One of my family’s go-to brands has been Van’s Natural Foods for as long as my daughters and I have been gluten-free….going on 6 years now. You can check out our review of their waffles and french toast sticks at this link, if you haven’t tried them yet.
We recently tasted some of Van’s new products and wanted to tell you what we love about them…
First: their new cereals. They are really good. Simple as that. We tried both flavors: Cinnamon Heaven and Honey Nut Crunch. They are a little smaller than Chex squares and have a nice, crispy texture that doesn’t soak up milk too fast like other cereals do. Sometimes I expect Cinnamon cereals to be too sugary, but both kinds have just the right amount of flavor— not overpowering yet not too subtle. These cereals are tasty, substantial and give us long-lasting morning energy, which is especially important for kids.
I am guessing some of the reasons for this “staying power” is how much fiber and whole grains are in these cereals. According to their website, Honey Nut Crunch cereal is packed with 19g of nutrient-rich whole grains (Cinnamon Heaven has 17g) and both have 5g of fiber per serving. When it comes to fiber, my family can never seem to get enough, so this is a welcomed addition to our “regimen of regularity.” :) Below is their nutritional information. Both cereals are Non-GMO Project verified and free of top allergens.
Be advised that, despite the name, Honey Nut Crunch does NOT contain nuts. While I doubt anyone with nut allergic kids would buy this on account of confusing their kids, I still wanted to make sure you knew… For more info. on allergens, see their FAQ page.
Now, on to Van’s crackers:
One word, “WOW.”
We took a few boxes of these crackers up to Maine with us last month and enjoyed them on our trip. This photo below was taken a minute before a huge bald eagle flew over our heads and caught a big seagull down by the water! Anyhow, after things calmed down we had a really nice picnic on this rock and enjoyed these crackers with cheese, turkey and pepperoni on them. They held up great and tasted even better.
My opinion: These are by far my favorite crackers to date. If I’m eating crackers, I’m putting cheese & other toppings on them, so I prefer the larger square ones: “The Perfect 10″ and “Fire Roasted Veggie”, the latter of which is probably the most “adult” flavor. Besides the great taste and texture of these crackers (every single kind) I love the fact that they are soy-free. This 42 year old doesn’t need her hormones messed up any more than they already are, so soy-free foods are key. :)
My girls enjoy them topped w/ cheeseball spread (above), dipped in dill dip, or stacked with deli cheese and meat, as a sandwich alternative. But they prefer just snacking on the smaller ones which are more kid-friendly (they are currently the most-requested school snack), especially Van’s “Say Cheese!” crackers. They are the closest thing we’ve found to Cheez-Its, and have a very similar crispiness and cheesy taste, and are also available in snack size bags for your convenience.
As you can tell in the comparison shot below (no, I’m not a hand model, thank you very much) the smaller ones are thinner and crispier than the larger ones, so they both serve their purposes well.
Here is information on Van’s “Say Cheese!” crackers from their website. The other flavors are all dairy free…
If you really want to knock your g-free kid’s socks off, try this new take on chicken fingers, using Van’s “Say Cheese!” crackers as breading. We tried this recipe last week (it’s a winner) but ate it before we remembered to take a picture, so this one is courtesy of Van’s:
If you’ve had bad luck with crackers so far and are starting to think that all gluten-free products still taste and feel like eating cardboard, then you’re in for a real treat! The flavor and texture of all of these crackers is right up there with the best of regular crackers, gluten-free or not. Seriously. Try them. You’ll love them…
If you don’t win the below giveaway, just head to your nearest Walmart, Safeway, or Sprouts store to pick up these products for your g-free kiddo. You can also join the Van’s E-club which keeps you up to date on new products, and makes you eligible for special offers and coupons. And don’t forget to Follow Van’s on Facebook for plenty of kid-friendly, gluten-free meal and snack ideas. This is one company you can count on to keep coming up with great new products!
And now for the giveaway: TWO random winners will each win THREE “FREE PRODUCT” COUPONS (cereals, snack bars or crackers: retail value up to $4.49 each) courtesy of Van’s Natural Foods.
To enter, simply leave a comment below, letting me know which of these Van’s products you think your g-free kid will love the most.
Giveaway ends at midnight on Sunday, October 20, 2013. Then the 2 winners have 24 hours to get back to me, otherwise new names will be chosen. U.S. and Canadian residents may enter. Good luck!
Disclaimer: Van’s sent me free products to try for this giveaway. I only promised an honest review and was not compensated in any other way. Opinions are my daughters’ and my own.
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