Product: Go Picnic Black Bean Dip and Crispy Plantain Chips – $5.99+
Fast food, shmast food.
Being a gluten-free vegetarian means a stop-off at any regional fast food joint is just not an option. I mean, I got sick for 5 days after eating Chik-Fil-A’s supposedly gluten-free waffle fries this past summer. Let me tell you, I have yet to go back.
So, when someone like me – someone who is constantly on the go and on the road – needs something to eat…what then? Well…thanks to Go Picnic my options just got a little more exciting and much healthier than any fast food stop would have been.
Now, I’ve blogged about Go Picnic before. I am a HUGE fan of the gluten-free Hummus + Crackers meal, which is usually my on-the-road poison. However, when I attended the Gluten-Free Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana a month or so back, I dropped by the Go Picnic booth and raved to them about how much I appreciated their gluten-free boxes (especially the ones that are also vegetarian/vegan). It just so happened that they had some of their brand new on-the-go meals at the expo…and if I bought them that day, I’d be saving some money, for sure.
So, my roomie and I made a decision to purchase six meals. She got two of the Sunbutter + Crackers plus the Turkey Pepperoni + Cheese boxes. As for me, I went with two of my favorite…the Hummus + Crackers and one of the brand new offerings…the Black Bean Dip & Plantain Chips box. I was pretty stoked about that one as it was new, vegan, and gluten-free. And it just sounded…different and interesting.
Well, the perfect opportunity to break out the Go Picnic meals came this past weekend as my roomie and I were venturing out to Ohio to visit our friend Jenn. Our plan…to see The Monkees on Saturday night and then on Sunday morning…I was off to the races. Literally. I was running in the Hot Chocolate 15K in Columbus. So, we left work at noon on Friday and went to run a few local errands before settling in for the 4 hour car trip up to Columbus, Ohio. With the errands out of the way…it was lunch time. And for me, lunch was the Go Picnic Black Bean Dip & Plantain Chips on-the-go meal.
After opening the box, I settled on starting with the star of the actual box…the Go Picnic Garden Black Bean Dip with the Sweet Perry Orchards Crispy Roasted Plantain Chips. I thought, at first, that this was an interesting combination and wasn’t quite sure how it would work in the end. However, the combination was actually quite delicious. What I loved was how the sweetness of the dried and roasted plantains made into chips complimented the rich, sweetness of the black bean dip. The Go Picnic Garden Black Bean Dip is amazing. A creamy, somewhat sweet and spicy blend of black beans, green chilies, jalapeno peppers, spices, garlic, and onion made for a fantastic base to dip the chips in. And Sweet Perry Orchards Crispy Roasted Plantain Chips made a fantastic alternative to crackers or corn chips. Honestly. They provided a hint of sweetness as well. They were crispy, crunchy, and just the perfect compliment to the rich dip. I was so happy with this flavor combination. The Go Picnic Garden Black Bean Dip is only 40 calories of this box’s total 360 calories and provides 2 grams of protein. Let’s hear it for the protein magic of beans! And the Sweet Perry Orchards Crispy Roasted Plantain Chips also only contain 70 calories in the provided 0.5 ounce bag. It also only sets you back 3 grams in fat. They are also very low in sodium (50 mg).
My next taste from the box that I chose to devour was the Sweet Perry Orchards Ginger Zip Fruit and Nut Mix. This was a surprisingly delicious mix of peanuts coated in ginger, dried cranberries, and banana chips. The ginger was the part that concerned me, as often it can be a little too strong and too much. Thankfully, pairing it with lightly salted peanut, banana chips, and the tart sweetness of the dried cranberries, the blend worked. It worked fantastically, actually. I was digging down into the little 0.75 ounce bag that came in the Go Picnic box in hopes of finding more of the mix in there. But, alas, when I said devour…that’s what I did. This one surprised me and it was a nice surprise. The ginger was just enough to add a bit of heat to a few of the bites, but it didn’t overwhelm the mix. It was nicely balanced. And the little snack bag you receive in the box is only 90 calories of the entire 360 in the box itself. And the rest of the nutrition information is nice as well. The little pack provides 5 grams of fat and 2 grams of protein. Not bad for a fruit and nut mix. Not bad at all. Oh, and the sugar content on this one isn’t bad either. Most “trail mixes” are laden with sugar. Thanks to the ginger, this one only has 10 grams of sugar. Other trail mixes would be at least twice that per serving.
My next choice to eat from the box was the Sweet Perry Orchards Power Play Tasty Seed Blend. Now, one of my favorite parts of the Go Picnic Hummus + Crackers box is the packet of dry-roasted edamame. Well, this is a different twist on that pack. Sweet Perry Orchards Power Play Tasty Seed Blend is a mix of dry roasted edamame, pumpkin seeds, and watermelon kernels. Sound weird? It’s not. In fact, what this little 0.75 ounce pack provides is a heap of protein and healthy fats. Yep. While salt is added, it’s not overdone either. The seeds really stand up for themselves and pack a bunch of flavor in each bite. The blend is interesting and different. I mean, who can say they’ve really enjoyed a watermelon kernel before? Well…truth is…I did. And the pumpkin seeds and edamame were also fantastic. Sweet Perry Orchards Power Play Tasty Seed Blend provides 110 calories of the entire 360 calories in the box and 5 grams of fat. This blend also provides 8 grams of protein. That’s awesome. As for the sodium…which can be a real sticking point, this bag only has 70 mg of sodium in it. Yep. It really is a healthy choice.
And finally…dessert. Because that’s what we look forward to at the end of a meal. Even lunch on-the-go. The Go Picnic Black Bean Dip & Plantain Chips box comes with dessert of dark chocolate. Oh yes…almost like it was made for me. Dark, delicious chocolate. The little piece is Professor Zim Zams Extraordinary Sweets Dark Chocolate with Orange. It’s a little circle of orange-flavored dark chocolate goodness. Now, sometimes the orange and chocolate combination works for me. Sometimes…it doesn’t. In this case, the bittersweet dark chocolate meshes so well with the tart orange. It’s a seamless marriage of flavor to be honest. And it was a decadent enough bite to satisfy that need for dessert or something sweet to cleanse the palate. Professor Zim Zams Extraordinary Sweets Dark Chocolate with Orange is only 0.35 ounces of rich chocolate flavor…but it’s just enough. This little disk of sweetness provides the Go Picnic box with the remaining 50 calories. It contributes 4 grams of fat into the serving and 2 grams of protein. And it is good to the last little bite. Because…I admit…I savored the chocolate. I love a good, sweet ending.
In the end, Go Picnic provided a hearty on-the-go meal in a little box that really satisfied every taste. Sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. It meant that I felt satisfied at the end of the box. And with only 360 calories, it’s a nutritious meal that you can take with you on the road, on a hike, on a picnic, or just for something easy on a busy day at the office. This little box also provided me with 13 complete grams of protein at the end of it, which is fantastic as I am a gluten-free, vegetarian athlete (distance runner!) so making sure I get enough protein in my diet can be a huge challenge. This satisfied.
I haven’t been able to find this actual box listed yet on Go Picnic’s Web site. But it is one of the new offerings from the company. I say…give it a bit of time and it will be there. As for me…I hope to find this one in the stores soon because I loved every bite of it. If you can find it…pick it up and try it. I promise…you’ll be as hooked as me. Go Picnic…you won me and my taste buds over again with simple flavors and nutritious snacks.