Tasty Tuesday: It’s A Miracle, Van’s Gluten Free Snacks Are Not Taste Free

Van's Cluster Granola

Tasty Tuesday

by Dan Nessel

It’s back!  It’s been way too long, but we are excited to say that Tasty Tuesday has made a triumphant return.  Simply put, Tasty Tuesday is the day when we talk about some of the yummy stuff we have been digging at Dad Does.  Amazingly, Tasty Tuesday always falls on a Tuesday…good thing we didn’t call it Tasty Thursday, that would have been awkward.

It Started With Gluten Free Snack Bars That Didn’t Taste…Gluten Free

Gluten-Free, or GF, diets have become increasingly popular. Some people suffer from celiac disease and have been advised by doctors to adopt a GF diet. Others, like myself, have adopted the diet because it makes them feel better. Yes, I’ve been scoffed at by some for adopting a fad diet, but, keeping the details of why I’m GF for another day, suffice it to say my migraines have subsided, tingling sensations in my arms and hands have disappeared and those brain fog episodes I blamed on my age are gone.

Migraines gone – that is great.  Taste gone as I ate cardboard like gluten free snacks….not so great.  When we travel, I’ve traditionally carried “Mom’s gluten free snacks” and everyone else’s snacks. On those days when we will be on the road and eating at odd times, I like to keep granola bars, nuts, dried fruits in my bag for “hunger fatigue” (experienced by myself, my kids and my husband!). It used to be that my GF granola bars were always the last ones left. When offering up a GF snack, the reply would be “got anything else?”…. while I’ve grown accustomed to the different texture of gluten substitutes, my children haven’t quite gotten there.

This all changed, however, when we discovered Van’s Cranberry Almond Chewy Baked Whole Grain Snack Bars. My kids prefer these over non-GF bars, so much so that I now can carry just these bars and everyone’s happy.

Van's Snack Bars

The problem with snack bars, however, it is that sometimes one bar doesn’t quite fill you up, and on the flip side, sometimes you don’t need a whole bar, just a bite. While we’ve worked with splitting bars, inevitably, I’ll end up saving a bar that someone hasn’t finished, only to have it crumble to the bottom of my bag and be of no use when it’s needed again.

Sweet, Soft, Tasty Granola Clusters…That Are Gluten Free???

When you go Gluten Free, you tend to lower your expectations.  Van’s had given me tasty, chewy GF snack bars – wouldn’t it be a little excessive to also ask for a tasty, chewy, bite sized snack?   Apparently Van’s has higher expectations than me because they went and did it…

Van's Cluster Granola

I was so happy to see that Van’s now makes Soft Baked Cranberry Almond Clusters Granola, and Blueberry Walnut Clusters Granola.

The clusters in the bag that was shipped ended up not being individual clusters, but rather comprised a big block, but I liked that: I could tear off as big or as small of a bite needed. Then reseal the bag. The clusters are moist, and great on their own or in yogurt. I haven’t tried them in frozen yogurt yet, but I can imagine with honey and a bit of chocolate syrup, these clusters will make a great dessert. For dessert the other night, I formed these clusters into homemade cookie shapes and passed them off as gluten-free oatmeal chewy cookies (you cannot pass snack bars off like that).

The Cranberry Almond clusters have a distinct hint of cinnamon, which I love, the Blueberry Walnut has a hint of vanilla that makes it compliment vanilla yogurt quite nicely. Given the choice, however, I prefer the clusters on their own. So do my kids. Next time we are touring a city, on the trails or even in the TV room watching a movie, the bag of Van’s clusters will be with us. One draw-back: for the summer camps that require nut-free lunches, I’d like a nut-free cluster option available.

Look, you see what Van’s has done to me?  I used to be happy to just eat a Gluten Free food that didn’t taste like cardboard.  Then their snack bars showed GF could be tasty.  The Granola Clusters has me loving on the go granola snacking again.  Now I want it nut free as well.  Van’s certainly has raised expectations when it comes to what is possible with Gluten Free food.

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Note: We were sent samples to review.  No other compensation was received.

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