quality, undestroyed by over processing.

Talking of processing, PROBARs are made with real ingredients that you can see. They are “blended” together rather than chopped up, pureed and baked. This is apparently how they are able to preserve the nutritional integrity of all natural ingredients and probably why they taste so much better than other bars.

PROBAR

Consistency
PROBARs are still a very dense bar, but they are not solid, hard or tough like the original CLIFbars. They are surprisingly moist despite this and easy to bite into and chew – they passed the initial Maggie bite test (MBT) with flying colors. However, unlike Larabars that are moist because they use dates as their main ingredient, PROBARS are not a gooey date-based bar. I mention this because I know several friends/backpackers that do not like the consistency of Larabars.

PROBAR

Taste – Something for Everyone
I think I’ve tried just about every flavor from both their Original and Sweet and Savory collections, I have not tried any of their Fruition collection.. yet. My kids have happily (that rarely happens any more) joined in with the ongoing taste testing both at home and on day hikes.

Maggie’s favorite is the Nutty Banana Boom (below) because it is fruity, moist and one of the lighter (consistency) bars in the range. Jack on the other hand is addicted to the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavor, which has become a bit of a problem as they are one of my favorites too. My wife likes the Superfruit Slam and the Old School PB&J best.

PROBAR

I have to give a special shout out to the Cherry Pretzl PROBAR which is part of the Sweet & Savory collection. I can’t get seem to get enough of this bar, it’s the perfect balance of salty and sweet.

There are no preservatives in PROBAR yet they have a great shelf life. I wondered how they were able to do this and discovered that dried fruits, nuts, seeds, rolled grains, and grain sweeteners all have a naturally long shelf life and don’t require the addition of chemical preservatives. Bonus!

Conclusion
I’ve carried PROBAR on my last two hikes as the primary meal replacement of a completely no-cook food plan. I’ve eaten them for breakfast, lunch and dinner without getting bored of the taste. They’ve curbed my hunger on strenuous hikes between food breaks and I’ve found myself looking forward to the next bar, something I can’t say about any other bars. They are almost double the calorific value of any other bar making them the closest thing to a true meal replacement that I have come across.

I’m planning on taking PROBAR with my on my second trip to Mt. Whitney in two weeks and can’t wait to share some of them with my hiking partner Ben, I’m confident he is going to like them too. If you’ve never tried a PROBAR before, or are concerned that they are just like all the other hiking/energy bars on the market, try one and you’ll see that they are the real deal. If I had enough to give some away I would, but the samples I was given are nearly all gone, well except for the few I’ve been saving for my Whitney trip!

Have you ever tried PROBAR? If so what did you think of them compared to other bars you’ve tried?

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Disclosure: PROBAR provided Brian’s Backpacking Blog with a complementary samples for taste testing.

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  • john jensen

    I’ve been making my own lately. It’s easy. Swapping candied ginger for the berry blend is tasty. Though, it makes my Cuisinart hop up and down when I chop the candied ginger finer.
    John’s Recipe:

    By weight:

    8.5 oz bread flour
    4.0 oz Trader Joe’s Golden Berry Blend, or any dried fruit or berries
    4.0 oz sugar, preferably demerara or brown sugar

    By Volume:

    3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup flax meal
    1/4 cup almond meal (optional)
    1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
    1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

    1/4 cup canola oil
    1/4 cup honey
    1/4 cup molasses
    1/2 cup water
    ——————————-
    Preheat a 300 degree F oven. Note that this is not as hot as most baking recipes.
    ——————————-
    Mix dry ingredients, separating berries. Add wet ingredients and mix until just integrated. You can play with the flax meal, almond meal, chia seeds, using what you have.
    ——————————-
    Turn the mixture into two greased 9 inch round cake pans and spread it as evenly as possible. Bake for one hour. Remove from the oven, let cool for five minutes, and then invert the pans to remove the bread. Cut each bread loaf into 8 wedges. Return wire rack to warm oven for some drying. The proper consistency is not rock-hard, and it is a little chewey.

    Estimated calories 175 per slice.

    This is a variation of Bob Gross’ Logan Bread, described here:

    http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=40938

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I so want to try making my own now :) Thanks for sharing. What do you do to store these after you’ve made them?

  • john jensen

    I’ve been making my own lately. It’s easy. Swapping candied ginger for the berry blend is tasty. Though, it makes my Cuisinart hop up and down when I chop the candied ginger finer.
    John’s Recipe:

    By weight:

    8.5 oz bread flour
    4.0 oz Trader Joe’s Golden Berry Blend, or any dried fruit or berries
    4.0 oz sugar, preferably demerara or brown sugar

    By Volume:

    3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup flax meal
    1/4 cup almond meal (optional)
    1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
    1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

    1/4 cup canola oil
    1/4 cup honey
    1/4 cup molasses
    1/2 cup water
    ——————————-
    Preheat a 300 degree F oven. Note that this is not as hot as most baking recipes.
    ——————————-
    Mix dry ingredients, separating berries. Add wet ingredients and mix until just integrated. You can play with the flax meal, almond meal, chia seeds, using what you have.
    ——————————-
    Turn the mixture into two greased 9 inch round cake pans and spread it as evenly as possible. Bake for one hour. Remove from the oven, let cool for five minutes, and then invert the pans to remove the bread. Cut each bread loaf into 8 wedges. Return wire rack to warm oven for some drying. The proper consistency is not rock-hard, and it is a little chewey.

    Estimated calories 175 per slice.

    This is a variation of Bob Gross’ Logan Bread, described here:

    http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=40938

  • rachelcotterill

    I’ve never seen these in the UK – but I’ll look out for them. The ones I’ve tried all seem to be loaded with unnecessary sugar.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I don’t know if they are available in the UK, but I’d be willing to ask my contact and find out. Will let you know.

      • Jerry W

        I would be interested too.. they are available on Ebay but they are £4 each (plus postage) or around $6.33 each!

        • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

          That’s cost prohibitive in my opinion, regardless of how good they are. Hopefully they will be coming to the UK market soon, at least that’s what their PR reps are saying.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I just contacted the head of PR for PROBAR, they told me that they are not currently sold in the UK, but that they are actively looking to expand into Europe as soon as they can. If I hear any more I’ll let you know!

      • rachelcotterill

        That’s a real shame. Feel free to pass my details along to your contact in case they need some UK publicity when they get an import contract :-)

        Rachel

        • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

          Yeah it is, but they’re still a relatively new company so it’s just a matter of time. I’ll reach out to you if I hear anything though.

  • rachelcotterill

    I’ve never seen these in the UK – but I’ll look out for them. The ones I’ve tried all seem to be loaded with unnecessary sugar.

  • JJ Mathes

    I’ve been eating them for over one year now and find them to be filling, flavorful and I like the texture better than most bars. I’m not sure if all, but he flavors I like are free of wheat gluten. Fav flavors are Superfruit Slam, Cran-Lemon Twister and Whole Berry Blast.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Well why did you keep it such a big secret? Ha, these are great bars and many of them as you say are wheat gluten free. Check the labels to be sure, but there’s something for everyone in their flavor line up I think.

      • JJ Mathes

        hehehe

  • JJ Mathes

    I’ve been eating them for over one year now and find them to be filling, flavorful and I like the texture better than most bars. I’m not sure if all, but he flavors I like are free of wheat gluten. Fav flavors are Superfruit Slam, Cran-Lemon Twister and Whole Berry Blast.

  • PSD

    Brian, thanks for posting this. I have been a Clif bar fan for a long time but have been pursuing a raw food/organic trend. I will be looking into these.

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I’m still a big fan of CLIF bars, don’t get me wrong about that. I just think that PROBAR has raised the stakes in the bar market and right now have the advantage on taste, texture, and ingredients. I have plenty of CLIF bars in my stockpile that will get eaten.

      Definitely track down some PROBARs and give them a try, I’d love to know what you think about them even if you decide they’re not for you. In which case I’d like to know why :)

  • PSD

    Brian, thanks for posting this. I have been a Clif bar fan for a long time but have been pursuing a raw food/organic trend. I will be looking into these.

  • http://renegadepilgrim.com/ RenegadePilgrim

    I tried ProBars when they were on sale at REI in July. Brought them along on a four night/five day backpack in the Olympic NP with Big City Mountaineers (I was a volunteer adult mentor for a week with at-risk youth) and I love them!!! I just ordered two boxes from TheClymb.com earlier this month and am eagerly awaiting their arrival. I’ve only tried four flavors, can’t wait to try the rest!

  • http://renegadepilgrim.blogspot.com/ RenegadePilgrim

    I tried ProBars when they were on sale at REI in July. Brought them along on a four night/five day backpack in the Olympic NP with Big City Mountaineers (I was a volunteer adult mentor for a week with at-risk youth) and I love them!!! I just ordered two boxes from TheClymb.com earlier this month and am eagerly awaiting their arrival. I’ve only tried four flavors, can’t wait to try the rest!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I’m still a big fan of CLIF bars, don’t get me wrong about that. I just think that PROBAR has raised the stakes in the bar market and right now have the advantage on taste, texture, and ingredients. I have plenty of CLIF bars in my stockpile that will get eaten.

    Definitely track down some PROBARs and give them a try, I’d love to know what you think about them even if you decide they’re not for you. In which case I’d like to know why :)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Well why did you keep it such a big secret? Ha, these are great bars and many of them as you say are wheat gluten free. Check the labels to be sure, but there’s something for everyone in their flavor line up I think.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I don’t know if they are available in the UK, but I’d be willing to ask my contact and find out. Will let you know.

  • JJ Mathes

    hehehe

  • Jerry W

    I would be interested too.. they are available on Ebay but they are £4 each (plus postage) or around $6.33 each!

  • JD Schaefer

    Brian – In regard to your referenced “no-cook food plan”, do you have a menu available for 3-day and greater adventures? Thx

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I don’t have one written up specifically, I just kinda wing it each time I do it. In fact I’m about to do the same for Mt. Whitney and run a no-cook meal plan using PROBARs as the basis for my meals. I’ll commit to putting one together and sharing it here on my blog. Please ping me if I forget – great suggestion as I’m sure others would love to see it too.

      • http://www.facebook.com/seth.mcalister.1 Seth McAlister

        Have you written up anything on the cookless trip on Whitney? I’m curious to see what you did for each meal.

        • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

          Seth, I have it on my list of blog posts to write. Haven’t forgotten, just been busy and/or distracted. Thanks for the reminder!

  • JD Schaefer

    Brian – In regard to your referenced “no-cook food plan”, do you have a menu available for 3-day and greater adventures? Thx

  • SBF

    you should check out CORE Foods Warrior and Defender meal bars. They are organic, raw and have about 5 ingredients. They pack a punch too…super dense things. They have a one week “shelf” life outside the fridge, but I took them on a 5-day backpack and they were clutch. Will test out the ProBars next time!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I’ve never heard of the CORE bars, but will try and find them to check out. Thanks fr the heads up! Great to get so many good suggestions from everyone here, crowd sourcing my snack bar habit :)

  • SBF

    you should check out CORE Foods Warrior and Defender meal bars. They are organic, raw and have about 5 ingredients. They pack a punch too…super dense things. They have a one week “shelf” life outside the fridge, but I took them on a 5-day backpack and they were clutch. Will test out the ProBars next time!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I’ve never heard of the CORE bars, but will try and find them to check out. Thanks fr the heads up! Great to get so many good suggestions from everyone here, crowd sourcing my snack bar habit :)

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I don’t have one written up specifically, I just kinda wing it each time I do it. In fact I’m about to do the same for Mt. Whitney and run a no-cook meal plan using PROBARs as the basis for my meals. I’ll commit to putting one together and sharing it here on my blog. Please ping me if I forget – great suggestion as I’m sure others would love to see it too.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I just contacted the head of PR for PROBAR, they told me that they are not currently sold in the UK, but that they are actively looking to expand into Europe as soon as they can. If I hear any more I’ll let you know!

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    That’s cost prohibitive in my opinion, regardless of how good they are. Hopefully they will be coming to the UK market soon, at least that’s what their PR reps are saying.

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    I so want to try making my own now :) Thanks for sharing. What do you do to store these after you’ve made them?

  • rachelcotterill

    That’s a real shame. Feel free to pass my details along to your contact in case they need some UK publicity when they get an import contract :-)

    Rachel

  • http://www.briangreen.net/ Brian Green

    Yeah it is, but they’re still a relatively new company so it’s just a matter of time. I’ll reach out to you if I hear anything though.

  • JJ Mathes

    Brian- I know you’re a choco-haulic (sp) add Koka Moka to your list of flavors to try…it will be my replacement for brownies

  • JJ Mathes

    Brian- I know you’re a choco-haulic (sp) add Koka Moka to your list of flavors to try…it will be my replacement for brownies

  • replicant

    hah, too funny, i just started getting probars for my backpacking trips too. came across it at a recently opened earthfare store and am hooked! have only tried the mega berry one or whatever it’s called, but it is by far the most satisfying for flavor, hunger-filling and consistency that i’ve had so far. glad to know there are a lot more flavors (that banana nut one will be my next purchase for sure!)

  • replicant

    hah, too funny, i just started getting probars for my backpacking trips too. came across it at a recently opened earthfare store and am hooked! have only tried the mega berry one or whatever it’s called, but it is by far the most satisfying for flavor, hunger-filling and consistency that i’ve had so far. glad to know there are a lot more flavors (that banana nut one will be my next purchase for sure!)

  • PhritoPi

    Finally tried one earlier this summer – one of the meal replacements. I liked it enough to look into ordering a box. I gave up once I added the shipping cost.

    Today, I gave it another look. Found out that PROBAR also sells direct on Amazon. Picked up a box of the super food for $29 and free shipping.

    Happy, happy, happy!

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      Score! You have to be a savvy shopper!

  • Jaime

    Now probars aren’t sold in singles. It’s a bit hard for me to commit to one flavor, and shell out $33. Any idea why?

    • http://www.briangreen.net Brian Green

      I think Probars are sold individually in many grocery stores now. I know Whole Foods and GNC carry them. Not sure why they changed to only selling full boxes online, I can’t eat them fast enough to justify that myself.