I had optimistically planned to get in my Thursday post this week after FNCE (Food & nutrition conference and expo) and then school slapped me in the face. As much as I love cooking and sharing new recipes here, school needs to come first (just for two more months!). FNCE was great, while I learned a lot at the educational sessions, I didn’t think anyone reading would care too much about that. In the expo hall, hundreds of companies came to share their products with us and give away free samples. I had a lot of fun with this, and now have more food then I could ever eat!
My favorite free giveaway is at the bottom. Ellie Krieger’s new cookbook… and I got to meet her!
As for the samples, I’ve only tried a few of them so far, but I wanted to discuss the ones I did here as it may be helpful to you as a consumer. I will add more as a go through my loot over the next month (or two!).
1) Luna fiber bar- peanut butter strawberry
This bar REALLY surprised me. I thought for sure that the weird combination of flavors would make me nauseous. But I LOVED it. Flavor wise, it gets an A. It also has 7g of fiber which is good. The ingredients list is long, which is usually a red flag, but after looking at them nothing was too alarming. They use all organic ingredients.. which, to be quite honest, doesn’t mean much to me in a bar. If it has 11g of sugar, it has 11g of sugar, I don’t care where it came from. It’s not good for you either way. The one good part though were the organic strawberries. Since they are on the “dirty dozen” list, that’s a nice plus. Overall: Would definitely buy again!
2) Jamba Granny Smith Apple Snacks
I may be biased because I am not the hugest fan of granny smith apples in the first place, but I was not a fan of these either. Too tart for me. I do however FULLY support the ingredient list: apples. Overall: Not for me, but could be for you!
3) Laughing Cow- Light Mozzarella, Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Cheese Wedges
This was SO good. Each wedge comes in at only 35 calories and it would be a great cheese to spread on a whole wheat cracker. Before FNCE I never would have thought to pick up laughing cow, but after trying this flavor and a few others, I will definitely be becoming a new customer! Overall: Delicious
4) Food Should Taste Good- any flavor
I loved this brand way before FNCE, but they were there and I want to spread the word about how great these chips are. Their ingredient list includes flax seed, quinoa, canola oil and brown rice flour to name a few. It is also certified Gluten Free which makes it a great healthy alternative for those people suffering from Celiacs disease or a gluten intolerance. Gluten free products have fantastic advertising, I will give them that. They usually show-boat themselves as a healthier alternative to non-gluten free snacks. What’s a shame is that being gluten free has become quite a fad, and those falling for the fad are not educated on the correct science (key phrase!) behind a gluten intolerance. If you look closely, a lot of G-free products are in fact much worse for you then their non-Gfree alternatives. It is a shame for those that actually suffer from the disease, and Food Should Taste Good did an awesome job of making their product gluten free while also incorporating wonderful whole grains not containing gluten (i.e. quinoa!). This is a gluten free snack I can definitely get on board with! Overall: Love it!
5) Smartfood Selects- Cinnamon Brown Sugar Popcorn
I think I visited this station 3 times a day at the expo. I mean, this stuff is delicious, and I promise they are not paying me to say that. The product contains 9g of fat per ounce. While 7.5g of that is unsaturated fats, I still think that’s a little too high. To give you a reference, 1 oz of Lays potato chips will run you 10g of fat. This popcorn should be more of a treat, not an every day item. I fear you’d also become addicted if it was! Overall: Awesome, in moderation.
Disclaimer: These opinions are entirely my own, I was not paid or compensated in any way to review these products.