Grains or oats are the new hotcakes. The idiom “selling like hotcakes” ought to be updated to “selling like grains” because that’s exactly what’s going on around us. Of course we couldn’t imagine people fighting over a sack of wheat but they would over the last bag of Nova. The grains phenomenon has affected almost everything—from crackers to drinks to cosmetics. Maybe we should rename this website as Fiber.com, might get more hits.
Sun Chips pioneered the grain-chip selection and has since then grown into a dieter’s indulgence. It contains less Sodium and Saturated fat than Doritos and packs in more fiber. Keep the serving to about 15 chips and you’re back on the road to fitness. Sun Chips is the saturated fat winner in this category—with only one gram per serving—should be enough reason to make us reach for the grain. Now that’s what we call keeping a sunny disposition.
What’s with naming these chips after meteorological terms? Science aside, what’s so cosmic about Nova is that it tastes nearly as great as Sun Chips and has a slightly thicker texture—for those who prefer a massive crunch. The individual pack has the acceptable caloric content, plus fiber! The other flavors may taste fuzzy but the cheese variant is enough to gratify any junkie craving sans the guilt.
3. Oheya! (Oishi)
Oheya! has only one draw to us buyers—its name, which I had to murmur about a million times before I got it right. With150 calories, 255 mg sodium and <1 fiber—we’re better off snacking on the big, bad tortillas! Too salty and zero on the flavor, people think it’s the cheaper version of Nova or Sun Chips, but in reality a bag only contain 20 measly grams. Do I hear rip off? Oheya’s attempt to dethrone local favorite Nova is just as close as me waking up with snow on our porch. That's just great because we don’t even have porches in the sunny Philippines!
4. Skyflakes (Monde)
Skyflakes is the ultimate Filipino staple, from office drawers, sari-sari stores to high school uniform pockets. We’ve forever held this notion that saltine crackers = diet food, but looking through the stats dictates that we may even be better off with a real sandwich! The Oat variants (Oat Fiber and with Flaxseed) may add to the anorexic appeal, but are nothing spectacular save for their grainy texture. With more that 100 calories and saturated fat enough to fuel 10% of our day, (that’s for 3 crackers) this leaves us reaching for another pack to give us enough energy to even stand.
With vegetable shortening being the 2nd or 3rd most used ingredient for such a thin slab, we’ll know what to blame once our thighs start to bulge after eating 10 crackers too many.
5. Nature Valley (General Mills)
The Valley must be brimming with syrup because each bite of this bar attacks us with a bad case of dental caries. Calorie-wise though, this energy booster can revive the famished. However, going for a daily dose of the crunchy variety (Cinnamon, Oats ‘n Honey and Peanut Butter) would give your teeth enough stress you’d be saying: An Apple (Cinnamon) a day never keeps the dentist at bay.
As a consolation, you might think, “Why don’t we give our teeth a break and go for the Chewy Trail Mix instead?” Sorry to burst your bubble because if there’s anything that would invite the dentist to your doorstep, it would be this bar’s 14g of syrupy sweetness. With the 2nd ingredient listed as high maltose corn syrup, we’re sure to get a sugar high with every loaded bite.
6. Nesvita (Nestle)
The breakfast you can drink is bustling with heaps of nutritional essentials. Need a morning pick me up? Need a fiber lift? Need a vitamin boost? Nesvita’s got that all covered.
Do you need a monotony of flavors as well? Why, Nesvita’s the perfect choice! Taste one and you feel like you’ve tasted them all.
Nestle’s packaging is so craftily designed it brings our attention to highlighted areas such as Fiber and Calcium and veers us away from the nasty ingredients section.
With 11g of sugar (Original), this officially makes Nesvita the “SUGAR you can drink”. The Chocolate variant tries to ease on the bad stuff by adding only 7.9g sugar and more fiber.
What’s so preposterous about Nesvita’s nutritional label is that the table looks all cheery and tummy friendly but fails to distinguish among the fat groups(there are 3 kinds but it only lists FAT in general) and omits Sodium, which is a vital part of my graph. So start your day right, with a sugar rush and a deviant manufacturing food label—both courtesy of Nesvita.
7. Quaker Oats Chewy Granola Bar (Pepsico)
With luscious flavors like chocolate chip and peanut butter, it’s so hard to resist a bar. Put in 100 calories per portion,and you probably can’t wait to take a bite out of it—but wait up, care to bring along the 7g sugar baggage as well? Sound the alarm because this baby’s got a tad more sugar than necessary.
Still can’t resist its chewy goodness? Re-christen the bar as dessert, and go around swearing by this new fact: This is the healthiest dessert ever! Ah yes, what people would do for the love of all things sweet. Count me in.
8. Nova Granola Bar (URC)
The Chips may be fab but we’d pass on the Bar. Imagine calling yourself a “Multigrain Snack Bar” with Glucose Syrup as the 1st ingredient, and on the 4th we find the synonymous sugar. Too much sweet going on for such a little fella. Why not go for the real Nova instead with fewer calories and half the sugar content?
Oh wait, I forgot to mention: Worst tasting granola bar. Ever.
9. Pringles Multigrain - Creamy Ranch (P&G)
Pringles is navigationally off course, trying to pass off its Multigrain series as an equal oat alternative. We all should have learned by now that not all oats are created equal and Pringles falls on the least fiber-filled sphere. With Rice Flour as its main component and hints of potato flour wedged in between, it’s just like snacking on the average Pringles—with the same amount of Fiber and nutrients. It’s still got the crisp crazy goodness of Pringles, so it’s all right to indulge—so long as you’re not on a strict, anti-potato diet.
Even with only a handful of products under this category, the honor and horror roll system cannot be ignored. Time to mete out the best and worst among the Oats/Grains Snacks:
In the Pantry
1. Sun Chips Original (Frito Lay)
With 140 calories, 3g fiber and only 1g saturated fat, Sun Chips is the reason why the Grain Chips category was born.The sun is definitely shining on this snack because munching on these crunchy and zesty thins can certainly make your day.
2. Nova – Cheese (URC)
While Nova ain’t exactly Sun Chips, it does manage to pack fewer calories and sodium and still serve a lip-smacking, crunchy chip. It makes the ideal single-serve snack and goes well with salsa too!
3. Nesvita – Chocolate (Nestle)
Chocolate-flavored Nesvita makes the perfect breakfast or snack to those who need the fiber and energy boost. It’s a malt-filled drink with 109 calories and 11g fiber—enough to rival the terribly sweet granola bars. Take it hot or cold, who couldn’t resist this nourishing, mildly sweet and flexible snack?
Down the Drain
1. Nature Valley Oat ‘n Honey (General Mills)
Nature Valley takes the word “Crunchy” so seriously, it does a better job at pulling off my teeth than my dentist. Add the ludicrously high sugar content of 12g, and watch your dentist ban you from his office for life.
2. Nova Granola Bar – Caramel Peanut Crunch (URC)
With nothing spectacular to boast about its nutritional content, there is no way Nova can EVER justify this horribly sweet slab disguised as a heavenly granola bar. I had to stomach 99 calories of pure torture just to write this down. Brand extension has never been this ridiculous.
3. Oheya! – Cheese (Oishi)
Trying to sound cool has been the only purpose of Oheya’s inception because if there’s anything to describe its nutritional content, well, it’s way uncool! Like Nova Granola Bar, I would rather waste the calories on something more sinfully delicious and filling at the very least.