Can you “Graze” and still stay paleo?

My wife gave me a really thoughtful gift this year for Christmas: a subscription to Graze. If you have not heard of the UK based company, according to their website “Graze was started by seven friends sick of chips and candy, who wanted a better way to snack.” They deliver “healthy” snacks to your home or office. Graze has an in-house nutritionist that that selects foods high in nutrition, and packages them in reasonable sized portions so you won’t over eat when you snack. If you know me, you know I love snacks. The idea of having them delivered directly to me by mail, just shows how well my wife knows me!

The First Box
When the first package arrived I was pretty excited. The box was nicely designed. (I have to admit, as a marketer and graphic designer I am a sucker for nice packaging design.) I couldn’t wait to open it up. I was ready for a snack, but then again, I am pretty much always ready for a snack. Each box comes with 4 snack packs. The goodies in my first box consisted of Chai Latte Trail Mix, Mango Chutney Dip, Chili and Honey Almonds, and Popping Corn. The Mango Chutney and Popcorn were off the menu for me, so I dove into the Chai Latte trail mix. It consisted of: chai seeds, macadamias, yogurt coated sunflower seeds and coconut flakes. It had 8 grams of sugar and 9 grams of carbohydrates. I assumed that the sugar was in the yogurt-covered sunflower seeds, so I eat around them. The mix was very good. I love coconut, and that combined of the macadamia nuts was delicious, but the “Chia Seeds were really roasted pumpkin seeds, roasted sunflower seeds, sugar, honey, and “natural flavoring.” They were very sweet, and I didn’t want to spike my glucose so I went easy on them. They tasted great though.

Next were the Chili and Honey Almonds. They consisted  of almonds, sugar, honey, chili seasoning (rice flour, salt, yeast extract powder, spices [cayenne, chili, cumin], onion powder, garlic powder, lemon juice powder, natural flavorings, paprika [for color], oregano). They were really sweet to me, and the nutritional information verified it: 13 grams of sugar! I like to keep my sugar intake down around 5 grams at the most for a desert, but I made an exception in this case (since it was a gift). They were a nice mixture of spicy and sweet. I just wish they were a bit lower in sugar.

The next boxes that came in had lower sugar offerings. By far the best two snacks I received in my 5 deliveries were the Southern BBQ Pistachios, and the Sour Cream and Onion Cashews. Both of these were savory and low in sugar. They were intensely flavored and were unlike any flavored nuts I have had. I could have eaten these everyday. Sour cream and onion chips used to be my favorite chips, and cashews are my favorite nut, so combining the two hit the spot for me. Forget the “reasonably sized portions” I’d like to buy a Costco sized container of these!

The Verdict
I would have to say that while this was a nice gift, and I loved getting the box of grub delivered to me every week, Graze is probably not worth the $7 per box that you pay for the service, especially since about half of the offerings were not paleo friendly. I shared the stuff I couldn’t eat with my co-workers, and they loved me for it, so I may have won Graze some business. I should also mention that the services offers an algorithm where you can rate you snacks and they will send you more snacks that are more in tune to your liking. I was pretty busy, so I did not take advantage of rating the food. I tried to log in once, but the system wouldn’t accept my user name and password, so I gave up. Assuming that it caught on to my low-sugar, low-carb preferences, I might have found the service a bit more of a value. As it stands, I’m a cheapskate. I would rather buy a pound of dry-roasted cashews for $7and snack for a week. So, I’ll look to graze in greener pastures.

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