“ Brand: Kellogg's / Type: Cereal Bar „
Right, after a week of severe over-indulgence in France, I am firmly back on the healthy eating bandwagon. Recent history would suggest that this re-found motivation won't last for too long, so I'm taking the opportunity to review a few of my 'diet-friendly' products before the lure of proper chocolate proves too much to resist and I slip back into my usual bad habits.
One of my biggest diet downfalls is the desire to snack - this is particularly bad on the days I'm at home with my two year old, as I either snack when he does or pick at his leftovers. Because of this, I like to have a supply of relatively healthy snacks in the house - I enjoy fruit but there are times when eating a handful of strawberries or a banana, just doesn't fix the chocolate cravings. One of the best types of snacks for me is a cereal bar, preferably one containing just enough chocolate to make me feel like I'm treating myself, without having too many calories so that it sabotages my diet.
I have always enjoyed the classic Special K chocolate chip bars so when I discovered Special K Bliss in the supermarket, I thought it was worth giving it a try. The Special K Bliss bars come in three flavours - Orange and Chocolate; Raspberry and Chocolate and Mint. However, I haven't seen the Mint bars in store yet - I think they have only just been released. As a lover of chocolate orange flavoured things, I decided to buy the Orange and Chocolate flavour.
According to the box, the Special K Bliss bar is "a gorgeous combination of light and crispy cereal pieces and generous helpings of tangy fruit pieces, on a heavenly bed of fine continental dark chocolate'. To make it even more enticing, each bar contains less than 90 calories, suggesting this is a little bit of indulgence that you can enjoy even when you are on a diet. To be honest, this sounded a little bit too good to be true as far as I'm concerned - ok, so it contains chocolate which has GOT to be a good thing, but things with that few calories don't tend to satisfy my urges for an indulgent treat.
Each 22g bar comes in an individual wrapper, with a photograph of the cereal bar, the Kellogg's Special K logo, the 'less than 90 calories per bar' message and the ingredients / nutritional information on the back. The packaging keeps the bars fresh and makes them easy to stash in your bag for those moments when the urge to snack strikes. On opening the packet, there is a scent of orangey chocolate which I found very appealing. Visually, the bar is not as attractive as the photo on the box - but you can see the different types of cereals, fruit chunks and the thin layer of chocolate at the base very clearly.
On biting into the bar, the main tastes are of an fairly intense orange flavour, the crunchy, slightly sticky cereal texture and finally a hint of dark chocolate - it is the cereal and the orange which provide the major taste sensations. You can taste the chocolate though - it's just not that strong and, as it's only a very thin strip at the base of the bar, it certainly doesn't overpower the other flavours. I find the overall texture of the bar a bit stickier than I would have expected, this isn't necessarily a negative thing, it's just that the classic chocolate chip version of the Special K bar tends to be crunchier and less sticky. Looking at the ingredients list, this is probably down to the honey which is used in the product.
The nutritional information for this product is as follows (all for 22g bar) - Calories - 88; Protein - 0.9g; Sugar - 8g; Fat - 2g (of which 1g is saturated fat); Fibre - 0.9g; Salt - 0.1g. My only reservation about this is that the sugar content is very high - 8g of sugar in a 22g bar is more than a third. Yes, the bar is low in calories and saturated fat so is technically diet friendly, but I'd be worried about the sugar content if I was eating too many of them. On the other hand, it's still got far less sugar than the things I usually snack on, so I'm not going to worry about it too much.
A box of six bars costs £2.39 and you can also buy the bars individually.
Overall, I really enjoy these bars although I'm not going to give them five stars because essentially, I wouldn't choose to buy them if I wasn't on a diet. In my opinion, they are a good thing to have with a mid-afternoon cup of tea while my toddler is pretending to nap, especially as I can stop at one of these bars whereas I appear to be incapable of stopping at just one biscuit. They are portable too, which means I can take them to work for those moments when it just seems far too long until lunchtime. I don't think they are as blissful and indulgent as the advertising suggests though - to be honest, if I'm going for pure indulgence a bar of Galaxy would win every single time, but for dieters, these are definitely a good alternative.
I've always enjoyed eating the special K breakfast cereal and have done so for many years now so I'm always interested to give the other Kelloggs Special K products a try when they are brought out. Some of them don't always work - for example Special K Sustain was in my opinion horrible - but on the whole they do seem to produce some pretty good healthy and tasty foods. The latest I have come across is the Special K Bliss orange and chocolate bar which from it's very name sounds very tempting!
I do think names sometimes will always fail to live up to their promise though. I have to say that my idea of Bliss goes much more along the lines of romntic beaches and warm sunshine. However, if your idea of bliss is going to be a tasty low fat cereal bar then you will not be disappointed! Having said that though, although it is not exactly blissful this is a pretty good bar to have for a tasty snack.
On the packaging there are a number of things to tempt you. Firstly there is the fact that this bar contains orange and chocolate which is always a lovely combination and there is a picture of a very packed bar to show what you will be getting. I was also very excited to note that each bar contains less than ninety calories which is really good if you are counting calories. This is headlined in big bold numbers along with this short and sweet sentence - A little indulgence you can enjoy! However, if you look closer at the other nutritional values you will see that sugars contained in the bar come in at a hefty eight grams which is 9% of an adult's guideline daily amounts. Fat is not too bad at two grams and saturates are one gram - neither of which are too much to worry about!
Each bar is individually wrapped for freshness and when you open it out, the bar itself looks quite unusual. There is a thin layer of chocolate at the bottom which is absolutely laden with crispy pieces of cereal and tangy pieces of orange. It does look very tempting indeed. The other thing to say about opening the wrapper is that you are immediately met with a gorgeous orangey smell which lingers for quite a while.
Now what does this bar taste like I hear you ask. Well, it's not a bar that you can eat too quickly as it is both crunchy and chewy. The taste of the lovely dark chocolate mixes well with the taste of oranges and the more subtle pieces of cereal. You seem to get different mixes of tastes as you are crunching your way through the bar, and like the smell, this also lingers for a while. It also feels quite satisfying so having one of these bars does very well for a mid morning or afternoon snack. It's really very tasty!
Now, unfortunately, these bars do cost a little bit more than some other bars, as a packet of six 22 gram bars will normally cost £1.78 in Sainsburys. However at the moment they have 25% off and are selling for£1.33 per packet so I think I will be stocking up on a few!
Overall then these bars are very tasty and also a bit unusual. You have that little bit of indulgence with the dark chocolate but also the satisfaction of knowing that you are not piling on the calories when you eat them. I would definitely recommend them as a light tasty snack!