Finding nutritious ready-made snacks that aren’t high in sugar (natural or refined) or with additives can often be a challenge. The online plant-based delivery service Soulara is well known for their plant-based meals, but they also offer a few snack options.
This includes these Salted Caramel Dreams – a.k.a maca powder and cashew nut balls.
Were the Salted Caramel Dreams nutritious?
Soulara’s Salted Caramel Dreams snack includes 4 balls that only contain Maca Powder, Cashews, Coconut, Agave Nectar, Vanilla Extract, Cashew Butter and Sea Salt. Much fewer ingredients than you’ll find in the average commercial snack.
Maca powder is a trending “superfood” due to its high antioxidant content and links with increased energy and positive effects on hormone health. It also contains protein, fibre, vitamin C and trace minerals like iron and copper. Maca is actually a root plant that’s closely related to radishes. It has an earthy, nutty taste which often people liken to a butterscotch flavour – hence the name of this snack.
Cashews are a great source of monounsaturated fats. As opposed to many other fats, cashews have low levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids which is often associated with inflammation. This means they can help keep your omega-3 and omega-6 ratios in balance.
Cashews are often used in vegan dishes as they offer a creamy consistency that’s likened to dairy, particularly after they’ve been soaked in water. They also contain protein and other micronutrients, but keep in mind cashews are rich in calories which is largely why these balls are 168 calories each.
Agave nectar is the chosen sweetener in Soulara’s Salted Caramel Dreams most likely because it fits in with their aim to delivery low GI meals. Low glycemic index foods don’t have as big an impact on our blood sugar levels as higher foods like sugar does.
However, there are a few things to consider with several of these reasons why this is not my chosen sweetener. Firstly, agave is naturally high in calories containing concentrated fructose and doesn’t contain any beneficial nutrients. It’s also heavily processed. I personally prefer to opt for honey, dates, coconut sugar or maple syrup in small quantities. While they are still a form of “sugar”, they do contain nutrients such as fibre, magnesium, manganese, copper and antioxidants.
From a macronutrient perspective, these contain very little protein at 3g per 30g ball and 9g of carbohydrates but are higher in fat 13g. With the fat content, these balls should offer enough energy to keep you going when you do experience that energy dip.
How convenient is the Soulara range?
To have some nutritionally balanced snacks on hand so you don’t grab a calorie-dense muffin in your coffee break is incredibly convenient.
By including snack options along with the main meals, Soulara is trying to make your life easier, especially if you’re time-poor. Simply add these to your meal plan, place your order and they will be delivered to your door.
Keep in mind, Soulara is a subscription model. This means you need to sign up and choose from a number of meals with the minimum being 7. Every week you’ll receive meals unless you choose to pause or cancel your subscription. You can do this at any time with no extra cost.
How was the taste of Soulara The Holy Kale Taste?
As expected from the list of ingredients, these Salted Caramel Dreams do have a nutty, creamy taste. There is a subtle hint of caramel and salt coming through but overall they are pretty bland in flavour.
The addition of cashews, cashew nut butter and coconut does give it a fatty taste, but remember this means that they’re not as high in sugar which is a bonus. Many commercially made raw balls tend to be loaded with sugar and extra sweet, even though it may be from a natural source.
One good thing about these is that while the package says to eat them cold, they do remain firm for several hours meaning you could save them for your after lunch work treat.
Overall, not a snack I would consider ordering again. At $11.50 for 4 balls, it would be just as easy to whip these up at home and pack a bit more flavour in.
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