Sometimes, it can be hard to get all the vitamins and minerals you need, especially if you have a busy schedule. That's why easy-to-eat, portable snacks with added nutrition have become popular in fast-paced Japan.
Food company Asahi have released a range of nutritionally-balanced snacks, which take the form of healthy cookie sandwiches fortified with 10 kinds of vitamins and minerals, including calcium and iron. They're also packed full of fiber, meaning they'll provide ongoing energy without spiking your blood sugar too much.
Balance Up Cream Brown Rice Bran is the full name of the product, and as the name suggests, healthy brown rice and bran are used along with white flour to provide a healthier snack with slow-releasing carbohydrates.
Each pack comes with two individually-wrapped packets containing two cookie sandwiches. Each packet of two contains (based on the Blueberry flavor) 176 calories, 2.2 grams of protein, 9.5 grams of fat and 19 grams of carbohydrate, as well as 3.0 grams of fiber. Additionally, they contain 238 mg of calcium and 2.5 mg of iron, as well as a host of vitamins including A, B, D and E.
The snacks come in a wide variety of flavors including Cacao, Cream Cheese, Granola & Asai, Strawberry Cheese Tart, Maple and Nuts, Black Sesame Kinako (roasted soybean flour), Granola & Lemon, and Blueberry.
We taste-tested the Granola & Lemon and Blueberry flavors!
The Blueberry flavor has a very mild scent, and a mild, pleasant taste. We were pleased to discover that the snack isn't overly sweet at all. The balance of sweetness and saltiness is just right. The blueberry cream inside tastes a lot like blueberry yogurt, and the tiny blueberry pieces are nice and chewy. The biscuit itself is very crunchy indeed, which the packet attributes to the fact that 25% of the total volume consists of bran. The snack was also very filling, so we decided to save the second packet for later!
Granola and Lemon
The Granola & Lemon flavor has a very strong, pleasant citrusy scent, while the lemon cream is mild and, again, not too sweet. The biscuit is perhaps a little less crunchy than the blueberry flavor, however it also includes pieces of lemon peel, cranberry and papaya, as well as apples and raisins, meaning that it has a much fruitier, chewier feel to it.
One of the best things about these snacks is the fact that you know you're doing your body some good while eating them. With a third of your recommended daily intake of fiber, combined with all those vitamins and minerals, it's a guilt-free snack that also tastes delicious, too. Be sure to pick some up to keep your strength up while sightseeing in Japan!