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Are you ready for some snacking?

Who likes snacks?  Who likes pictures of cute kids snuggling kittens?  C’mon, these aren’t questions that need asking.  Let’s talk about snacking.

Now, first, a disclaimer.  I freely admit that this is a ‘first world problem’ sort of post.  If that gives you indigestion, you probably have better blogs to read.  And an anti-disclaimer: I am in no way in cahoots with any of the companies I am about to discuss, I simply signed up for them of my own free will.

Do you ever find yourself craving a snack but your endless cabinet and fridge opening just doesn’t reveal the scratch to your snacky itch?  Wandering snack aisles at the gas station with no joy?  Tired of the same old snacks?  Maybe even want something a bit on the (shhhhh!) healthier side of life that nonetheless tastes yummy?  Maybe I can help.

I’ll admit that I don’t have many snacking problems in terms of variety.  I ate a minimalist sort of chicken fajita/taco about 5 days a week for like a year for dinner at one point when I was single.  I don’t even know how many years I ate mayonnaise, cheese, and ketchup (yes, I’m serious) sandwiches in elementary school (yes, I made my own lunch) basically every day.  OK, so I like variety, but I’m OK if it’s a bit lacking.  I do find as the metabolism slows I like the idea of healthier snacks, though.  Which brings me to my wife, who has much more trouble snacking than I do (I warned you about those first world problems) and she relies more on a series of snacks than a lunch like I do during the week.  Boredom sets in.  So the first thing I found was Graze.

Graze, with the tagline “Nature Delivered” is pretty cool.  The shortcut description is that they deliver 4 individually packaged snacks to your mailbox (48 mainland states) every week for $5 a week (update: now doing 8 biweekly for $10).  They are the most customizable company we use.  You can tell them not to send any dairy, non-vegan, or gluten-y things.  Every snack starts out as ‘try’, but you can alter the ratings to ‘like’, ‘love’, or ‘trash’.  If you trash it, they will never send it to you!  From try through love, the higher you rate it the more often you get it.  Basically you will always get a loved item each week.  My wife likes a broad range of items, I mostly love a few (they have some great spicy snacks), so what ends up happening is she gets three of them a week and I get one, which is fine.  Now, these are little snacks.  Often under 100 calories.  Some have some fiber, some have protein or a serving of fruit, etc.  There are a lot of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit along with some other things.  You can browse away at their site via that link.  There are literally dozens of choices.  So you really get a nice variety of things all the time so you don’t get bored.  They are also bringing things in and out so sometimes something totally new will show up. (update: they have added things as diverse as soups, like Vietnamese Pho, microwave popcorn, a tea bag with some cookies, etc.)

sample Graze snacks

sample Graze snacks

There’s an example of a couple of recent ones.  I didn’t include anything for scale, but I’m sure you have an idea how big pistachios are.  Personally, my absolute favorite is “my thai” – sweet chili sauce with baked soy bites – little rounds of soy crackers.  I love sweet chili and you get plenty – really more than you can slather on your 8 crackers.  Some are really simple, like a serving of lightly salted toasted pistachios.  Some have a bit of chocolate in them.  Lots of ‘almost too clever’ names.  Some are more involved (mini chocolate cookies, roasted hazels, white chocolate buttons and sunflower seeds in “cookies and cream”).

Do you feel like Graze-ing, yet?  But wait – there’s more!  If you sign up for the first time through a friendcode (as I did), you get your first and fifth boxes FREE!  And you can stop any time.  Yes, I get $1 off a box for everyone that uses my friendcode, for the record.  If you like little nibbly snacks, I seriously think you will like Graze.  If you want to try and get two free boxes, you can use my friendcode by clicking here: D24DXT7YP

So, yeah, we like Graze.  But then I came across another one – Nature Box.  It’s not a mystery what you have here – lots of nuts, crackers, dried fruit, healthy-ish stuff.  We signed up for a monthly box here and we get 5 bags of snacks per month for $20.   There are some options on sizes and you can also just get extra bags of snacks in a month if you want.  Unlike with Graze, where you get a random assortment weighted to your preferences, you can pick which 5 snacks you get from  Nature Box.  Their selection isn’t as great as Graze and you’d better hope you like what you get since you get a lot more.  The price still isn’t bad, especially since, again, these are generally healthy.  They also have some nice spicy options.

sample Nature Box bags

sample Nature Box bags

They also let you sort out lactose, vegan, soy, nuts, “gluten conscious”, and for the bandwagon jumpers, GMOs (for the record, I’m in favor of helping poor people eat).  Probably my favorite so far are masa crisps – just 4 ingredients – corn masa, flax seeds, soybean oil, and salt.  The taste?  FRITOS!  These things totally taste like Fritos.  I loved the bag we got in our first box (at least with our first box you get a mystery assortment, then you get to choose after that).

Want to try Nature Box’s snacks?  If I’ve done this correctly, you can follow this link and get your first box half off ($10 off your first box): link.  What do I get out of it?  If things work correctly then I get $10 when you sign up (if you like it and get your friends to sign up, then you can get $10 for referring each of them, etc.).
(We’ve unsubscribed from Nature Box.  Too many snacks to keep up with and Nature Box lost out to Graze.)

So.  Had enough snacks?  Got room for some chocolate?  The last box I want to talk about is a new one to me, we just got our first one.  In fact I can’t even review the snacks because I haven’t tried them, yet!  But they look pretty good.  Check out a newish box – MunchPak.  A partial restatement of their mission:

MunchPak was created and developed by two guys who love to snack and hate running to the store…MunchPak was built and designed with the intention of letting people try the most popular snacks, and of course, local favorites from all over the world. There are tons of great tasting snacks from quality companies all over the US that aren’t offered in every state. There are also thousands of other delicious snacks made by various companies all over the world.  At MunchPak, we are constantly partnering with new and popular snack brands from all over the US and rest of the world. We love sending our subscribers new, interesting, and always delicious snacks every month.

I heard about MunchPak over at JunkFoodGuy.com.  I waffled about it for a while, but when they had a code for a discount off the first box on their facebook page I decided to give it a try – plus they started offering a MunchPak Mini for just $7.95 a month PLUS SHIPPING, don’t say you didn’t see that shipping isn’t included.  It’s like another $7 for this size.  Honestly, I’m not sure what they’re doing there, for the quantity you get I would think they could do better with just a flat rate shipping box from the post office.  Plus it would take less than the 10 days or so it took for mine to wend its way to NY.  Anyway.  This size says you get a box with a shipping weight of about a pound (2 pounds for the original box).   I weighed my first box and it was well over a pound.  The snacks themselves weighed 13-3/4 oz.  I wasn’t blown away by the contents, but I’m willing to see what happens next month.  Here’s what I got:

Snacks and orange confetti

Snacks and orange confetti

snacks the lesser

snacks the lesser

I consider these the three lamer snacks of the bunch.  A Quaker granola bar?  There are people that can’t find a granola bar whenever they want?  The Nestle Aero bar may be a bit rarer, but it’s not that exciting to me.  Finally, Salt & Lime flavored peanuts from Sabritas.  They might be OK, but not that exciting.  They might even be tasty…but remember I haven’t tried these, yet, I’m just judging based on how interested I am in them right off the bat.

snacks the Cadbury

snacks the Cadbury

Definitely an obsession with Cadbury with this box.  A Dairy Milk bar, Dairy Milk buttons, and a Fudge bar (described as fudge covered with milk chocolate).  Not overly excited about these since I’m not a big milk chocolate fan, but I am curious to try a Cadbury variety, which I haven’t tried before.  But…what’s up with this?

what the...

what the…

Interesting pink graphic there, Cadbury.

munch131145

snacks the interesting

OK, now it’s getting interesting.  Will they be good?  I dunno, but at least they really intrigue me.  The Goo Goo Cluster is from the South and I’ve heard of it, but never tried one.  Described as milk chocolate, caramel, peanuts and marshmallow nougat (although the ingredients list a bunch of other nuts, too).  Snackers will recognize the Kinder brand and here we have a bueno  “milk chocolate covered wafers with smooth milky and hazelnut filling”.  Not sure how much I’ll like this one, but I’m interested in trying.

Then the last two that really are further out.  Gansito Cookie from Marinela in Mexico.  Looks like a sandwich cookie with vanilla cookies around…marshmallow?  And some sort of fruit center?  Covered with chocolate and chocolate jimmies on top.  OK by me.  And Kex…from Sweden.  Described on the side as “filled wafers in milk chocolate”.  Vague.  Candy Blog has more.  Not so exciting, I guess these are widely sold at Ikea.  Cybele gave them a solid ‘meh’.  We’ll see.

So, nothing for me here, just go to their site and give them a try if you want.  I’ll share what’s in future boxes.

(We’ve also unsubscribed from MunchPak.  Too many things that either went straight into the garbage or went there after one taste.  I guess I’d rather pick my own junk food.)

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Updates:

So the Fudge bar was interesting – by ‘fudge’ they seem to mean what we would call ‘nougat’.  This is sort of like a 3 Musketeers.

The Dairy Milk Buttons are…boring.  Slim, milk chocolate drops.  Whoo hoo.  Not bad, not at all, just…whatever.  Especially for someone that doesn’t really care for milk chocolate anymore.

Goo Goo Cluster was OK.  Nothing overly exciting.  A bit too crumbly with nuts flying everywhere, but sort of tasty.  I doubt I would pick one off a shelf compared to other snacks, but I was glad this was sort of different and new to me.

The Kinder Bueno was also interesting, but not that tasty.  Two individually wrapped bars, each of those sort of 4 connected lumps of light wafers filled with a hazelnut paste.  Not offensive, just not overly tasty.

Gansito cookies were OK.  Tasted old even though I don’t think they were, just rubbery and fake.

Kex was bearable.  You know those blocks of wafer cookies you buy for like a buck?  These are like those, only not as good.

Aero bar was completely as expected and of no interest to me.

I actually had a bit of hope for the Salt and Lime peanuts from Sabritas.  The last ingredient was ‘lime juice solids’.  I love lime.  It’s probably my favorite citrus and I use it in a lot of places others might use lemon.  I like lime candy, limeade, etc.  Opening the bag there was really no scent of lime, although I tried to convince myself there was.  I popped the first one and my first thought was ‘wow, these really are lime!’ and salty.  Then I had a couple more and it was less interesting.  Then I had a few more and I started to feel a little sick.  Then I threw the rest away.  Alas.

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