In response to my readers' desperate cries for healthy things to eat while playing video games, three weeks ago I reviewed the offerings of Graze.com, a UK-based natural food delivery service that's slowly moving into U.S. territory with their tiny boxes of natural foods. Well that was it. Now I'm on the radar of every healthy snack provider in the world, and Snacktaku will be about healthy things from here on out, starting with NatureBox, a healthy snack delivery service with much bigger boxes.
Oh you know I can't give up the horrible things — not for long, at least. It's just there is no service that will send me four different pizzas or burgers every month (if I am wrong about this, contact me immediately), and I am enjoying the novelty.
Shortly after my Graze.com review I was contacted by Amanda Natividad of NatureBox, who offered a very compelling reasons to give her product a try. Unlike Graze.com, which is currently limited to one referral code per member in the U.S., anyone can join up with NatureBox right now, scoring a selection of five different snacks (totaling 15-20 servings) per month for just $19.95.
So yeah, this is a service you can actually join. And look at the monster box they send.
That is a box filled with nature right there, no two ways about it.
What's the difference between NatureBox and Graze.com? Well, NatureBox gives you a whole bunch of healthy snacking goodness all at once. You've got 15-20 servings of whatever varieties they're sending out that month, tailored to your dietary concerns and ready to be tossed into the car for a road trip with the kids. Graze.com sends a small box with four single-serving items every week or two, nice for a single person, not-so-nice if you want to share. The benefit of Graze.com is the variety, along with the fact that, should you not enjoy one of the snacks sent, you don't have another two or three servings sitting around in a bag, making you feel bad about it.
It's a matter of frequency. Well, that and the ability to just sign up and go, which you can do with NatureBox, should you dare.
Amanda graciously arranged for a box of snacks to be sent my way. Taking into account my general dislike of almonds, she picked five of her favorite NatureBox selections, packed them in the eponymous box, and then spent a couple of weeks no-doubt wondering if I'd ever get around to reviewing them.
And here we are. Let's do this.
Zesta Fiesta Mix
NatureBox doesn't screw around with zesty. When they call something Zesta Fiesta Mix, it's going to zest all over your mouth. This particular vehicle of zest purveyance contains corn sticks, jalapeno peanuts, garlic peanuts, chili lemon peanuts and spicy pumpkin seeds, all adding up to an amazing burn that lingers long after eating. It tastes like it should do horrible things to my intestines, and yet it is a kind mix, only hurting me because it loves me.
Well, mostly loves me. The final ingredient in this mix is almonds, which dammit, we talked about almonds, Amanda.
Southern BBQ Sunflower Kernels
I've never been a huge fan of sunflower seeds, but I am not averse to eating large mouthfuls when someone else has peeled the shell away to reveal the meaty kernels. These particular kernels are infused with a Southern BBQ flavor, an appropriately vague name for the hint of smoky tang lurking between bites.
Sunflower kernels aren't the best means of conveying flavor, but they fill the mouth wonderfully, as long as you don't start imagining they are tiny beetles.
I imagined they were tiny beetles. Don't do that.
Blueberry Nom Noms
I am a huge fan of using internet nonsense to name food. Blueberry Nom Noms are a pleasing mass of oats, honey, blueberries, dark chocolate and mystery, arranged into a thick and chewy snack that's much more bitter than I expected. It's almost too mature a taste for a snack named for the onomatopoeia of a hamster munching a carrot.
Whole Wheat Figgy Bars
This is not a Fig Newton. A Fig Newton is a tiny processed square that vaguely hints and the sweetness of real dried dates and cake-ish cookie coating. This is not that. This is a Whole Wheat Figgy Bar, a truly meaty mouthful of wholesome goodness. You remember wholesome, right? They used the adjective in all of those commercials back when we were kids. Well, this is what wholesome tastes like.
The package came with five individually wrapped bars, in an attempt to keep me from eating them all in one sitting. Foolish plastic wrapping.
I have never sat down with a bag of pistachios with the intent of opening them and eating them — it always seemed like far too much work. That, and there was an incident with pistachios back when I was a child that I'd rather not get into. Suffice it to say, I was not pleased when one of the NatureBox selections was Peppery Pistachios, but I soldiered on.
WHY HAVE I NOT BEEN EATING PISTACHIOS? I blame all of you.
These are amazing little snacks. Crusted with salt and pepper while still in their shells, bursting with flavor in every bite — such a pleasant sting. And what a wonderful means of trasport! After the explosion of peppery goodness is gone, the empty shells can be suckled to savor its memory. Plus, having to shell my own damn nuts means I don't eat them all at once. Are all pistachios so good? Have I wasted my life? Probably, yes.
All-in-all, NatureBox did a fine job of delivering healthy snacks to my door. The selection was nice and varied. There were some old favorites, some new surprises. I'd like to think I learned something about myself , as well as Amanda's ability to ferret out almonds.
The only downside is that opening one of these boxes starts a timer that expires in one month, and when you've devoured all of the seeds, nuts, figs, shells and nom noms, there's nothing more coming for another (checks watch) month.
If you have the self-control to dole out the natural goodness over time, then by all means, get yourself up inside that NatureBox. If you're me, feel mildly ashamed of yourself, and then buy yourself something pretty because you deserve it, sexy.