Taste Scene

Michael Devlin

Who are the cereal offenders?

Every Lent, when sweets and biscuits are given the annual heave-ho, I am forced to reassess my life-snacking choices. I mean, you can’t just go cold turkey from biscuits and associated snackables and expect to survive a Monday afternoon; there has to be some kind of replacement therapy in place.

You could turn to fruit of course, but then an apple isn’t really going to go too well with a cup of tea. And then there’s the quandary/loophole of your replacement biscuit-type snack actually being a biscuit itself. That sort of behaviour will send you to Hell or at the very least result in a lengthy stretch in purgatory. Anyhoo… these bad boys are some of the snacks I’ve indulged in over the past few weeks. Some are deadly, some are dire and when it comes to maintaining Lent, some are more acceptable than others.

Eat Natural Dark Chocolate
Cranberry And Macadamia Bar
This whole range is great and I’m willing to bet God Himself will allow these during Lent in place of chocolate digestives, as they’re so good for you (or at least have a great many benefits). As the name suggests, there’s no gunk allowed and that means no artificial flavours or colours, or any preservatives. Gluten free too.
Taste: 4/5
Healthiness 4/5
Potential of you ending up in Hell if consumed during Lent: 2/5

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Nature Valley Crunchy Bars Oat And Honey
This crowd should change the name of their bars from ‘Nature Valley’ to ‘The Fuppen Crumbs Get Everywhere.’ High oat content means they’re really good for you (if you ignore the next biggest ingredient being sugar) and if you’re like me and you occasionally dip things into tea, these are practically unbeatable.
Taste: 4/5
Healthiness 4/5
Potential of you ending up in Hell     if consumed during Lent: 1/5

Alpen Strawberry With Yoghurt
Cereal Bar
I was given one of these by a friend and it’ll be the last one I’ll ever eat. Cardboardy and bereft of taste these bars include preservatives and artificial flavourings. If you’re a regular consumer, you’re fooling yourself and your stomach. Not even a dunking in tea can save their artificial crunch. You won’t go to Hell though, these are about indulgent as eating sand.
Taste: 1/5
Healthiness 2/5
Potential of you ending up in Hell if consumed during Lent: 0/5

Kellogg’s Nutrigrain
Blueberry
Probably the best of the Nutrigrain range, this baked cereal snack is tasty enough if you’ve nothing else but in health terms, it’s still packed full of additive madness. Take a look at the ingredient list and see how many real ingredients you can identify. There won’t be many. Still, they’re fortified with six B-vitamins and iron but for me, that’s a token gesture.
Taste: 3/5
Healthiness 2/5
Potential of you ending up in Hell     if consumed during Lent: 2/5

Cadbury Brunch Bar Peanut
The fact that these are part of the Cadbury canon should set alarm bells ringing. They’re super-tasty but in all honesty, that’s part of the problem: These are sweeties. I can imagine God sitting in Heaven and wagging his finger anytime I eat one of these. Purgatory here I come!
Taste: 4/5
Healthiness 3/5
Potential of you ending up in Hell if consumed during Lent: 5/5

Stoats
Blueberry Honey
Porridge Bar
Similar to Nature Valley bars in terms of oat content, these are also high in sugar. The big plus for me is that they don’t explode in crumbs when I unwrap them. Chewy where Nature Valley are crunchy, these are the best tasting of the lot. Scant in additives, bags of flavour and probably eaten by the Big Man on a regular basis, these are win/win.
Taste: 5/5
Healthiness 4/5
Potential of you ending up in Hell     if consumed during Lent: 2/5

Nakd Carrot Cake Bars
Nakd are a sure bet for replacing biscuits and bars if you’re abstaining over Lent… These bars are basically dates, nuts, veggies and natural flavourings squished into bar format. Gluten, wheat and dairy free, they’re a decent substitute but they’re also an acquired taste.
Taste: 3/5
Healthiness 5/5

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