What I’m Grubbing On: Fake Diet Food, Asian Nuts, and Berry Crackers

Come one, come all, and welcome to the latest feature on GrubGrade. If you’re anything like me, you’re quite the random browser in the grocery store. You might even stop there on a daily basis after work or school to kill time and waste your hard earned money on pointless snacks and/or canned fish. OK, maybe not the canned fish, but definitely random snacks. Want to know which picks are worth it and which aren’t? Want some insight into which products to, uh, borrow, next time you’re staring into the office fridge? Look no further, cause my wallet’s taking the bullet for you on this one. Instead of our uber-complex ranking system you’re used to, I’m going to institute a simplified approach to rankings for this weekly feature.

When it comes to these products, you should either:

  • PASS
  • BUY ‘EM

Pass, obviously, means they ain’t worth your dime. Consider it a chance to invest in your kid’s college fund. Or don’t. Beg, Borrow or Barter means these are totally worth it, but because of some factor (price, perhaps) you shouldn’t commit to buying them, and need to find an “alternative way” to get your kicks. Buy ’em – reserved for only the best on the shelves – means you need to go all high-roller and pony-up, because these are must-have eats. Get it? Good. Enough of this tutorial nonsense, let’s get to this week’s samplings.

World Table Mixed Berry snack cracker: I’m a big fan of snack crackers, but get bored of the overly salty flavors. Unfortunately, the answer most companies have is to make something either wheat or a savory cheese flavor. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a sucker for Wheat Thins and any kind of Italian cheese flavored cracker, but sometimes I want something sweet and nutty that can complement a nice dab of chevre or stilton. And sometimes I just want a dang good cracker. Walmart’s World Table brand does just that at a really good price ($1.98). They have a nice delicate texture and  definite cranberry taste that grows to a moderate intensity as you chew. They’re not super sweet though and won’t dominate anything you eat on top of them. Still, I prefer to just eat them straight from the box. I liken these crackers a lot to some of the gourmet flavors Archer Farms has, and find them exceptional. BUY ‘EM

Blue Diamond Wasabi and Soy Sauce Almonds: I used to think I hated nuts, but eventually I came around to
them. What did it for me was Emerald Nuts, particularly the Dark Cocoa Roasted Almonds. I told my mom for my birthday I’d love some dark chocolate nuts, but I guess she took that to mean I wanted some dark chocolate and nuts. What she ended up getting me was Blue Diamond’s Bold Wasabi and Soy Sauce Almonds. These things are intense, I’m talking completely overpowering on first bite. If you like wasabi these will blow your mind; if not, well then you’ll probably spit ’em out. But if you can withstand the initial nose-clearing effect, you’ll enjoy the meaty and salty taste of the soy sauce, which lingers in your mouth for quite a while. I’m not a huge wasabi fan and still find myself wincing when I first stick these into my mouth, but the intense soy sauce flavor has kept me coming back for more. BEG, BORROW, OR BARTER.
Hostess Whole Grain Muffins: The only thing I like better than artificial food is artificial diet food that gets the scorn of bloggers everywhere. That’s why I love these things. The “better for you” blueberry muffins have 150 calories and 3 grams of fat each, but their 15 grams of sugar and long ingredient list will make the “in” crowd of nutrition go crazy. Nutrition aside, these things are awesome. They’re not huge but they’re not tiny either, and they have a great, moist density that exudes sweetness. Is it a fresh blueberry taste? Heck no. It’s a moist, palm-oil mouth-feel and high fructose corn syrup blueberry flavored packed interior, and it tastes like a real-life bad as heck for you packaged muffin. Hence, the awesomeness of these, especially for a product loaded with fake fiber (3 grams) and a tiny bit of whole grain. BUY ‘EM
Clif Bar Iced Gingerbread: I give Clif credit for offering to send me some bars to make up for my dislike of their Pumpkin Spice bar, but the Iced Gingerbread bar isn’t much better. The good news is that it is a little better, with a strong taste of ginger and molasses hitting you with every bite. But it still looks like your typical dog treat that’s been half-slobbered up, and the overwhelming use of pretentious “organic” ingredients does little to make up for the muted sweetness and dark fruited flavor of cane juice syrup, which just doesn’t work with what a gingerbread cookie should taste like. Likewise, it covers up the taste of white chocolate (apparently in this bar, although I didn’t taste it) and the roasted pecans and peanuts, of which I could hardly detect. Hats off to the 9 grams of protein, but man, for 24 grams of sugar I think I’d just wanna get half a Frosty or something. Cheaper too. PASS
Quaker Chewy Granola Bars: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough made with real Cocoa: Other than getting an award for the longest name for a granola bar in like, ever, I couldn’t pass on this newest flavor of the “made with cocoa line” (see a past review of the Chocolate Swirl flavor). I was hoping these would taste like cookie dough ice cream, which really is a pretty dumb pretext when you think about it, because granola doesn’t taste like ice cream. As for the bar itself, I couldn’t figure out how it was any different than a chocolate chip bar. I didn’t get any natural richness of eggs and butter that the “dough” of cookie dough has, and couldn’t find a reference to either eggs or butter on the ingredient list. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for nice, nutritious treats like this (90 calories, 0.5 grams saturated fat, 6 grams sugars) in kids’ lunch boxes, but I want a granola bar that tastes like real cookie dough. If any DIYers out there and come up with a recipe and mail me some samples, I’m sure we can work out some kind of compensation. PASS

Have you tried any of the products above?
What’s your take?

9 comments on “What I’m Grubbing On: Fake Diet Food, Asian Nuts, and Berry Crackers

  1. jperonto says:

    I’m a professional athlete and actually have a Clif Bar every morning. The Iced Gingerbread flavor is one of my favorites! I guess if I wasn’t active, I wouldn’t chose such a high sugar energy bar, but it really helps my workout every morning.

  2. Aimee says:

    I haven’t tried any. Berry crackers? Yeesh. You are much braver than I am! I eat loso Triscuits because they’re loso & have some fiber.

    I liked the snack packs of regular Pringles. Until I ate 3 in a row, defeating the purpose. I liked Luna Bars, but I’m more of a salty person than a sweet so they were meh after while.

    I did try the habanero BBQ almonds from Blue Diamond & they were great.

    Have you tried greek yogurt? Fage is the best, 0 fat you get a nice single serving size & it tastes like sour cream. I also keep some no sugar added Silk at work for cereal & whatnot. It’s got plant protein, which is easier to digest.

  3. mike says:

    dude, you picked the wrong flavor of those Blue Diamond Bolds. i love wasabi and i agree that it’s too intense. i highly recommend both the ‘Habenero BBQ’ and ‘Salt and Vinegar’ flavors – they are among my favorite snacks ever.

  4. Chuck says:

    I totally feel you on the clif bars! I had such high hopes- especially for the pumpkin spice- but these totally failed and I was so dissapointed. However, I am a fan of most of their flavors, mostly the Mint Chocolate. But yeah, true on the sugars- so I still to pre-workout.

    The other flavors of blue diamond nuts are good too- like the butter toffee; But I don’t think I’ll be flocking to desperately buy them again.

  5. Chefprotoss or dan says:

    Nice job adam. This was a great read. Snacking healthy can be really hard. The choices are even harder when you know what all the stuff on the ingredients list is too lol. Yeah, the whole “healthy” power bar-ish catagory of snacks always leaves me mentally stumped. I’m pretty sure if you add a bunch of protien and even more sugar and fat to a snickers bar, it doesn’t have some magical effect that turns it healthy. By that logic caramel covered fried chicken stuffed with lard and marshmallow cream is the ultimate diet food.=P

    I guess triscuits and yogert is just a boring snak then lol.

    Btw, have you tried the UTZ sweet potato kettle chips? Chock full of vitamins, slightly sweet, salty, and the perfect texture and crunch. Maybe the best snack ever. Oh, and only three ingredients.

    • Adam says:

      Please don’t misunderstand me. I find nothing from with cheap, artificial snacks with 40+ ingredients. Hence, I love those Hostess muffins. I like what I like, and all I’m saying is that I think I’d like a Snickers more than a Clif bar haha. And yes, those UTZ chips are DANG good!

      Actually, if you’re looking for a cool snack idea, take your peanut butter of choice and make your own snack cracker sandwiches with those Berry crackers. It’s like a PBJ snack cracker. Addicting, I tell ya.

      I’ll be doing this again next week. I’ll try to mix it up between “healthy” and “organic” stuff I find, and the usual assortment of cheap “crap” that I sometimes really, really like!

  6. Cath says:

    I like the wasabi almonds, if only because the flavors prevent me from overeating. With plain almonds, it’s too easy to keep on eating. I agree with Mike — the salt and vinegar almonds are great. I’ve only seen those in single-serving packets, though.

  7. theorbo says:

    I’ll add that I enjoy the Wasabi Almonds. My favorite Blue Diamond flavor, however, is the Lime & Chili or Jalapeno Smokehouse flavors. YUMMMy. I agree with Cath … their ‘bold’ flavor helps me control how many I eat at one time.

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