The other day I was torturing myself (LOL) by checking out the cake mixes and frostings and noticed a new trend. There are tons of new products offering "mug cakes".
There among the snack cakes was the FlapJacked Mighty Muffin. $2.48 for one. That sure did look like a healthier alternative. I also thought that since you prepare it in its own cup, it would be a handy snack for work. Just pour the water in, stir and pop it in the microwave. Boom! Cake! (or muffin) I chose the double chocolate flavor.
Sorry about the blurry picture. 220 calories, 6 grams of fat (4.5 saturated), 21 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar. Not bad. Check out the protein, calcium and iron. Those are pretty good numbers. Of course, you know to subtract the fiber from the total carbohydrates to obtain the net carbohydrates, which would be 15 grams for this serving. The saturated fat is a little high, but compared to a store-baked muffin or snack cake, those numbers are not too bad.
Nothing crazy here. No artificial sweeteners, no artificial colors, no frankenfoods of any kind.
I microwaved it for about 50 seconds in my little work microwave oven. It came out steamy and smelled really good and chocolately. Surprisingly, it was light and tender with a rich chocolate taste. The chocolate chips were a very nice extra chocolate flavor boost. I would definitely buy this again. Yes, it's a little pricey for such a small serving, but for a nutritious treat once in awhile, I'd say it's worth it. I plan to try the other flavors.
I've seen these in my local Walmart Neighborhood Grocery store for a few months and decided to give them a try. There is now a glut of new food products which marry the ideas of healthy, high-protein with cakes/cookies. There are expensive, low-carb products with natural sugar substitutes and organic ingredients (think $2.99 for two small snack cakes) to products that are not quite as healthy but still promise to trick you into thinking you're having something decadent. As this package of cake bites claims, "any day can feel like cheat day." On a personal note, I never quite understood the lure of "cheat day." When I was eating keto/low-carb, I wanted to keep my body in that state of ketosis and feared the consequences if and when I "cheated." My idea of cheating usually involved eating a bite of an apple. I did find many protein bars which were pretty tasty and low-carb/high-protein and stuck with those when I wanted something other than vegetables and meat.
I chose the Red Velvet flavor over the Chocolate Dipped Cherry, Chocolate Frosted Donut and Birthday Cake flavors.
There are three cake bits in each individally wrapped package. Each box contains four packs.
Let's take a look, shall we? 230 calories is a little bit more than an average protein bar (Quest, One Bar, etc.), so that's not horrible. 7 grams of fat is right on par for a product like this. 20 grams of protein is quite high, so if you're looking for a very high protein snack, this might be right for you. The ingredient list has not listed the fiber content, which is very confusing considering this product contains chicory root fiber. The only thing I can surmise is that there is not enough fiber to list. The sugar alcohol grams are also not listed and since this contains maltitol, there are sugar alcohols in this product. If there were sugar alcohol and fiber grams listed, you would subtract those grams from the total carbohydrate grams (22 grams for this flavor) to obtain a new "net" carbohydrate amount. If Optimum Nutrition is trying to appeal to the low-carb/keto crowd, it would be in their best interest to list the sugar alcohol content. Also, some people's digestive systems react poorly to sugar alcohols, so they really should have listed those in the nutrition facts.
You may not have ever heard of isomalto-oligosaccharides, so here is the link to tell more about this additive: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isomaltooligosaccharide
I see that there are artificial colors in this particular flavor.
The inside. It certainly looks "cakey," but it did not taste anything like red velvet cake. The texture was very chewy, almost like a low-carb protein bar (Quest, etc.). It wasn't particularly terrible, but the flavor and texture was disappointing, as I was expecting something a little more light in texture.
Bottom line is that for something that I found in the sports nutrition aisle, this isn't very nutritious at all. I doubt that any health food store carries this product due to the questionable ingredients, including two very controversial artificial food colorings. I would rather eat a low-carb protein bar than these and there are some very good ones out there that taste much better and are healthier than this product. I can't say for sure how many net carbs this contains and that is an important consideration when choosing a high protein "treat." This is another one of those products that I find myself asking, "to whom are they marketing this?" If you are eating high protein, you most likely are avoiding carbohydrates. If you are just trying to eat healthier and choose this product thinking it's healthy, then I would suggest doing your research. Artificial colors, sucralose (Splenda) and sugar alcohols are generally not considered healthy. If you just like the taste of these and want to spend $6.00 a box, then go for it. Just be warned that excessive consumption of sugar alcohols might lead to lots of time spent in the rest room.
I love salty snacks. Popcorn, chips, pretzels - you name it! I was excited to see these in my local health food store and I thought I would try them so you don't have to! I like the idea of combining healthy vegetables in a snack food, but I wondered if they really did have health benefits over plain tortilla chips.
Wow, impressive! But what are rehydrated pressed vegetables and why are they used? www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/02/02/582145046/from-scraps-to-snacks-pulp-left-over-from-juice-bars-is-reborn-in-new-foods . Here is an article that will explain everything and even mentions Forager products by name. Not only are these chips good for you, they are making something good out of a product that would have been discarded anyway. Recycling = bonus points. These are corn and gluten free, which is great for those who are avoiding those ingredients.
Hmmm. These numbers are not much different than Tostitos Multigrain Tortilla Chips for the same serving size. There is an added benefit of a small amount of Vitamin A, but the fat content, sodium, protein and fiber are virtually identical to the Tostitos product. Of course, the majority of the ingredients in the Forager chips are organic, which is a good thing, but if you're eating these chips by the bagful under the assumption that you are eating something healthy, you might want to limit your servings.
Here is what the chips look like. They look healthy with the seeds and the tan-green color certainly signifies that there are vegetables in them. They have a nice, satisfying crunch with a slightly oily texture. The flavor is somewhat hard to describe, but I thought the celery was the dominant flavor, while my picky eater taster said he could pick up the kale and the collards as the dominant flavor. My picky eater taster would not touch kale, cucumbers or collards and said that he would not eat these chips. I love most vegetables and I do really like these chips. I loved the strong vegetable flavor. I want to note that these also come in cheese, chipotle and wasabi flavors. I will buy these again, but carefully consider how many of them I'm eating.
I saw this meat alternative at my local Walmart neighborhood grocery store. I've had seitan before and I didn't care for it, but I thought I'd give this bacon flavor a try. For those who don't know what seitan is, www.thespruce.com/what-is-seitan-3376819 this is a good reference. It's pretty healthy and I'm since I'm trying to go meatless, well, why not? I paid $3.99 for this 5 ounce package.
Here is the nutrition information and the ingredients. Compared to bacon, this stuff rocks except for the carbs. It touts itself as being low in carbs, but compared to bacon, it really isn't. The fat content is minimal and the protein content is great, twice as much as bacon. The sodium level is high, but then again, so is bacon. This product actually has half the sodium of bacon. If you're not on a low sodium diet, this may be a good choice.
This is what it looks like in the package.
I prepared it according to the directions, in a skillet with a small amount of oil (about a teaspoon). I cooked it for about 10 minutes, expecting it to get crispy, but it didn't. I put a piece in the microwave for 15 seconds, but that didn't get crispy either.
Final product. It stayed pliable and had a slightly chewy texture, not unlike uncrispy bacon. It had a definite smoky taste, which was quite strong, but not unpleasant. I would recommend adding this to a recipe rather than eating it by itself. I made some scrambled eggs and ate the seitan with the eggs after realizing it wouldn't crisp up no matter what I did. I will definitely buy this again, but for a real bacon fix, I'll stick to a small amount of the real thing.
The spiralized vegetable craze has been around for at least a couple of years now, so this isn't really new; however, Green Giant's spiral veggies products are new, so I thought I'd try these out to see if the convenience is worth the extra price. I paid $3.50 for a bag of 12 ounces. The Green Giant veggie spirals also come in beet, carrot and butternut squash flavors. I chose the zucchini to try since zucchini seems to be the most popular vegetable used for spiralizing as a pasta alternative.
I didn't include an image of the ingredients because the only ingredient is zucchini. That's great. No added salt, sugar, sauces or anything. Perfect. As you can see, there are four servings in this container.
Out of the package and into the pan. It was completely frozen.
Starting to get pretty watery.
Obviously, I didn't follow the serving suggestion of adding some olive oil to finish. I added some tomato sauce and some vegetarian beef for a "bolognese" sauce. I did; however, add a pretty decent amount of salt and pepper and a small handful of cheddar cheese shreds. As you can see, the volume decreased as the noodles cooked. I also didn't drain the water. I just mixed it in with the sauce. This really was only enough for one hearty serving if this is all you're eating (which it was). If you are serving this as a side dish, then four servings seems more reasonable. 60 calories of zucchini versus 200 calories of pasta is a no brainer for me. Don't get me wrong - I love pasta. I'm Italian, so my love of pasta runs deep. I rarely eat it anymore because it's just empty carbs for me and I just can't afford that. So, this dish was probably about 150 calories total and I got a great serving of veggies in as well.
There is no disguising that this is zucchini. You just can't hide the taste and believe me, I have tried in order to convince a picky eater that this was a legitimate pasta substitute.
Is it worth the extra money? It depends. If you grow your own zucchini or get it from a generous neighbor and already own a spiralizer, then it really isn't. I don't own a good spiralizer, so this is almost worth it for me. After you spiralize your own zucchini, you have to squeeze the water out of it. It can be time consuming, especially if you peel it first. The zucchini tasted very fresh, which is great if you love it like I do. I recommend this and look forward to trying the other varieties.
I saw this new cereal today and noticed it contained quinoa, the trendy grain that's been around forever but is now making the foodie rounds as it is high in protein compared to most grains.
(Quinoa is a flowering plant in the amaranth family. It is a herbaceous annual plant grown as a grain crop primarily for its edible seeds. Quinoa is not a grass, but rather a pseudocereal botanically related to spinach and amaranth (Amaranthus spp.). Wikipedia)
Quinoa is popular with vegans as a good source of protein. As consumers become more conscious of their supposed need for protein, you find more products attempting to capitalize on that. Just look at the yogurt aisle. Greek yogurt, high in protein, is now the most popular yogurt. Protein bars are big sellers. Even a notoriously high carb cereal, high glycemic index cereal like Special K has gotten into the act with this new offering.
Hmm.. five grams of protein in one cup of this cereal. One cup of plain cooked oatmeal has 6 grams of protein. The fat content looks reasonable, but holy moley, check out the carbs! 44 grams, 40 net grams. The aforementioned oatmeal has 23 net carbs per cup of cooked oatmeal. Okay, I get it. Not everyone likes oatmeal and for those who do like cold cereal, this could be a decent choice if you're specifically looking for a cold cereal with a slightly higher protein content. 10 grams of sugar is also kind of high as well as the 180 grams of sodium. Confession - I love cereal. I could literally eat it for every meal and be super happy about it. However, unless it's plain shredded wheat or Cheerios or some other healthy, low-sugar cereal, I have come to view cereal as a treat, not as a meal.
What is quinoa flour? So, there is no whole grain quinoa in this. I smell false labeling. At least there are whole grain wheat and whole grain oats. Did you notice the FOUR different kinds of sugar/sweetener? Yikes!!
Here is approximately one cup of the cereal. I took out a couple pieces of dehydrated fruit, a "cluster" and something that reminds me of that awful Kashi cereal. I looked around in the bowl for an almond, but I didn't find one. I opened the bag and saw that they kind of settled at the bottom. I guess it wouldn't hurt to shake the box around a little before opening and pouring it. As you can see, there are very few raspberries, but quite a few apple pieces.
The taste was good, but it was pretty sweet. I reminded me a lot of the original Special K but with a slightly crunchier texture. The apple pieces were a nice addition. The "Kashi-ish" pieces were relatively tasteless, but the clusters were sweet and nutty.
I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk on my bowl, just for reference. The cereal held up well and didn't get soggy too quickly. That was definitely a plus because I really dislike soggy cereal.
Final thoughts - I probably won't buy this again. It's tasty, but it's high in calories, carbs and sugar. If I want a sweet cereal, I can buy someting legitimately unhealthy and cut the calories and carbs in half. Frosted flakes would be a good option. Don't buy this thinking it's healthy just because it's called "nourish" and has quinoa in it. Quinoa is very easy to prepare and it's good cold with raisins and milk, kind of like rice pudding. There are better products out there that are less processed and much healthier.
I saw these new fruit cups at my local Walmart Neighborhood Grocery store and thought it was an interesting concept. I bought the Pears in Blackberry flavored Chia and Mixed Fruit in "Tropical" ? flavored Chia.
Here you can see where they are placed in the applesauce/fruit cup aisle. They are at eye level, which is where most new products usually appear. As you can see, there are several flavors.
Here is the nutrtion label and ingredient list for the Blackberry flavor. 130 calories, 26 grams of carbs and 19 grams of sugar seems like a lot for a snack that is most likely targeted to those who care at least a little about health. Why eat chia seeds in your fruit cup unless you care about the health benefits of chia? There are 5 grams of fiber here, which I suppose is a decent amount for a fruit cup
Here is the nutrition label and ingredient list for the Tropical flavor. I just can't get over how much sugar there is in these. 20 grams is equivalent to 5 teaspoons. At least there are no artificial colors or flavors.
This is what it looks like. The fruit is basically colorless and it's swimming in a weirdly gooey yet liquidy substance. Of course, those are chia seeds, which tend to take on a gelatinous texture in a liquid. I have eaten chia pudding (https://wellnessmama.com/59344/chia-seed-pudding/ ) and if you check out the link, you will notice that chia in liquid should be a little more solid than this product. I wanted to show the plastic lid that I took off of the Tropical flavor. It had a weird yellow color to it. Also, it was almost impossible to differentiate between the fruits in the Tropical variety. The fruit was almost tasteless and the only way I could tell a pineapple from a peach is the shape.
How does it taste? Glad you asked! The Blackberry flavor had a good blackberry flavor and the pears, though fairly tasteless, picked up the blackberry flavor well. The texture, as I noted, was strange. Just a little too liquidy. The Tropical flavor reminded me of those fruit cups I used to eat as a kid, except I didn't find a single maraschino cherry! (that's because there aren't any, boo!) It had a strange aftertaste and both flavors were far too sweet for my tastes. DelMonte could have used a natural sugar substitute (stevia, maybe?) and really cut down on the sugar content, calories and carbs. I just don't understand who this is being marketed towards. No one interested in health would choose such a sugar-laden snack and those adults who might eat a fruit cup probably wouldn't want their fruit in a strange gel-like liquid.
I paid $2.18 for each pack of two. You can eat an apple or a pear and receive more health benefits for less money.
I found this in the ice cream aisle near the Halo Top ice cream. As most people know, Halo Top is the ice cream that everyone is raving about. It's relatively low calorie, low fat and low carb. I've tried it and quite honestly, it's not my favorite. I saw this and was intrigued by the brand and the flavor. Movie Night! Wow!
Buttered popcorn flavor ice cream? What?! I was intrigued but a little scared. I've had buttered popcorn Jelly Belly jelly beans and in my opinion, they're pretty bad. I did laugh out loud at the "disclaimer" here.
Wow, these are impressive numbers. Erythritol, in case you didn't know, is a natural sugar alcohol that is not absorbed in the bloodstream; therefore, has no impact on blood sugar and is not "counted" as a carb. Net carbs for this serving would be 7 grams.
Sorry for the blurry picture. As you can see, this is fairly free of most frankenfood ingredients. Monk fruit is a natural sweetener with no sugar alcohols. Interesting to note that this contains corn fiber and ghee, ingredients not usually found in ice cream.
Initially, this ice cream was extremely hard. I could barely get the spoon in it. So, follow the directions and let it soften unless you like really hard ice cream. If you're dying to dive into it, you could microwave it for a few seconds. Notice the caramel swirl and chocolate bits.
As a caramel lover, I was super happy to find that there are generous swirls of sweet, gooey caramel throughout the ice cream. The chocolate bits were evenly distributed. This ice cream has a very creamy texture and super smooth mouth feel. It's hard to believe it's so low in fat because it definitely reminded me of a decadent Ben & Jerry's. The popcorn flavor mixed with the caramel and chocolate was good. The flavor combination was perfect. Not too much popcorn flavor, but just enough so that you could taste the popcorn well-balanced with the caramel and chocolate. My husband really liked it and said that it was certainly good for something out of the ordinary and I agree. I paid $5.99 for this pint. Sure, it's more expensive than some other brands, but on par with Halo Top price-wise, but far superior in taste. Enlightened Ice Cream is available in many other flavors. I wanted to try this unique flavor, but I will definitely be back to the ice cream aisle for more. Highly recommended!
I rarely venture down the snack cake aisle. Just too tempting! I love Twinkies and Zingers especially, but they sure don't love me back. While perusing the healthy frozen entrees at my local Walmart Neighborhood store, I glanced at the snack cake aisle behind me and saw these. Made by Hostess, these are "decadent small batch treats." The products have no artificial colors or flavors and no high fructose corn syrup. That makes them healthy, right? Don't answer that. I decided to get the Fudge Blondie Crispi Thins Cookie Thins and the White Fudge Vanilla Cake Delights.
No artificial colors. Impressive. In case you didn't know what spirulina is, according to Wikipedia: Spirulina represents a biomass of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that can be consumed by humans and other animals. This has been approved for blue coloring. That ingredient list is pretty extensive. I also notice that the second ingredient is palm kernel oil, which is particularly unhealthy and bad for the environment. I will give Hostess credit for not using high fructose corn syrup, but that hardly matters when the first ingredients are sugar and palm oil.
Nothing too surprising here. 210 for 3 little cakes, which are about the size of a ping pong ball. Lots of sugar, lots of carbs, lots of fat.
Here is a mini cake that I have cut open so you can see the inside compared to the image on the front of the package. Not too dissimilar, except the amount of creme is somewhat less than shown and the cake is more tan than beige. My husband and I tried these and our conclusion was the same. These are definitely tasty and the way they are packaged is dangerous if you find it hard to stop at the serving size. I thought the texture was somewhat stale and rubbery. Strong vanilla flavor was good, but to call the coating "white fudge" is a stretch. The coating was similar to what you'd find on a cheap Little Debbie snack cake. I paid $3.00 per bag for these for 7.9 ounces. Not my favorite and overpriced for what it is. I would have preferred a Twinkie.
The ingredient list here seems pretty straightforward, but what in the heck is cerelose? "Cerelose A commercial preparation of glucose containing about 9% water." I'm not sure why this is in here. Seems like a "frankenfood" that is completely unncessary, especially for a product that is trying to pass itself off as "natural." Real vanilla, no artificial flavors or colors and no high fructose corn syrup, yet they include cerelose.
The worst part of this nutrition label, in my opinion, is that you somehow have to judge what 1 ounce really means. Is it 5 pieces? 10 pieces? It is very hard to determine since the cookie pieces are not all the same size. Some of them are broken pieces. You would have to own a food scale to really figure out how much you're eating.
As you can see, the image on the package is not very representative of the actual product. What I have shown is just a random sample I took from the bag. Some had chips and some didn't. Interestingly; however, none of the pieces had more than two chips. The color is darker and the cookie itself is more crumbly than those pictured on the package. What did they taste like? Glad you asked. These are very good. The texture is thin, but not easily breakable and they almost melt in your mouth. The chip to cookie ratio was overall very good and even the pieces without chips are yummy. Strong but not overpowering vanilla flavor, which is typical for a "blondie." There is almost no way a person could present them on a platter as nicely as shown on the package. I'm not sure why a consumer would choose these over buying a traditional cookie unless you wanted a bag of broken chocolate chip cookies. Again, as with the cake delights, the packaging is dangerous for a person who had little self-control. These were $3.00 a bag for 6 ounces. Good, but nothing spectacular or very new as far as taste.
Many health-conscious people are giving up their sodas for healthier alternatives. Diet sodas are replacing Aspartame with other sweeteners, and if you have ever looked at the water flavorings, you may start to think that not many people enjoy plain, unflavored water. There are some brands of natural sodas that have been around for awhile. Generally, you cannot find these brands at convenience stores or big box stores, such as Walmart. Bai has been expanding their line of healthier drinks with no artifical sweeteners to lure soda drinkers and provide a healthier option. The Bai Sparking Antioxidant Infusion sure seems like a great alternative with some health benefits as well in a bubbly, low-calorie drink. I have purchased and reviewed two flavors, the Kohala Kola and the Waikiki Coconut Lime. I chose the Kohala Kola in order to compare it with traditional colas and I chose the Waikiki Coconut Lime because of its uniqueness.
I purchased these at Walmart for $1.68 each for 11.5 ounce cans. Considering a six pack of natural soda usually averages around $6.00 or $7.00, this was no bargain. I expected greatness!
The Bai offerings at my local Walmart Neighborhood grocery. A caveat - I would expect a Walmart Superstore to have a bigger selection.
The nutrition label and ingredients in the Waikiki Coconut Lime flavor. All natural sweeteners are used, including erythritol and stevia. This flavor also has caffeine which comes from the coffeefruit extract and white tea extract. 2 grams net carb after subtracting the sugar alcohol in the erythritol.
Here is the nutrition label for the Kohala Kola flavor. All natural sweeteners. They even use apple extract for color.
Here is the Waikiki Coconut Lime right after I poured it. As you can see, it has a nice head of foam.
Here is the Kohala Kola right after I poured it. The foam head is considerably smaller than that of the Waikiki Coconut Lime flavor. This soda lost a lot of its carbonation very quickly.
First - the Kohala Kola. I liked the fact that it has apple extract for coloring. One brand of natural cola that I drink has no coloring at all. I know it's purely aesthetic and probably psychological, but if I'm drinking cola, I do like it to have a rich brown color. This delivered that. The flavor was nutty, not as sweet as either regular or diet cola. I continued to sip on it even after it had lost most of its carbonation because the flavor was very good. This is definitely a product I will continue to buy when I want a healthier soda.
Next - the Waikiki Coconut Lime. Very bubbly. Unlike the Kohala Kola, this one was very carbonated and stayed that way long after it was poured. The color was similar to a lemon-lime soda. The carbonation was good, but the flavor tasted "off" to me. It was slightly citrusy and had a chemical aftertaste. It was not overly coconut flavored. I would have preferred a little bit more coconut.
These are both great alternatives to both regular and diet sodas and I encourage you to try these and give me your opinions.