Friday, June 25, 2010

Market Pantry Making My Day

I have tried and tried, but I never can get on the Aldi train. I also jumped off the Walmart train over six years ago. But I do like to save money while shopping. I also value stressless shopping though, and feel that the experience is worth a little bit of cash. (You have to remember that pretty much everything is an emotional experience for me.) Therefore, my favorite place to shop, as you probably all know, is Target. The lighting is cheerful, the stores are clean, the selection is varied, the (clothing and home) products are cute, the prices are low.

Have I mentioned the enjoyable facelift the Target cafe menu has had lately? (Opening new window... searching blog.....) No, I haven't. First of all, the kids' meals have improved. They cost a very reasonable $3 and come with a choice of a beef hotdog, chicken fingers, or mac and cheese as the main entree, apples or carrots for the side, and milk, coke, or an Icee for the drink. The prize is a curly straw. I used to get my kids the hotdogs in a pinch, but I would have to buy some sort of chips or popcorn to fill them up. I love that they get veggies instead of something greasy and gross. I suppose I could be even healthier and give them milk. In the summer, I usually let them get the Icee though because it is a reward for good behavior in the store and a fun way to cool them off.

Anyway, the thing that still bothers me is that there isn't anything for me to eat there. The salads are what you'd expect- small, expensive, and not that great. I don't really like hotdogs, and ever since I learned that there are 23 grams of fat in a small popcorn, I steer clear! Yesterday, I noticed something new on the menu though. It may have been there for a while, but this was the first time I spotted it, pita chips with hummus. Yum! There are two choices, plain pita chips with roasted red pepper hummus or seasoned pita chips with plain hummus. I went for the first option and it was delicious. While I sat munching my snack (lunch), I took a gander at the nutritional information, 200 calories, 6 grams of protein! I'm no dietician, but I thought that was pretty good. The protein really held me over for the rest of my errands too.

Speaking of Target and protein, I also picked up a couple of boxes of the Market Pantry nutrition bars that I have been enjoying lately. It started with Zone bars, the high protein bars that I found to be the best tasting in my taste test a couple of years ago. For a while, I have had my friend Ami pick them up for me in bulk at Sam's- $20 for 24 bars (83 cents a bar). Once we started the church plant, I have seen Ami a lot less, and I had to figure out a more accessible option. I decided to give the Target brand Zone bars a try. They come in boxes of 5 for $4 (so 80 cents a bar) and sometimes even go on sale! Let me tell you, they taste even better than Zone bars. One thing I haven't done is compare all of the nutritional information side by side. I know both kinds of bars have 14 grams of protein in them. Both bars are loaded with vitamins, though I haven't compared to see which is more loaded. The Target brand bars have 210 calories, and I think Zone bars have fewer calories. Nonetheless, 210 calories is not much. I started eating these for breakfast with a piece of fruit or a glass of milk after morning runs a couple of years ago. Since I don't always get a run in in the morning, I sometimes save them for an afternoon snack after an afternoon run (which also doesn't always happen). Run or no though, they are yummy and more nutritious than a lot of options.

Posts that should follow (but likely won't) the fantastic Target return policy, the new store design pros and cons, Des Moines area Targets and how I feel about them, and how Target at Christmas feels like home.


annie said...

Hey, Abby, that is some useful information about the Market Pantry bars. Just today I stood in front of the energy bar display at Dierberg's and didn't know which ones to try. Are the Market Pantry ones really sweet? Just wondering. I'm looking for a good snack for me to have at the pool when the boys are eating their snacks.

Abby said...

Annie, I am just going to bring you a bar to church so you can have it and see how you like it. I think they are sweet, but not too sweet. Some protein bars have a crazy taste that makes you feel like you are just choking them down because they're healthy. These are actually tasty. The peanut butter ones remind me of the Carnation breakfast bars my mom used to get us back in the 80s that they don't make anymore. If you remember those, maybe that helps. The fudge graham ones are also good but sweeter (so better with coffee!). I haven't tried the other ones though.

April said...

I just happened upon this blog while doing a search on the Market Pantry nutrition bars and was just going to post about the peanut ones tasting like Carnation breakfast bars from long ago. So funny that Abby mentioned the same! Love them!

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