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Mrs. May's Black Sesame Crunch
Black sesame is crunchy and delicious; also dramatic and stunning in a candy bowl Photography by Claire Freierman.

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about the author

 

KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE.

 

 

May 2008

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Snacks

Mrs. May’s Naturals

Crunchy, Yummy, Healthier Snacks

 

CAPSULE REPORT: There can never be enough better-for-you snack foods. If you haven’t yet discovered Mrs. May’s crunchy, bite-sized roasted nut and seed cubes and bars, some with dried fruit, you’re in for a treat. They possess a subtle balance of sweet and salty. The products are all natural, certified kosher and GMO-free.

Some people inherit a family business; others inherit an idea. Augustine Kim grew up eating his grandmother’s nut snacks, which were popular throughout the neighborhood. This family recipe inspired a business idea: to make natural, wholesome treats that appealed to the American desire for crunchy snacks, as an alternative to processed and high-sugar options. Kim founded Mrs. May’s in Southern California—a hotbed of healthy snacking—in 2002.

And it worked: Starting with just four flavors, there are now 15 varieties of Mrs. May’s, all practically irresistible, plus bars and a line of fruit chips (which we’ll review separately). Mrs. May’s is sold not just throughout the United States and Canada, but in Australia, Japan, Korea and the United Kingdom.

The crunchy delights are cholesterol free, dairy free, wheat free, gluten free, preservative free, trans fat free, vegan, non-GMO and contain no artificial colors or flavors. And if that’s not enough, they taste great. The slow-roasted, heart-healthy nut and toasted sesame seed blends (some have natural dried fruit pieces, too) are lightly sweetened with organic evaporated cane juice and rice malt, then counterbalanced with a bit of sea salt. They are a primo snack and a clever ingredient as well: Toss a few like sweet croutons onto fruit salads, oatmeal, yogurt, rice pudding, tapioca and similar desserts.

It seems that every product these days touts its health benefits—just think about all that “antioxidant dark chocolate” (but don’t think too long—until you read hard scientific studies to the contrary, consider that the antioxidants may sit around and watch while the fat and sugar content of chocolate take their toll). Mrs. May’s is somewhat more low key, pointing out that the ingredients in its sweet snacks are good for you. Sure, nuts have fats, but their nuts have largely unsaturated, heart-healthy fats.

Nuts are a heart-healthy food. In 2003, the FDA approved the following claim for seven different types of nuts:* “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 oz per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Mrs. May's White Sesame Crunch
White Sesame Crunch.

*The “approved” nuts are almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts, as these nuts contain less than 4g of saturated fats per 50g. However, you can have other types of nuts as well—the key is to limit your intake to one to two ounces of unsalted nuts per day. In addition to nuts, seeds such as flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds may offer the same heart health benefits. Note that walnuts and flax seeds have a significantly higher amount of alpha linolenic acid as compared to other nuts and seeds. This is a type of plant-derived omega 3 fatty acid, similar to that found in salmon, which many studies show lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) levels.

Below, we’ve provided nutritional information from the Mrs. May’s bags, but check the amounts based on how much you’re consuming to see how they fit in with your daily requirements. And consult with your healthcare provider to validate the manufacturer’s health claims.

Classic Crunches

“At Mrs. May’s, we are mostly nuts,” proclaims the company. The company began with Grandma’s nut crunches, and has done a splendid job of developing the line. In terms of favorites: When we are in front of all of the flavors at trade shows, we can’t resist tasting all of them—two or three times. Let’s start with the classic crunches: nuts and sesame seeds.

Almond Crunch. This flavor is pure almond, no sesame seed. Almonds have 90% unsaturated fat, which helps to lower bad cholesterol. They’re loaded with protein, calcium, fiber, magnesium, potassium and vitamin E.

Coconut Almond Crunch. For coconut lovers, a subtle coconut flavor is added with coconut paste.

Cashew Crunch. Dry roasted cashews, along with toasted sesame seeds, make this snack a good source of iron (essential for red blood cell function and enzyme activity), magnesium (promotes energy release and bone growth), phosphorus (builds bones and teeth), selenium (has important antioxidant properties) and zinc (essential to digestion and metabolism, strong immune system and a prostate protector).

Mrs. May's Cashew Crunch
Cashew Crunch. Mrs. May’s snacks reflect the Asian balance of yin and yang: here, the natural balance of flavor and healthy nutrition.

Pecan Crunch. Pecans and sesame seeds are a tasty combination. Pecans are an important source of ellagic acid, an antioxidant that may slow the growth of some carcinogens. Pecans are a good source of vitamin E and also have anti-cancer effects. They can also lead to lower cholesterol levels.

Walnut Crunch. Walnuts are a nutritionist’s darling: If you’re going to eat nuts, eat walnuts. It you read the footnote above, you know that they have a significantly higher amount of alpha linolenic acid than other nuts. Alpha linoleic acid is a plant-derived omega 3 fatty acid found in large amounts in olive oil, and similar to the omega 3 fatty acid found in salmon, which many studies show lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) levels.

Seed Crunches

For people who don’t want nuts, here is the seed group:

Black Sesame Crunch. This exotic cube, blended with almond pieces, has a solid sesame flavor (black sesame seeds are more flavorful than white sesame seeds). High in protein, plus calcium, fiber, iron, magnesium, phytic acid and zinc. According to Mrs. May’s, this formulation is an aid to digestion, stimulating blood circulation and benefiting the nervous system. (Photo at top of page.)

Pumpkin Crunch. Pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds make a lovely-looking and heavenly-tasting snack. Pumpkin seeds are a source of monounsaturated fat. Together, this snack contains beta-carotene, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, protein, vitamin C and zinc. It also has high amounts of Omega 3 essential fatty acids, which help reduce the risk of heart disease, serve as a natural anti-inflammatory, assist in lowering bad cholesterol and aid in prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

Mrs. May's Pumpkin Crunch
Pumpkin Crunch: another cube that is as lovely to look at as it is delectable to eat.

White Sesame Crunch. Sesame seeds and pine nuts. High in protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium and phytic acid. Low in carbohydrates. Aids digestion, stimulates blood circulation and benefits the nervous system.

Sunflower Crunch. This snack of dry roasted sunflower seeds, enhanced by toasted sesame seeds, contains both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, both of which have all been shown to lower LDL cholesterol. It’s high in calcium, magnesium, fiber and Omega 3s, and is a good source of zinc.

Fruit & Nut Crunches

For a bit more sweetness, add some dried fruit to your nut and seed crunch:

Cran Blueberry Crunch. Almonds, blueberries, cashews, cranberries, pistachios, sesame seeds—all the nut and seed benefits previously described and some antioxidants from the cranberries and blueberries. (Plus, cranberries assist in the health of the urinary tract.)

Cran Tropical Crunch. Almonds, cashews, cranberries, pistachios, sesame seeds and tropical fruits.

Strawberry Pineapple Crunch. Almonds, cashews, pineapples, pistachios, sesame seeds and strawberries.

 

Mrs. May's Strawberry Pineapple Crunch
Strawberry Pineapple Crunch.

Trio Bars

If you prefer to snack on bars rather than on mini bites, Mrs. May’s is happy to oblige.

The newest in the series, the Trio Bar converts the fruit and nut crunches into “energy bar” format. There are four initial flavors.

Blueberry Trio Bar. Blueberries with almonds, cashew, pistachios, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.

Cranberry Trio Bar. Cranberries with almonds, cashews, pistachios, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.

Strawberry Trio Bar. Strawberries with almonds, cashews, pistachios, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.

Tropical Trio Bar. Tropical fruits (mango, papaya and pineapple) with almonds, cashews and pistachios.

Trio Cranberry Bar
Trio Bars: The same good stuff in bar form.

Trio Tropical Bar
Tropical Trio Bar with mango, papaya and pineapple.

A Social Mission

A portion of all Mrs. May’s sales is donated to Wheels for the World, a nonprofit program that collects, restores and distributes wheelchairs to disabled people around the world. Mrs. May’s also supports the Celiac Sprue Association, dedicated to helping individuals with celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis worldwide through education, research and support.

Two more reasons to feel good about snacking!

MRS. MAY’s NATURALS

Roasted Fruit & Nut Snacks In 15 Flavors (Not All Reviewed Here)
Trio Bars In 5 Flavors

Certified kosher by KSA

  • Snacks
    2 oz bag ($1.29 to $1.69)
    5.5 oz bag ($3.59 to $3.79)
    28 oz bag ($11.38)
    Not all sizes are available for all flavors
  • 10% Off On Cases
    (24 2-Ounce Packs or
    12 5.5-Ounce Packs)
  • Trio Bars
    1.2 Ounces
    $.99

Purchase online* at MrsMays.com

Available at Costco, Sam’s, Target, Wal-Mart and other retailers nationwide.

Mrs. May's Naturals

*Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional. These items are offered by a third party and THE NIBBLE has no relationship with them. This link to purchase is provided as a reader convenience.

 

© Copyright 2005-2014 Lifestyle Direct Direct, Inc.  All rights reserved.  Images are the copyright of their respective owners.




 



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