For health writers, a typical day can find us writing about things like Botox injections to the stomach or even about space travel possibly causing Alzheimer’s disease . But every once in a while we get a chance to review new foods on the market.
Last week, Van’s Natural Foods sent the HealthCentral Editorial Team a box full of their new gluten free cereals, crackers and snacks.
No one on our team has a gluten allergy and we’re pretty adventurous eaters so we raised our collective eyebrow at the long list of things that these products didn’t include. They were gluten free, corn free, dairy free, hydrogenated oil free, GMO free, low sodium, high fiber and all natural.
But we worried that when foods are free of so many ingredients, they also tend to be free of taste.
Yet Van’s impressed our dairy-loving crowd with a few of their offerings. Here are our favorites:
Whole Grain Cereals: Cinnamon Heaven ($3.99)
There was a clear difference between the two cereals we tasted—Cinnamon Heaven and Honey Nut Crunch. If you’re a fan of cinnamon, the Cinnamon Heaven cereal is a taste treat, even as a late afternoon snack. The same can’t be said for the Honey Nut Crunch cereal, which was pretty tasteless.
(Even Freddie Mercury prefered Cinnamon Heaven)
Whole Grain Crackers: Say Cheese! ($2.99)
Despite mistaking the “Say” for “Soy” on the front of the box, the Say Cheese! crackers were delicious and very cheesy. We were pleasantly surprised that they were also gluten free. Dare we say they were better than Cheez-its!
Whole Grain Snack Bars: Cranberry Almond ($4.49)
It was hard to pick a favorite here. All were tasty and chewy, a must in snack bars if you ask us. But we chose the Cranberry Almond variety as our favorite. (I’ll put in a big plug for the Chocolate Peanut butter, as well. The rest of the team didn’t get to try it because I didn’t share.)
All of these gluten free products are loaded with fiber, whole grains and protein, and are relatively low in calories and sugar, particularly considering how much flavor they have.
They are now available for purchase at Safeway, Wal-Mart and Sprout stores.
And the tote bag is awfully cute, too!