October 4, 2007

Better Brownie

One thing I absolutely love about keeping up with food trends and what's hitting supermarket shelves is that it provides me with the perfect excuse to taste-test. Many times -- as is the case with most energy drinks (or as I lovingly refer to them, "carbonated cough syrup") -- one miniscule sample is enough to make my insides churn.

However, there are those great moments when you bite into something expecting the worst and end up thinking, "Wow, this is actually pretty good!" (after finishing the entire thing).

Today I unexpectedly discovered a tasty 100 calorie treat -- Glenny's 100 Calorie chocolate brownie (although they also offer blondies and even a peanut butter brownie, which I am sure are rather similar to what I had, this post only discusses the chocolate flavor).

100 calories, 75% organic ingredients (not that this alters its nutrition content, but it is an appreciated touch), 7 grams of fiber, a measly 1.5 grams of saturated fat, no trans fats, and a not-so-bad 11 grams of sugar (approximately one tablespoon, or a quarter can of regular soda).

After reading those claims, I was expecting a dry "brownie-like" sponge with a chalky aftertaste.

Not seeing any sugar alcohol or artificial sweetener in the ingredients list initially put me at ease. When it comes to baked goods, I prefer a small amount of real sugar rather than a mish mash of sweeteners made in a lab which linger on the palate for longer than I'd like.

I was thoroughly impressed with my first bite. A rich chocolatey taste, the texture of a homemade -- and much more fattening -- brownie, and seven grams of fiber to boot.

Yes, of course a piece of fresh fruit is a healthier way to get 100 calories, but there are times when we can't -- or don't want to -- have fresh fruit.

Besides, as I have stated before, I see nothing wrong with enjoying moderately processed food once in a while, especially if it is low in calories, pleasant to the palate, and good enough to satisfy a craving that might otherwise lead to unnecessary indulgence.

See, when it comes to eating healthy, I like to think of dietary patterns as a dart board. There are certain foods that should be in the bullseye and consumed every day (fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes), but there is also space for foods in the outer circles which should not be consumed as often.

Is this item a health food? No.

Should you make this brownie one of your daily high-fiber foods? I don't think so. I certainly wouldn't place it in the center of the dart board, but I also would not place it in the same "junky empty calories" category as a bag of Doritos or a Twinkie.

However, if you get the chocolate munchies at four o'clock but don't want the 280 calories (and 11 grams of saturated fat) in a Twix bar from your office vending machine, or if you're looking to find a less caloric alternative to the huge Starbucks chocolate chip cookie you have with your morning coffee every Friday, I give you the green light to reach for Glenny's 100 calorie brownie and enjoy every bite.

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