A few months ago while wandering the aisles of our local Safeway I spotted some pouches that looked like large GU gels. They weren’t sports food at all—they were baby food. In my mind baby food is inextricably linked to Gerber’s little glass jars. But now they’ve grown up and are available in easy-to-open screw top pouches—rather than tear-off—making them much easier to carry, open, and use. My curiosity was piqued: could these be a better on-the-road food than Clif bars or gels? I’ve come to hate Clif bars and gels and use them only because I’m too lazy to prepare anything else for on-the-road eating. As a consequence when I’m riding alone I rarely eat anything regardless of the length of the ride. (But if I’m riding with others, then it’s a great excuse to stop somewhere very nice for a good, long lunch!) I’ve got enough fat on my body to fuel me for a very long ride so it merely becomes a question of whether I mind slowing down or eating something repulsive like a Clif bar and then maybe going faster.
The pouches I saw happened to be Earth’s Best Organic Baby Food Puree although Gerber’s—and I’m sure all baby food companies now—sell their food in pouches as well. Earth’s Best are organic, GMO free, and vegan friendly. We bought a couple, an orange banana and a banana blueberry. They sat in the cupboard for a couple of months until I realized they actually had a short expiration date and I’d better use them fast. The bottom line: they definitely taste better than gels or bars because they’re real food, just pureed. For example, the Orange Banana consists of organic bananas and orange juice concentrate. And because they’re pureed food, specifically fruit, they aren’t thick or dry concoctions that need voluminous slugs of water to get down your craw. After all they are intended for babies! So they taste good and they’re very easy to swallow. They also come in a huge variety of fruit and vegetable combinations, 28 (!) in all. I liked them so well that I bought a box of 12 from Amazon.
So what’s the drawback? Cost-wise they’re about the same as a Clif bar. But these are real food, so the pouches are definitely heavier and not as calorie dense. The only way you’re going to get 100 calories in a tiny 1.2 oz. gel pack like a Clif Shot is to take as much water out of it and use industrial food products like maltodextrin and dried cane syrup. Earth’s Best pouches are 4 oz. and contain only about 90 calories. A Clif bar weights 2.4 oz. and has 260 calories or about three of these Earth’s Best pouches. But if you want the light weight of a bar made out of organic brown rice syrup, well, you’re stuck eating Clif bars or some such dreck. Baby food is easier to slug down and you don’t have to wash it down with water. Plus, it’s yummy.
For more information: Earth’s Best Infant Puree Pouches