Nutraplex: Megaberry Bar #Review #Nutraplex

 

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We are always hunting for new nutrition, energy, supplement……well, you name it type of bars. I like to not only eat bars when I am busy but I actually enjoy eating them when they are done well. That latter part is where many companies seem to forget and it use to be because it was hard to jam real nutrition into bars.  Nowadays, that is not that difficult with so many ingredients coming in powder to liquid form without compromising their nutrition value. You can really amp a bar up without skipping in real nutrition but so many bars out there are what I call fakers! Bars that call themselves nutritional but offer nothing new than being a multi-vitamin disguised in a sugary concoction. I expect more and especially if the company is asking for more price wise.

Nutraplex is a company, which carries a variety of bars that offer energy and nutrition. Their flavors are:

  • Megaberry
  • Pineapple Coconut
  • Pomegranate Cherry
  • Mango Strawberry

I was sent the Megaberry one to try out. Nutraplex describes their product as a, “balanced macro-nutrient ratio, plenty of omegas and fiber”.

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Ingredients: Dates, Chia Seeds, Cranberry (with Sugar, Sunflower Oil), Cashews, Pea Protein, Honey, Raisins, Safflower Oil, Blueberries (with Sugar, Sunflower Oil), Strawberries, Strawberry Juice Concentrate, Raspberries, Acai Powder, Sunflower Lecithin, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Mixed Tocopherols, and Citric Acid.

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Let’s Break the above down:
The word “macronutrient” just means nutrition that the body needs in a large dose, so Nutraplex bars give you all your nutritional needs in what is really a small portion, which is a good thing. Feel full and have energy but you don’t need to amp calories and/or portions. The Megaberry has protein, which is derived from peas, so it at least breaks away from the soy enriched world so many bars have become. Once source of fiber comes from dates, which you can see from the picture is what makes up a lot of the bar and the word bar is it’s shape, but not exactly it’s consistency. Think of it more as a “soft bar shaped patty”. You have Chia seeds that are great for energy and also expand when wet, so you do feel full. You have acai in powder form, blueberries and strawberries to fill the antioxidant portion of the bar. Mixed Tocopherols and it’s really just an organic compound that helps preserve the bar and it’s oils. Many seeds and the oils they have tend to oxidize with air and light, so this is just Vitamin E used to help prevent (or at least slow down) this natural occurrence.

Retail Price Point: $2.99 per bar via Nutraplex’s site or $44.85 for a carton of 15 bars. I checked with Amazon and they have a price point of $39.45 for the carton.

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Final Verdict:
Yes, the bar is free of gluten and non-gmo ingredients, but I did not see a non-gmo certification listed on the site. Free of high fructose corn syrup, soy and dairy free. You have no dyes or artificial ingredients, plus it’s kosher. The price point is high for ingredients that are not of high value but I am still making the leap that Nutraplex is using higher grades here. Trust me not all Chia seeds are created equal! Even with that in mind, the taste and texture matter. Really matter! You are dealing with simple ingredients and I value that, just not $3 a bar that is not even organic certified. Like I mentioned the bar is in it’s shape and not so much in it’s texture. I opened it and it flops a bit because it’s just ingredients compacted to form a patty…..sort resembles a seed disc for birds. Very soft and chewy and you taste berry seeds but not a burst of berry fruit notes. Think of raspberry seeds, strawberry seeds, the chia seeds and so forth but packed into a date and maybe some raisin batter. I did not find it pleasing and I’m all for the “naked bars” out there. I don’t need a coating of faux chocolate or a oat/granola filling to respect the bar but if you say berry, I expect well a berry slap of flavor. This was too date-y for me and I like dates but when you mush, grind, pulverize and so forth…….the individual flavors start to get muted and I like energy and nutrition, but I still believe you should like what you are eating to some degree other than it’s just good for you. I would walk out with a berry bag of dried (unsweetened) fruit with the same ingredients in cluster form versus the mashed-up form any day. I only tasted the berry one and maybe the other flavors will be better at covering the the date and raisin base. I just think 190 calories (70 from fat) and at only 6 grams of protein, is not worth the exchange or will equate a bunch of energy. You also have 21 grams of sugars and the vitamin content is low with none from vitamin A, 4% of Vitamin C, 10% of calcium and 10% of iron. Sunflower oil is used in the product and with all the fats to choose from in today’s market, I was surprised and again when looking at the list……maybe my idea of “macro-nutrition” means something else because Nutraplex’s bar did not (in my opinion) offer enough macro in their Megaberry bar!  It has nutrition but pretty low for energy and the nutritional facts say it all.  I just don’t understand the price tag when so much is missing.

 

Connect with Nutraplex at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Nutraplex.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Grab Bags of Goodness from Gourmet Nut #Review

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A while back I got the opportunity to take a few Gourmet Nut’s products for a test drive, and boy howdy were they the belle of the ball. Great flavors in their salts and sugars that brought out the best of whatever dish they were added to. But Gourmet Nut wasn’t finished by a long shot. There was also the little matter of their “Gourmet on the Go” line of snack packs. I got to try 4 different varieties, some more than others thanks to the snarfing of a certain hubby who shall remain nameless.
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I’ll start with the mix that went “poof” first, the Cajun Hot Mix. A combination of sesame sticks, peanuts, cajun corn sticks, almonds, and tasty chili bits, this one was a tasty little number that had the added benefit of just a touch of heat. Fans of this blog know that in my house, the hotter the better. And while this mix some heat, it wasn’t so hot as to discourage the chilie-challenged among us from diving in, either. It wasn’t loaded with sodium either, like so many other savory snack packs from other “bigger” brands. All while being trans-fat free, cholesterol-free, and vegan. Not too shabby! This generous 8 oz. bag was gone, baby, gone within a calendar week thanks to Mr. Snack Vacuum over here, but the little bit I got, I loved.

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Next on the hit parade was Gourmet Nut’s “Body Boosting Antioxidant Mix”. Bursting with flavor from raisins, cranberries, blueberries, dark chocolate, pecans and walnuts, this all natural, gluten free treat went over like gangbusters here. Fruit, nuts, and chocolate? Yes, please! Also boasting 5 grams of protein per 1 ounce serving, and just 150 calories, this 6 once bag didn’t last kissing time either. At least I got more than a token handful this time. And every little bit was fresh, full and bursting with flavor. Not a bag full of broken bits and powder, either. Just a Bag of win.

 

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Number three is one that I’m sure will do well, Gourmet Nut’s “Energize Me” Protein Mix. 8 ounces filled to brim with dried cherries, raisins, almonds, cashews, peanuts and pumpkin seeds. All natural, vegan and gluten free, this is a satisfying mouthful for just about anyone. Hubby, usually in  staunch opposition to nuts of almost any kind, even grabbed a handful or three. The dried fruit isn’t overly sweet, and the nuts roasty, not salty. Each one ounce serving gives you a whopping 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of dietary fiber, and only 150 calories. A crunchy little snack like this goes well with this household, especially since we don’t eat lunch but can get “munchy” between breakfast and dinner. This plugs that hole perfectly.

 

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Last on the hit parade is Gourmet Nut’s Nature’s Mix. This one I loved, with raisins, cranberries, peanuts, pineapple, papaya, almonds, and cashews. It has everything but my name. All natural, gluten free, and vegan. This 8 ounce bag is only 120 calories per serving, and is another excellent mid day snack. It’s also cholesterol free, and trans-fat free. Hubby isn’t crazy about papaya and pineapple, so it didn’t get squirreled away and an empty bag just appear like some of the other varieties. So I got to take my time with the one and really enjoy it. And believe me, I enjoyed the heck out of it.

 

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Gourmet Nut has many more varieties in their “Gourmet on the Go” line,  like Veggie Chips, Mega Omega Mix, Almond Cranberry Crunch, and much more. With prices running as little as $3 and change per bag, up to around $4.50 or so (they’re sold in packs of 6), there’s a snack sack for every budget. Along with the salts and spice rubs I’ve reviewed for them, they also offer Health Seeds and Power Up Snack bags. And there is nothing in their line I’ve tried that isn’t quality. The salts are up there with some of my favorites, and the prices for everything are very reasonable. Too often snack mixes are loaded with salt, sugar, and fillers that leave you hungrier than before you dug in, and then filled with regret when you step on the scale. That’s just not the case here. What you see is what you get. You see pictures of fruit and nuts, and you get a   bag full of fruits and nuts. Very refreshing nowadays. Thank you, Gourmet Nut.

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I’m so tempted to throw a handful of some of these into a quickbread dough and see what happens. Power loaf, perhaps? But that’s a post for another day. Assuming I can hide these from that roaming muncher I married.

Connect with Gourmet Nut:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Gourmet Nut.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Almondina: Delicious Cookie without the Guilt Review & Giveaway

Last week, I shared the Valentine’s Day Almondina ice cream hearts recipe and today I wanted to not only recap some of the flavors, but also have a giveaway 🙂  Yes, one lucky winner will receive the same assortment I did courtesy of the wonderful people at the Almondina brand.

You can visit here to get the Valentine’s Day Almondina recipe to make a treat that is delicious all-year-round-

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https://samplesandfreebiesgallery.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/almondina-cookies-no-bake-valentines-day-gelato-sorbet-and-ice-cream-heart-treats/

It was difficult to choose a favorite among all because they were all delicious.  This is the type of cookie that when I shop at Trader Joe’s, if they did not have my first selection…..it does not matter. I will pick-up the flavor they have in stock.  Yup, not passing it up!  I love to pair the thin cookie mostly with ice cream because it’s like having a treat after dinner but I don’t pay for it a day later at the scale!  It tastes good, maybe so good that you forget that each sweet cookie is just around 30 to 35 calories.  The selection is bountiful and you can choose from chocolate based cookies to just the Original.  No added fat, salt and a cholesterol free product…..so, your heart will thank you as much as your taste buds.

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AlmonDuo:

I love pistachio nuts, so this one really was the perfect little cookie for me.  Almondinas are thin, but do not mistake that for being dry because they are not.  They are crisp and light and the cookie is just studded with with perfect slivers of almonds and pistachios.  It’s a happy cookie that will make anyone smile!  Dip in chocolate ganache and you may even get the giggles 🙂

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Chocolate Cherry:

This cookie has a rich chocolate base that is deep in flavor.  You have a great combination of plump dried cherries that just complement the cocoa perfectly but also almonds.  I enjoy having this cookie with ice cream because in my eyes it’s almost a sundae with the fudge, nuts and even cherry on top!  Also, you can have your chocolate and enjoy it too with 4 cookies only at 132 calories.

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Cinnaroma:

I love cinnamon but tend to avoid it in products because manufacturers forgot the words, “a touch of Cinnamon”,  Almondina thankfully has not.  You taste the spice but you will find it compliments versus just engulfing your mouth with it.  Your taste buds still enjoy the almonds, and the raisins really make me think of a loaf of cinnamon bread when I have this cookie.  You also pick up the malted barley flour, giving this cookie a distinct flavor.

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GingerSpice:

This is what I call my “breakfast cookie” because I enjoy it with a pear based yogurt I like having in the morning.  The Almondina is like the cereal that never loses it’s crunch in milk but yogurt in it’s place.  I start my morning with this healthy parfait and you get to enjoy the diced Australian ginger they used that really gives it that gingery-snap taste.  Nice to have a cookie like this available year round!

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Almondina cookies come in several varieties and flavors, you are sure to find one (or three) you will love:

  • Original – America’s all natural favorite with almonds and raisins
  • Chocolate Cherry – We combined the world’s finest dark chocolate with plump cherries to produce an irresistible, decadent treat without guilt.
  • Choconut – Rich tasting crunchy chocolate, but low in calories
  • Cinnaroma® – The original biscuit for cinnamon lovers
  • Gingerspice – Trend setting, with chunks of Australian ginger
  • AlmonDuo® – Double-nut wonder with almonds and pistachios
  • AnniversaryT – Award winning delight with a touch of anise
  • BranTreats® – Made with oat bran and the finest cinnamon “Cookies For Breakfast”
  • Sesame – Irresistible, exotic, flavorful
  • Seasonal Pumpkin Spice – A seasonal attraction with a delightful touch of fall spices combined with the highest quality almonds and pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

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Try Almondina’s Newest Products:

  • Chocolate Dipped – the Original® dipped in the finest, pure, rich dark chocolate was previously offered only certain times of the year is now available year round
  • Delights – The Original® Almondina totally encased in Milk chocolate
  • Yogurt Dipped – Brantreats® dipped on one side with a layer of all natural yogurt

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Stop by and thank Almondina for sharing with us their Grandmother Dina’s cookie, a delight since 1929:

**Now for the Giveaway**

Very easy to participate and have a chance at becoming the winner of the same selection of goodies I received from Almondina.  All you have to do is-

  1. Like Almondina on Facebook
  2. Please Follow them on Twitter
  3. Then please leave a comment on this review……that is all 🙂

I will announce the winner on March 3rd!

I received the above product free of charge from Almondina. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Almondina Cookies: No Bake Valentine’s Day Gelato, Sorbet and Ice Cream Heart Treats

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For those of you unfamiliar, Almondina is a thin cookie that is not only less punishing caloric (only 30 calories each) wise but absolute deliciousness!  Most dunking cookies I love more how they look than how they taste because the cookies are so dry, they suck the moisture out of your mouth.  You try to dunk them to soften them and then they fall apart, so now your hot coffee is not so enjoyable anymore with pieces of dissolved cookie with every sip!  Almondina has fixed the problem but I find them better than most packaged cookies I have ever enjoyed because they are so versatile!  You do not have to commit to one flavor because they are thin cookies that come in different varieties.  You have chocolate based to the original vanilla tasting ones, to cinnamon, to even pumpkin.  You want yogurt dipped, Almondina has it and even chocolate dipped, so again this is more than just a cookie you have with a hot drink.  It is a cookie that stands alone in it’s own class of thin (but delicious) crisp cookies.  I love almonds and it started with how the nut tasted but it is also a healthier alternative.  What I like is the amount of almonds and fruit you get too.  I am not cheated out of anything, just eating less fats!  It may be a “better-for-you” cookie but what makes this dreamier, is you get all the flavor and can’t believe one thin cookie could do so much! I will be reviewing the cookies later this week and will have a giveaway for my readers.  Yes, that means the sample pack I received could be yours! So, stay tuned and just a small hint, start following and liking them on Facebook 🙂

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Let Almondina Cookies make your Valentine’s Day treats not only easy and quick to make, but they will look like you dedicated all day to them. The cookies are toasted already so no need to toast in the oven. You can even add sprinkles, chocolate ganache or just the Almondina crumble itself.

I started by using Almondina Choconut, a delicious chocolate cookie that is studded with almonds and raisins. I take the cookie and break off some of the nuts to use later as decor. Using a food processor, I pulse until get a nice mix of fine and medium crumbs. In a small bowl, I add the crumb to be used for later. I again repeat the above process with the Original Almondina cookies and the Almondina AlmondDuo, a double nut cookie, which features not only almonds but also pistachios.

Take your Valentine’s Day cookie cutters (I have both metal and plastic) . Get your favorite ice cream, sorbet, or even gelato out of the freezer. I do one flavor at a time and if I do not have a flavor…..I make it. I had left-over boysenberry preserves I made a few days ago and folded it into vanilla bean ice cream to make boysenberry ice cream. You can use a cherry preserves or any flavor you desire. This not only saves money but also makes those flavors you dream of into reality.

I use a parchment square and under that place some plastic wrap. You can also use the plastic wrap by itself if you do not have parchment.  Take your cookie cutter and place it in the center of the paper/plastic. Stuff the cookie cutter with the above frozen treat of your choice and I find using a spoon and stuff by the “sliver” versus scooping is the easiest way to avoid air pockets. I use a small spatula to smooth out the Gelato and then simply use my hands to push the form out. You can also use the assistance of the parchment paper you used the cookie cutter on if you have enough overage, this also avoids getting ice cream on your fingers. Rinse and repeat!

*The above is Pistachio Gelato

 

*The above is Coconut Sorbet 

*The above is Dark Chocolate Gelato and the Boysenberry Ice Cream I made

I then place cover the molded treat and place it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. If you are making more than one, make sure to not allow your ice cream to soften too much. I suggest placing the pint back in the freezer to keep it from melting. This is why I like to work with different flavors because I can rotate as I work.  If I need to hurry up a creation, I place it in the ice cube tray for a fast chill.

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While everything refreezes, I start making ganache. Ganache is a simple recipe of 1/2 heavy cream and 1/2 chocolate. I use a mix of bittersweet and semisweet chocolate and slowly melt it on the stove. For convince, I place my ganache in a glass dish with a spatula for easy scooping.

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Once the molded heart has hardened again, I take out one heart at a time and begin to decorate. You can use several ways:

  • Spread Ganache and then the Almondina Cookie Crumbs.
  • Stud the hearts with the nuts you recovered from the cookies before making the crumb and then only applying crumble to the sides.
  • Make a Mold of Gelato and fill only 1/4 of the way, add Almondina Crumble and then fill again with Gelato. This gives you a crumble in the center.
  • You can do half Ganache and half crumble, so you get different textures

Return the decorated heart back and allow it to set for 20 to 30 minutes. This will of course vary by size of cookie cutter and amount of frozen treat used.

I used some ganache and stencils to not only decorate the dessert but also my plate. You just smear a small amount of ganache and then some red colored sprinkles, or any color of your choice. Lift the stencil and then you have a cute design. Place the plate in the fridge and if the plate is freezer safe, it is much better because it then gets as cold as the hearts, This buys you time when you put everything together. Get your Love Bug and you have a gorgeous and delicious dessert that required no oven and just some opening and closing of the freezer ❤ This also a very kid friendly project, so make it a family thing too ❤ Enjoy!

To locate where you can buy Almondina’s Cookies or to view their large selection, please visit:

  • On-line– http://www.almondina.com/
  • Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/Almondina.Brand
  • Twitter– https://twitter.com/almondina

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I received the above product free of charge from Almondina Cookies.  I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion.  My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Graze.com: Healthy Snacks delivered to your door

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Here’s something new for snackers. Graze is a “snack subscription” service. I was able to try Graze at zero cost, with no commitment (And you can too!). The program allows you to pretty much “Nay” or “Yay” items, but you can’t select what snacks you want in your box, otherwise “build-your-box”. I like the surprise-me idea and because they sort of catalog your tastes before, I gave it a go!

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I was told my box would arrive the first week of February and it arrived the last week of January, so that was a pleasant surprise. My snack box was shipped via USPS and you get four treats, each individually sealed. Codes are also included to share with friends and work sort of like a referral program. Included is also a Nutrition Facts card, which lets you know the caloric count, sugars, ect.. However if you want a full list of ingredients, it states to check on-line….so very easy with even an exact unique link listed on there that coincides with the item.

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My first item to try was the Herby Bread Basket. My husband and I tried the garlic crostini, a mini basil breadstick, and a oregano rice cracker. I tried the cracker first and the cluster seems to be made from brown rice going by the taste but has a very sugary flavor that tends to not bump nicely with the herb notes. I did not detect oregano and more of what you get when you use parsley flakes, but that can be from flavors combining in the packet. My Husband just stated he really does not like how those taste. The sugary notes were overwhelming and hard to look past them and maybe would fit better with an Asian mix, versus a mix that seems more Italian-like going by the flavors. The garlic crostini is just like a crouton would taste and not overly garlic. Think of the square croutons that are meant to be used for making stuffing but in a pinch you see them used on salads. Now, the mini basil breadsticks were pleasant but salty. I even rinsed my mouth thinking the sugary notes from the rice cracker were influencing my taste buds but unfortunately it was not. 1 out of 3 items in this snack were okay-ish,so I gave this one a “Nay”

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The next day we tried the HoneyComb Flapjack, made of rolled oats and drizzled with chocolate. The item is soft in texture and smells a little like a oatmeal cookie does minus the raisins. Took a bite and the first thing that came to mind, a no-bake cookie. You do not taste the chocolate and I give you that the square does not have a processed flavor at all but it was lacking in flavor period. The square smelled better than it tasted. My Husband bailed on taking a second bite because the grainy texture was just not his thing. I dumped the rest into my yogurt cup and it sort of got lost in there. This is when I noticed the grains I eat from my granola mix had more flavor than the Flapjack. We gave this a “Nay”.

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I wanted to end on a good note so I opened the Trail Mix. My mix had redskin peanuts, roasted hazelnuts, jumbo raisins, and cranberries. It’s so my kind of thing that this mix was created for me. I peel open the container and noticed it does not smell like what I am seeing. Sort of musty. I taste a peanut and my Husband takes a very non-jumbo sized raisin and walks off. My peanut was soft in texture and tasted rancid so I did not finish it. I then hear from the other room in the house, “don’t taste the raisin, I had to spit it out”. Ummmm….okay, so I taste a hazelnut and roasted it is not and suffers from that same softness and weird off taste the peanut does. I gave up and disposed of this mix. The nuts are soft like if they had been in a cooler and then sweated a bit when they were warmed (maybe while in transit). Nonetheless, they were bad! Nay again!

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The Booster Seeds I would love to say are my next choice by I am starting to grow shy here. The Booster mix has sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and golden flax seeds. I eat flax seeds and pumpkin seeds on a routine basis, so this is again familiar territory. I peel open the container……..these smell and taste fine!!! Yay!! the seeds have crunch and no musty smell. They are plain with no salt and sugar and play well with anything or you can enjoy them as-is. We have a winner and the quality is decent.

So, 4 snack boxes in total and 1 out 4 was a winner. These 4-box units usually cost $6.00, plus that includes shipping. I will say that $6 with shipping would make me buy at least once a month but when only 1 snack item was a hit and it was the plainer of the bunch, that would be one over priced 1.2 ounces sized snack. I really wanted to be a Graze fan because the idea of trying new snacks and with a healthy twist, plus delivered to your door is something I desire……sort of dreamy for me who likes this kind of “stuff”. The freedom to move deliveries around to fit your needs or even budget makes this a friendly company, which is rare today. The site is welcoming and easy to see what they offer. I just would not want to cringe at opening a packet and being welcomed by rancid nuts that made the dried fruit taste like something that you want to only taste once and never repeat. I worry about when Summer hits and if the quality will “boing” all over the place but have to share for my first-time try, Graze left me wanting to graze from my pantry versus from my mailbox. I may try again in the future because I would love to support a company with good intentions that maybe were caught on a bad day!

If you would like to give Graze a try, visit them at:

  • On-line– https://www.graze.com/us/products
  • Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/grazeusa
  • Twitter– https://twitter.com/intent/user?screen_name=grazeusa

I received the above product free of charge from Graze.com. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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