Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Trail Food: Market Pantry Nutrition Bar

Midway in our 2011 section hike of the Appalachian Trail, we lost our appetite and felt a bit lethargic. If you followed our adventure in our TrailJournal, you'll recall we were concerned about a lack of nutrition. We thought perhaps we were too low sugar and low salt and the wilderness EMT suggested low potassium.

We've long noted the nutrition bar aisle at our local Target department store. Looking through the racks of various nutrition bars we noted that calories and content varied. We long wanted to taste test some of these, but recall our first taste of Gatorade many decades ago. Foul! Salty! Since then we have shied away from anything related to sports nutrition and went with everyday nutrition as practiced by ordinary citizens.

So, it was with some trepidation that we selected and purchased a Market Pantry nutrition bar. Target provides individual nutrition bars for purchase, so we were relieved not to have to purchase an entire box, only to find us holding an expensive box of what we refer to as "wood chips". To improve the chances of our taste buds accepting the strange new food, we opted for a nutrition bar marked "chocolate peanut butter".

The wrapper on our bar stated it contained 210 calories, so we decided to eat half one day and half the next. Late in the day when we normally have a wee bit of carbs we tore open the wrapper and bit in.

Not bad. Not bad at all!

This was certainly not the nutrition food of our 1970's youth.

Our first taste was similar to a less sweet candy bar. After two or three bites, we definitely could taste the difference.

We do note the taste was not so inspiring that we weren't able to resist folding up the remaining half of the bar and leaving in front of us until the next afternoon.

Bottom line: Its a keeper. We plan to buy two boxes of the bars for our planned 2012 section hike in CT and NY. We'll update you on our field results after our trip.

UPDATE 5/31/12 - We bought one box of bars for our upcoming 10-day section hike of New York. Plan to eat them on one long day and the three ending mountainous days. Most will be mailed ahead in a resupply dropbox.

Disclosure: We select and purchase the product(s) reviewed. We have no material connection to either the manufacturer nor the retailer(s).


  1. Thanks for the recommendation. Have you ever tried to make any of the no-bake protein cookies? A runner friend of mine swears by them. They are basically oatmeal, peanut butter and protein powder. The carbs, calories and protein would be perfect for a hiker, plus you know every ingredient and they keep pretty well.

  2. No, we haven't tried making our own trail food other than GORP. The main reason I'm dis-inclined to make my own is concern about omitting other important nutrients that affect performance: salts, vitamins and minerals. I can't stand Gator-Ade, but tolerate Propel, which I use twice daily. I'm still trying to find a trail menu and schedule that my particular metabolism will be most happy with and provide optimum performance. In 2010, we lost appetite and performance at the start. In 2011, we lost appetite and performance in the middle. It may be I need one menu when starting and then change to another around day four. Whatever I discover will be shared on the blog.