As part of my new Sunday Feature format, I'll devote an occasional post to product reviews. As far as I can tell, blog readers are divided on these reviews: either they can't get enough product recommendations, or they have become entirely bored by them. To satisfy both camps, I'll give my opinion on select food products only sporadically. Enjoy!
This past week I have been favoring a few products: Clif Z Bars, Futter's Nut Butters, and a new kind of hummus.
Clif Z Bars
If you read food blogs at all, then you have likely seen these familiar blue wrappers before. While they are marketed toward schoolage children, my fellow bloggers and I have found them extremely convenient for on-the-go snacking, although I've been known to eat them even when I'm lounging at home.
Z Bars are certified organic with generally nutritious ingredients, including oats and flaxseed. There are a lot of added sugars (evaporated cane juice, brown rice syrup), which contribute to the 10-12 grams of sugar per bar. In addition to the ingredients already mentioned, Clif also includes a vitamin/mineral blend. I find this addition helpful to vegans and non-vegans alike, because a single bar provides 30% of your RDA for calcium, 10% for iron, and 10% for B12, all nutrients that may be elusive to some. All this for 120-140 kcalories and 2-5 grams of fat. Not bad.
Current flavors available include Peanut Butter, Honey Graham, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Brownie, Apple Cinnamon, and Blueberry. I have yet to try the Honey Graham, Apple Cinnamon, and Peanut Butter varieties (don't worry--it's on my to-do list).
-Thus far, my favorite is the Chocolate Brownie--it really does taste like a brownie. I bet warming it up and enjoying it with a glass of milk (soy or cow's!) would enhance its "browniness."
-The chocolate chip was decent, although I much prefer the regular Clif version of this flavor.
-The Blueberry made for a nice change of pace--it's not your typical snack bar flavor. It mimics a blueberry crisp in taste, which would make it ideal for a portable breakfast. It makes a great pre-workout snack as well.
Another plus (especially for poor college kids like me): only 69 cents at Trader Joe's! At Whole Foods they are still a reasonable 99 cents.
Futter's Nut Butters
I would never have discovered these nut butters had it not been for VeggieGirl. In my search for hazelnut butter, I had asked her what brand she used, and she provided this link. One visit to their site, and you'll soon realize that if there's a nut (or seed) out there, Futter's likely makes a nut butter out of it. Think: pistachio butter, pumpkin seed butter, Brazil nut butter...the possibilities are endless. Anyway, as I do not live near any of the locations that sell Futter's, I ordered some as a treat for myself.
Perhaps one of the best things about these butters is the fact that they are just nuts. No palm oil, no salt, no sugar--just ground up nuttiness. While its simple composition is ideal for overall health, spreadability can be a problem. I recommend using it as a dip for sliced bananas or apples, or you can warm it up a bit to use it as a spread on toast.
The nutritional information varies according to the nut used.. kcalories and fat are not listed on the website, but they do arrive with the nut butters once ordered. Generally speaking, a two tablespoon serving may contain 160-220 kcalories and 15-20 grams of fat, plus a host of vital nutrients such as vitamin E and magnesium. Don't be scared of the fat--it is health-promoting fat, which may help reduce cholesterol.
Futter's Nut Butters are pricey, but if used in moderation, one tiny jar may last for a few weeks or more (depending on your nut butter addiction).
Also, if you're interested, Futter's also sells dried fruits and nuts.
What you see below is Brazil Nut butter, almond butter, and hazelnut butter. I can't wait to try the other flavors!
Market Pantry Hummus
Imagine this scene: thousands of parents and students scrambling to SuperTarget over a single weekend. With list in hand, I search for that ever-so-versatile spread, hummus. I find Sabra in the produce section and cringe a little upon seeing the price. The hummus gods smiled upon me and showed me a better alternative in the deli section, the Market Pantry (aka Target house brand) hummus.
With stats almost identical to those of Sabra hummus, I decided it was worth a try. I first tried it in a hummus sandwich last week and was surprised at the depth of flavor and richness it provided. Then I remembered that each serving has 6 grams of fat. Fat is an amazing thing when it comes to flavor. Ideally, I would prefer a lower fat hummus, considering I usually use more than the prescribed two tablespoon serving. Also, I wish there were more protein per serving as well--2 grams seems a bit paltry for a meat alternative in sandwiches.
Nonetheless, I really enjoyed this much cheaper hummus, especially due to its addition of caramelized onions. I am not certain as to the price, but I think it was within the vicinity of $2-3 for an 8 oz. container.
I've spent a lot of time evaluating hummus. For more information, read my article here.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!