Product Review

I made the fatal mistake of food shopping while hungry yesterday. I know toast is like “a thing” these days, but I did not know that cookie butter cream cheese was! Leave it to Trader Joe’s to come up with such a bad ass spread.

You might be asking yourselves, is that even healthy? I’m not gonna lie, there’s nothing particularly healthy about it. The same can be said for most cream cheeses. It’s basically a fat. There’s nothing wrong with some fat in your diet, especially if you exercise and are consistently a healthy eater.

I put it on some Ezekiel bread and paired it with some berries, and I feel like I just had a pretty decadent breakfast. All told, it amounts to ~300 calories.

My only caution is, similar to anything speculoos cookie butter related, you may be tempted to have more than a serving. Stay strong!

1 serving is 4 falafel balls, doesn't it look good?

1 serving is 4 falafel balls, doesn't it look good?

If your local falafel joint is too far away and you’re not motivated to make your own falafel balls, all you need to do is take a trip to your local supermarket.

There you will find a product that just might satisfy your falafel cravings. Veggie Patch makes a product called Falafel Chickpea Balls, and at 180 calories per serving, you can eat them and not break the calorie bank.

They also have a very respectable 6 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein and 35% of the daily value for vitamin A. I’d like to see less sodium than its current 380 mg per serving, but its not enough to deter me altogether from the product. Having made falafel myself, I know that chickpeas require a bit of work when it comes to flavoring them, so, salt is definitely necessary.

They are well seasoned and taste authentic enough that your taste for falafel will be fulfilled.  Have them on top of a salad with some hummus or as a sandwich in a pita pocket. And don’t forget the hot sauce.

A different way to satisfy a sweet/salty craving

A different way to satisfy a sweet/salty craving

I’m not talking about the those yummy chocolate morsels that you throw into cookies or brownies, but, rather a chocolate tortilla chip made by a company called FoodShouldTasteGood.

I never thought this was a combination that would work, but, I have to say I have been a believer for awhile now.

They are a perfect balance of savory and sweet, and can go in either direction depending on your cravings. I usually have them with hummus, but, they are also good with salsa, guacamole and probably lots of other savory dips. Not to mention, you can use them as a cracker with peanut butter or other spread.

As far as diet friendly, I think these can definitely be part of a healthy snack.

Nutrition Information

1 serving (1 ounce) = 10 chips

140 calories

7 g fat (1 g of which is saturated)

No cholesterol

80 mg sodium

17 g carbohydrates

3 g fiber

4 g sugar

2 g protein

I can’t really compare then to any other product out there, but, in terms of “natural” tortilla chips, such as Tostito’s Natural brand, they are comparable in terms of calories, and fat, but, these have more fiber and less sodium, and that’s always a good thing when it comes to snacking.

They have lots of other unique flavors as well. I can vouch for the Buffalo, Jalapeno, Olive and Multigrain. They are also kid friendly, in fact my 2 year old is eating the Jalapeno flavor right now, which I find kind of shocking, but I guess she has her parents’ tolerance for spicy food.

If you are watching your weight, I would offer this diet tip:

  • Measure out the portion you would like to have, choose your dip or have them plain  and put the bag away. Then sit down and enjoy them.
  • Because they are so good, if you leave the bag around, they will be calling your name. And who wants to use white knuckle willpower when trying to enjoy a snack?

Their site also offers a coupon, which I wish I had known about before buying two bags this weekend!

If you have tried them or plan on trying them, let me know what you think.


Lemons, an ingredient not found in Luscious Lemon Hummus

is apparently citric acid? Okay, let me back up. Hummus is one of my favorite foods. It’s safe to say that I eat it five days a week. I do prefer lemon hummus because I think the “zing” of a lemon goes really well with the nutty taste of chick peas.

So, I’d been regularly enjoying different brands, but, generally I preferred the consistency of Sabra’s Luscious Lemon Hummus. It’s very smooth and creamy. Though it has almost a 1/3 more calories than some other hummus brands, and more sodium, I was willing to go there on account of the texture.

I recently attempted to make my own hummus and looked at the Sabra label for some ingredient guidance. I was kind of shocked that the hummus did not in fact contain any lemon! It does contain citric acid though, a common food additive which is derived primarily from citrus fruits.  It also contains “natural flavors” which are not defined on the ingredients label. I thought perhaps this was the case with most hummus lemon flavors and checked out two of my other favorites, Cedar’s and Tribe. Both of the other brands had at least one lemon ingredient, in fact, Cedar’s actually had three lemon ingredients.

I then conducted a taste test, and perhaps because of my new knowledge of the lack of lemon in Sabra’s hummus, or because actual lemon tastes better than implied lemon, Cedar’s tasted the best to me, with Tribe running a close second.

I did contact Sabra’s because I truly wondered how they could go about calling their product “Luscious Lemon Hummus” if there was actually no lemon in the product. Their response to me was that:

we have taken the juiciness of the lemons.

Um, okay. I would think that they actually had taken the tartness of lemons via the citric acid, but, who am I to judge?

If you are not a hummus lover like myself, this probably poses no problems for you. I do get aggravated though when I choose a food for a specific ingredient and the ingredient is prominently featured on the label, but, it turns out it it is not actually in it.

I believe this amounts to a type of false advertising, though this product is not making any health claims, so in that respect it is not dangerous, but I definitely feel duped.

Plus, the product is comparable in price to other products that actually have the ingredient, and that seems unfair as well. Depending on where you purchase them, the Tribe hummus usually runs the lowest cost. The good news though, if you are allergic to lemons, you can probably eat the Sabra Luscious Lemon with no ill effects.

Ingredients NOT found in a Fiber One bar

Ingredients NOT found in an Oats & Chocolate Fiber One bar

Tuesday night on The Biggest Loser, Bob recommended to Mandi and Aubrey that they can increase their fiber intake by eating a Fiber One bar. While I am not usually bothered by these product placements, the subject of fiber is one I am very passionate about (see “Cracker to Satisfy Carb Cravings” and “Brantastic Crackers“), so I felt compelled to look into the high fiber claim.

Since I have never tried the bar and it sounded so impressive, I checked out the nutrition information available on the website.  So, here’s the info:

1 Fiber One “Oats and Chocolate” bar is 40 g

140 calories, 4 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 9 g fiber, 10 g sugar (a little over 2 teaspoons), 2 g protein

So, it does seem to have  a good bit of fiber. But, where is the fiber coming from? The first ingredient is chicory root extract. Since, ingredients are required to be listed in the order of their predominance in a product, this means that there is more chicory root extract by weight, than anything else in the product. (more…)

An impressive 5 grams of fiber per serving

An impressive 5 grams of fiber per serving

I’ve posted before about low fat, low sugar crackers (see “A cracker to satisfy carb cravings”) because I am obsessed with finding the best tasting, healthiest crackers out there. I came across these FiberRich brand crackers and gave them a whirl.

I found they provided a good backdrop to both guacamole and hummus on account of their being very crunchy, but, if you are not already a fan of bran, they might be more of an acquired taste. They are very filling, so they can help you feel satisfied, especially if you are using them as a snack or appetizer. I could also see these crackers making a good coating for some oven-baked “fried” chicken, because they would likely stay nice and crunchy during cooking.

They are only 40 calories per serving, which is 2 crackers, NO FAT, NO CHOLESTEROL and NO SALT. Each serving delivers 5 grams of insoluble fiber, which is 20% of the recommended daily intake of fiber (~25-35 g/day for the average healthy adult).

Insoluble fiber is the type of fiber more well known for keeping you “regular,” and has possible health benefits in preventing diverticular disease and colon cancer. It’s important to take in additional fluid when incorporating fiber into one’s diet because the fiber absorbs fluid from the intestines as it goes through them.

Other sources of insoluble fiber are whole grain breads, cereals and rices, as well as in the skins of fruits like apples and pears. If you are interested in learning more about fiber, its sources and benefits, there is a great article: Fiber – What Should You Eat? at the Harvard School of Public Health’s website.

40 calories and 3 grams fiber/serving

40 calories and 3 grams fiber/serving

Finn Crisps are a very tasty, thin caraway cracker with some very good health statistics. In two crispy crackers, you only get 40 calories, NO FAT or CHOLESTEROL, and 3 grams of fiber. They also have NO SUGAR, which is always refreshing, and very little sodium (85mg/svg)

These are essential for a healthy diet, and can definitely help you manage your weight. You can use them to scoop up your tuna, hummus, light cream cheese, smoked salmon, peanut butter or any other spread that you like.

They are very satisfying, and you can find them in your local grocery store in the cracker aisle.