I finished the whole box of Peanut Butter Puffins in less than 3 days. It was just too easy to snack on!! I was afraid of opening my Cinnamon flavor Puffins fearing that the same thing would happen. I caved in. It’s opened. Surprisingly, I don’t like this flavor. As a matter of fact, I dislike it. The size of the cinnamon puffin is slightly smaller than the peanut butter flavor and it is a lot more dense. I kind of feel like I’m eating cardboard. The date on the box says that the cereal is still fresh for another 6 months, but I’m thinking I might have gotten a stale box. Aside from the texture, I think the flavor is a little off for me too. I’m usually all over cinnamon flavored foods, but I find that the puffins are way too Cinnamony. I could finish the box, but I defiantly won’t be enjoying it. 2/3 of a cup is 100 calories, 1 WW, 1 gram of fat, 6 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of sugar. Since the size is smaller, it seems like you get to eat a lot more puffs than the peanut butter flavor. Plus, the cinnamon flavor has a lot more fiber per serving too, but I just can’t get over the taste of it. I heart Peanut Butter Puffins.
My Cost: $3.00 on sale
Calories: 100 per 2/3 cup
I couldn’t resist the price so I decided to give Trader Joe’s cereal bars another try. As previously mentioned, I feel that the TJ cereal bars are a tad on the sweet side based on my previous experience with the blueberry flavored bars. This time, I picked up the “This Fig Walks into a Bar…” in the Fig flavor since I was told that among the 3 flavors, Fig has the least amount of sugar (13 grams). The texture, shape, and size is comparable to the Kashi Blackberry Graham Soft Baked cereal bars. Love the softness of it, but still, I feel that these are too sweet for me. Each bar is 120 calories, 2 WW, 13 grams of sugar, and only 1 gram of fiber. So if you are feeling the pinch in the wallet from our sinking economy, these are are pretty good alternative to the Kashi cereal bars.
Retails: $1.69 at Trader Joe’s
My Cost: $1.69 for box of 6
Calories: 120 per bar
I must be the last person on the planet to try these out. I couldn’t justify myself paying $4.99 for a box of cereal ($3.69 at Trader Joe’s), no matter how good they are. The cereal Gods must have been smiling at me the other day because I found these one sale for $3.00 a box. I knew that this was going to be cheapest I will ever see these Puffins go down to, so it was now of never. I took the plunge and purchased the Peanut Butter and Cinnamon flavors. I’ve been wanting to try these for so long that I created a superficial hype for myself. I expected “holy flying bananas” and fireworks to go off but that didn’t happen. These are 4x the size of Captain Crunch, but with much less sugar and calories. One serving is 3/4 of a cup, 110 calories, 2 WW, 2 grams of fat, 2 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of sugar. I was pleasantly surprised with the flavor. It was BOTH sweet and salty, but in a good way and the peanut butter flavor is not overpowering. In short, my taste buds like these Puffins, but my wallet surely do not. The size of these are perfect for snacking. I plan to enjoy my Puffins as a dry snack and on top of yogurts. It will be a sad day when these are gone.
Retails: $4.99 per box
My Cost: $3.00 on sale at Henry’s Marketplace
Calories: 110 per 3/4 cup serving
I’m a big fan of chocolate, especially dark chocolate because I feel that white chocolate is too sweet and the flavor in milk chocolate is diluted. Plus, dark chocolate is better for your health anyways. I normally purchase individually wrapped dark chocolate pieces because I can portion 1 piece a day and I can be satisfied. Having an open bar of delicious chocolate lying around is just asking for trouble, but I couldn’t resist when this Belgian Dark 72% Cocoa bar was on sale at Fresh & Easy. Normally $1.99, it was reduced to $0.99. I’m so glad I purchased it because it is delicious! Rich dark chocolate with bits of cocoa nibs. What a perfect way to end the night. There are a total of 10 squared in the bar, so divide it up, it is only 52.5 calories a square. Fresh & Easy turns national brand items into their own private label products just like Trader Joe’s. Just browsing the store, I can spot a lot of product similarities such as: the pretzel chips, pretzel sticks, peanut butter pretzel nuggets, huge chocolate bars, popcorn, nuts, cereal bars, etc. Some of the items are cheaper at F&E too. F&E is really a hidden gem for foodie lovers.
Retails: $1.99 at F&E
My Cost: $0.99 on sale
Calories: 210 per serving of 4 squares (52.5 a square)
WW: 5 ( or 1.25)
Big thanks to Alex over at PopChips for the lovely care package. Inside the box were 9 single serving size PopChips Baggies. Perfect for bringing along as a snack for lunch. I got all 5 varieties which includes: Original, Salt & Pepper, Sea Salt & Vinegar, Parmesan Garlic, and Barbecue. These chip are never fried and never baked. So how can they make it so crispy, crunchy and so chip-like? “We apply heat and pressure and pop! it’s a chip.” I don’t fully understand the magic of it all, but whatever it is that they do, I like it. These PopChips are yummy and less fatty than normal potato chips, but they do not lack in flavor. The texture of these is sort of like a hybrid of potato chips and rice crackers which is refreshing. I can’t say that these are grease-less because they do use safflower oil, sunflower oil and canola oil on them, but based on the residue left on my fingers and the inside of the chip bag, PopChips are defiantly less greasy than normal potato chips. No preservatives, no artificial flavors or colors, no cholesterol, no saturated fat, and 0 grams trans fat makes me that much less guilty for snacking. I’ve seen the larger bags at Whole Foods for $2.99 and Fresh & Easy for $1.99 ($1.59 when on sale). I haven’t gotten a chance to try all 5 flavors yet, but I did try the Barbecue flavor already and they were very tasty.
Retails: $1.25 at Jamba Juice
My Cost: Free from PR
Calories: 120 calories per 28 grams (about 22 chips)
Nothing excites me more (well, almost nothing) than trying out new items. If there was a choice of a “tried-and-loved” product versus a “new-t0-me” product, I’d probably try the “new” product. That’s just me. After finishing my Van’s Organic Homestyle waffles, it was time to restock, so I picked up the Kashi Go Lean Blueberry. Mmm…. blueberry. The burst of real plump blueberries embedded in the waffles is a real treat. These are slightly less calories than the Van’s which is a plus. Two waffles is only 170 calories, 3 WW, 6 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of protein. I toasted one, added some yummy pb, syrup in a saucer, and included a huge bowl of fruit on the side that consists of fresh bananas, blueberries, and strawberries. I like variety in my meals. A little bit of everything is perfect because the first few bites of food always taste the best. I like the texture of these better than the Van’s Organic Homestyle waffles. I find these more filling, maybe it is because it has more fiber, more protein and also it has dairy in it as well.
Retails: $1.99 at Target
My Cost: $1.99 for box of 6
Calories: 170 for 2 waffles
Mmmm…. pretzel slims. So delicious. This one is the original flavor which is also really good as well. I like the crunchy factor and I don’t feel as disgusted as eating chips. These are like “pretzel-crackers” because it’s ultra-thin and really crunchy. The flatness of it makes it perfect for dipping into salsa, hummus, guacamole, etc., but they are pretty good by themselves or with a cup of tea or coffee. I love how they only have 4 simple ingredients: wheat flour, sugar, salt, and barley malt syrup. One serving is 110 calories for about 23 pretzels, 2 WW, and 1 gram of fiber. Fat free, no artificial colors or flavors, no preservative. Pretty good for a light snack. Is it just me or do these have an ire resemblance to the Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps? I’ve only tried the Snack Factory Garlic Crisps before and they were absolutly amazing. They enticing blurb on the back of the bag is similar to what Snack Factory boasts about their product. Also, the BIG clue that makes me about 99.9% sure that these are the same as Snack Factory Pretzels is on the back of the Trader Joe’s bag: “U.S Patent Design D510,172 used under license from the Snack Factory, Inc.”. From my shopping experiences, Trader Joe’s only has the original flavor and the “everything” flavor, so if you are a die hard fan of a certain Snack Factory flavor, you are out of luck right now. I believe that Snack Factory is about $2.99 a bag at Whole Foods, but the Trader Joe’s bag is only $2.19. I love finding out about the Trader Joe’s private label secrets. Do you guys know of any big national brand items that Trader Joe’s sell under their private label? Please leave a comment as I would LOVE to know.
Here is a website that I found that has some speculations of what is what.
TJ Pita Chips Parmesan, Garlic & Herb ($1.99) = Stacy’s Parmesan Garlic & Herb Pita Chips ($2.99)
TJ Goddess Dressing ($1.99) = Annie’s Natural Goddess Dressing ($3.99)
TJ Vienna Style Lager ($5.99) = Gordon Biersch Märzen ($9.99)
TJ Indian Fare Punjab Eggplant ($1.99) = Tasty Bite Punjab Eggplant ($2.49)
TJ Very Berry Clusters ($2.69) = Peace Cereal Wild Berry Crisp ($3.99)
Retails: $2.19 for 8 oz bag
My Cost: $2.19
Calories: 110 per 28 gram (23 pretzels)