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As the food and nutrition editor of Men’s Health, my inbox is deluged by PR companies promoting the latest and greatest in “healthy” snacks.
Sometimes, if these PR companies are especially wily, they will find my mailing address and ship me their snacks unsolicited.
That sounds amazing, except for one small detail: in the vast majority of cases, these snacks suck.
And, after reading (okay lightly skimming) tens of thousands of these emails and tasting hundreds of these products, I’ve determined that you can classify 90 percent of healthy snacks into two camps. The other 10 percent are the only ones I really want to see in my inbox. We’ll get to those in a moment, but first…
Camp 1: Snacks that try hard to seem good for you, but aren’t.
I won’t name names here, but you probably already know the kinds of snacks I’m talking about.
These snacks desperately try to win your attention by shouting any number of promises from their packaging: “No-GMO!” “Gluten-Free!” “Fat Free!” “Baked, Not Fried!” “Meatless!” “Sugar-free!”
This kind of marketing language makes you wonder: If all this product promises is what isn’t in the snack, then what the heck is actually in the snack?
From my analysis, what’s usually in the snack is a bunch of superfluous extras: fake sugars, so-called “natural” sweeteners that taste awful, and hydrolyzed proteins. (And who doesn’t love a good hydrolyzed protein?)
These snacks aren’t worth your money or stomach space.
CAMP 2: Snacks that are actually good for you, but taste horrible.
Every time I’m presented with a new type of chip that’s not made from a potato, the same thing happens.
Be it a beet, kale, carrot, mango, rutabaga, or previously unknown “super gourd,” I taste it and immediately wonder why I’m not eating a potato chip.
There’s also nothing inherently wrong with potatoes, or even potato chips. But snack companies want you to believe that potato chips aren’t as nutritious (and maybe not even as delicious) as other vegetables.
Even if a kale chip cuts some of the calories and contains a little fiber, who cares if the snack tastes terrible?
These snacks also aren’t worth your money or stomach space.
That leaves us with the final 10 percent of these snacks: the ones that are as good for your body as they are delicious in your mouth.
And that allows me to present to you two such snacks: Epic’s new Beef Salt + Pepper Bar and their new Beef Jalapeño Bar.
Their ingredients list are simple. Their packaging language is minimal—100 percent grass-fed beef, 10-11 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbs (yes “gluten-free” makes an appearance, but the bulk of the sell focuses on what’s inside, not what isn’t).
And that’s it. There’s no oversell. There’s no pleading for you to try it by having to compare it to something else. This is good meat, packaged in a ready-to-eat snack.
If you like your snacks spicy, there’s the jalapeño variety. If you don’t, there’s sea salt and pepper. Both flavors are delicious, satisfying, and carry that sense of, “Dang, I could have another one of these.”
You can credit the fact that ever since Epic started making meat-based bars, they did so using high-quality ingredients. Their beef is 100 percent grass-fed. Their chicken is antibiotic free and fed non-GMO feed.
Because if you start with a premium product, you have to do very little to it. Good food sells itself. Epic’s new beef bars let nature, not marketing, do the work.
In fact, the best thing about Epic Bars is that they’re everything flashy new packaged snacks are not. They are straightforward. They’re simple. They’re no-nonsense.
And for someone like me that deals with a lot of snack-based nonsense, that’s special.
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