One of the perks of being a food writer/reviewer, is that a lot of interesting food is sent my way, in hopes that I will find it spectacular and will review it. I make it very clear to the companies that my heart and duty lie with my readers, all you parents out there who want to know whether a certain product is worth shelling out your hard-earned money for when trying to feed their kids well. So here you go, dear E.A.T. Readers, my humble opinion of the best of the food products that have come across my desk. All have a healthy bent to them and some are locally-made, as an added perk:
Metromint Water in Chocolatemint
Topping my list is a product I’d seen recently in the grocery store and thought “that’s gotta be either gross or great”. Turns out, the answer was “great”! How could I doubt the combination of three of my favorite things – water to be refreshing, mint to take it up a notch and chocolate to round it out in deliciousness. Do I gush too much? It’s worthy. When I was sick, I loved Chocolatemint. When I was overheated from a workout, I loved Chocolatemint. When I was vegging on the couch watching a chic flick, I loved Chocolatemint. I’ve tried the other flavors like Peppermint, Orangemint and Cherrymint and, while tasty, they just aren’t as yummy as the combination of mint and chocolate in this drink. Be sure to have it chilled for maximum joy.
CLIF Kid’s Zbar Crispy Snacks
My kids love eating bars and why not? They are wrapped and ready all the time. I even keep a box of bars in the back of my Mom-Van to stave off hunger and trips to fast food joints in a hunger emergency. However, I will not buy bars that are basically a candy bar with some oats mixed in. That’s why I was glad to sample CLIF Kid’s Zbar Crispy, an organic, crispy rice bar with 8 grams of whole grains. They have oats, fiber, calcium and vitamin D – all good stuff. They are absent of processed sugars and high fructose corn syrup. They come in chocolate, chocolate chip and peanut butter. Our kid testers loved the chocolate chip one best.
This August, watch for the Full Moon Brownie Zbar which is full of brownie with white chocolate chip goodness. I’ll be wrestling my kids for them.
Greek-style yogurt is all the rage for it’s creaminess and health benefits above and beyond regular yogurt. Having grown up on my grandmother’s homemade plain yogurt, I have high criteria about what Greek yogurt is supposed to taste like. Of all the ones I’ve tried, I like Chobani the best for its creamy texture and lack of chalky after-taste. I was glad to hear that they are the first to have created a line of Greek-style yogurt aimed at kids, with kid-friendly flavors, VeryBerry and Honey-Nana. They were a big hit with the kids and with me.
What is it about a cold soda/soft drinks/pop – whatever you call them in your neck of the woods? On a hot day, there’s nothing like fizzy bubbles over ice, going up your nose! I just don’t want to give it to my kids except on rare occasion. Oogave sodas appealed to me on many levels – they are from a local company, are organic, sweetened only with agave nectar and are caffeine-free. No high fructose corn syrup or preservatives. Plus, I like the pretty, pale colors in the bottles. The Root Beer rated high with all testers, adult and child. Strawberry Rhubarb and Watermelon Cream were a bit too fruity for the adults but went over big with kids. Vanilla Cream was a bit cloying for all while Grapefruit and Key Lime were popular with adults who thought they’d be great with a splash of vodka or rum! My particular favorite was the Ginger Ale which didn’t taste like any ginger ale I grew up on. It tasted like…ginger! What a concept. Fresh and a little exotic.
The Naked Edge’s Veggie-Go’s
This is by far the most unique food product that I’ve seen, again, by a local company. The Naked Edge Fruit Leathers are a whole different animal from the ones you usually see, not only in texture but also ingredient. Organic produce, spices and herbs are pureed and dried and are beautiful in their natural coloring. Unique flavors include Mountain Berry Spinach, Sweet Potato Pie, Carrot Ginger Crisps and Cinnamon Spiced Beet. It could be a hard sell to get kids to try these if they’ve had the usual swirly, mega-flavored and colored fruit leathers. But if you could start your child’s fruit-leather-eating experiences with The Naked Edge, you would have a good shot of raising a child with a more sophisticated, experimental palate. The adult testers enjoyed all of the flavors, noting that they would actually make an interesting accompaniment to a glass of red wine. No, the adult testers are not a bunch of lushes…
What are some of the more interesting food products your family has tried and loved or hated? We’d love to know.