Each week I set aside some of my health for the sake of bringing Kotaku readers my honest, unbiased opinion about on some of the most horrible snack foods the world has to offer, and each week I get the same questions. "Don't you ever review anything healthy?" "How are you not dead yet?" Folks seem to be under the impression that I eat a cheese and oil-soaked pizza every day, chasing it with Creme Eggs and BBQ pork burgers. This is not the case at all.
Well, not generally.
In truth, I like eating healthy things as much as the next guy. I'll gladly polish off a box of fresh strawberries, or eat some peanut butter-filled celery sticks. In fact, I subscribe to a service that delivers boxes of healthy snacks to my door every week. The only reason I've not mentioned it before is because you can't sign up Graze.com yet. The only reason I am now is to make the people that complain about my focus on greasy, death-inducing fare feel jealous, as well they should.
Here's how Graze.com works. Upon receiving an invitation code from a friend, I registered on the website. Once registered, I was able to browse through more than 90 varieties of healthy snacks, from trail mixes to shortbread dippers, assigning a preference to each one — trash, try, like and love. I enter my credit card info, select a delivery frequency, and then Graze starts sending me boxes of four snacks in the mail at regular intervals for a measly $5 shipped.
This is currently the most welcome sight in my mailbox.
There are two types of boxes. The Nibble Box, which pulls from the full menu; or the Light Box, which focuses on snacks between 50 and 150 calories. I'm currently getting a Nubble Box weekly — well, weekly-ish.
Once the contents of the box are opened and eaten, I can head over to the Graze.com website and rate my selections, eliminating items I never want to try again, or loving the bits I'd like more often.
Or I could just do that here.
Super Berry Detox
I cannot, for the life of me, recall if I've ever eaten a dried goji berry before. I would certainly like to eat more. My secret passion for dried fruit, especially berries, is laid bare as I eat this lovely mixture, making sounds that would not be out of place in a 70s porno film. Perfect balance of texture, tartness and sweetness. It lasted maybe five minutes.
More dried fruit? Why yes, thank you. Lime-infused raisins are another thing I must have more of, the unexpected tang bringing dead and withered grapes to a whole new level. The pineapple was lovely, but the green mango was all bunched together and could not be separated by my untalented hands. My mouth worked, but the effect wasn't quite the same. Less a mix, more three things scattered about a plastic tray.
Summer Berry Compote
One of the most intriguing snack categories at Graze.com is dippers. Any snack that offers me a substantial thing to submerge in a more flavorful, less-substantial thing immediately gets my attention. Dipping is normally associate with unhealthy things, like chicken wings and chips. To be able to dip and feel good about it is wonderful. A perfect combination.
Cookies and Cream
In the company of so much fruit, the Cookies and Cream mix is the odd-man out. It's a mixture of white chocolate, hazelnuts, sunflower seeks and tiny little cookies, and it doesn't leave me feeling nearly as energized and refreshed as the other selections. The cookies and white chocolate are lovely, but the nuts and seeds — often used to give mixes like this a baked taste — are simply too distracting.
I am not merely writing about Graze.com to make healthy eaters jealous. I'm also writing about Graze.com because it's an amazing operation that delivers healthy food that will make you feel better for eating it. Even if you've spent the whole day eating fast food crap, popping up one of these tiny plastic containers in the evening can help the day end right.
It's a pity that Graze.com invitations are so limited (new members only get one), but until the team of seven folks that founded the company can get distribution centers up and running across the country it's probably for the best. As of this writing I am at least a box behind, with boxes taking approximately a week and a half from the moment they ship to arrival at my door.
You might not be able to score a Graze.com membership, but there is good news — you don't have to have pre-made boxes shipped to your house in order to eat healthy. In fact, I hear going to your local farmers' market and picking up individual ingredients is good for you as well. Something about exercise.
Update: Our UK readers have informed me that in their neck of the woods, Graze.co.uk is open to all. Lucky bastards.