Saturday, May 9, 2015

If you're a dieter, this snack bar from Costco can help you skip lunch

The old and new boxes for Nature's Bakery Fig Bar from Costco Wholesale in Hackensack. There are six more twin packs in the larger box, but those who love figs don't welcome another change.

Editor's note: A favorite snack from Costco Wholesale now comes in a bigger box at a lower price per bar. Today, I also discuss other ingredients from Costco and other sources we can't live without.


Dieters like me who try to skip lunch to maintain their weight loss rely on snack bars and coffee to get them to dinner.

I usually eat a big, homemade breakfast, then snack on reduced-fat cheese or a twin pack of Nature's Bakery Fig Bar -- two 1-ounce bars that wrap fig paste and other flavors in stone-ground whole wheat.

Think of them as Fig Newtons for adults who want to avoid high-fructose corn syrup and other genetically modified ingredients. 

Nature's Bakery Fig Bars are non-GMO, kosher and dairy free.

I love figs -- fresh, dried or in an anise-flavored marmalade from Lebanon (sold at Fattal's in Paterson) -- so I took to these bars immediately.

They are the best snack bar Costco Wholesale carries and I have to hide them from my son, a teenager.

The two bars in each pack have a total of 220 calories, but they have no saturated fat or cholesterol. Each bar has 8 grams of dietary fiber.
Growing box

I first encountered them at the Hackensack Costco in November 2013, when a 3-pound box with 24 twin packs was $8.59 -- about 36 cents each.

I'm not sure I noticed when the box got bigger and held 30 twin packs.

This week, my wife brought home an even bigger box of the same fig bar with 36 twin packs for $10.79 or only 30 cents each.

But another, unwelcome change is that the unflavored fig bar is gone. 

Apple Cinnamon-flavored fig paste replaced it. Other flavors are Blueberry and Raspberry.

Costco's Kirkland Signature Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese from Italy (shredded) melted during the reheating of this vegetarian lentil soup from the cafe at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center. I added Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto, a refrigerated product, before serving the soup. Don't forget a glass of red wine.

I made a 10-inch omelet with Kirkland Signature Egg Whites, reduced-fat Swiss cheese, fresh spinach and Mateo's Gourmet Salsa from Costco, and ate it for breakfast with leftover organic whole-wheat spaghetti my wife made with three cans of Moroccan sardines in tomato sauce, sweet peppers, fresh tomato, onion and extra-virgin olive oil, but no pasta sauce.

Other great products

Two Costco products I miss when the wholesale store sells out are Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto, a refrigerated product that uses basil from Italy ($7.99); and shredded Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese.

We bought two 1-pound jars of the aged cheese from Italy when they were on sale for $8.49. 

Normally, a jar costs $11.49 or about a buck more per pound than the same cheese in wedges Costco also sells.

We use the shredded cheese in soups, as well as in egg and pasta dishes, and slices from a wedge are great with fresh or dried fruit and nuts.

Another great item is Wholly Guacaole, now organic. Three 16-ounce "peel-and-serve trays" were $12.99 at Costco this week.

The company says it uses 15 hand-scooped Hass avocados to produce the 3-pound package.

To put that in perspective, you can pay $14 for guacamole made at your table with a single avocado at Rosa Mexicano Restaurant, a couple of miles from the Hackensack Costco.

Dandelion Tea

One of the teas we buy from is Organic Roasted Dandelion Root, a caffeine-free herbal tea made from "sustainably harvested [roots] from the wild meadows of Poland."

Six 16-count boxes are $17.61 under Amazon's Subscribe & Save program, which sends us an order every five months.

Other teas we get under the same program are Stash Moroccan Green Tea (120 bags for $15.57) and Newman's Own Organics Royal Tea, a black tea that never turns bitter, no matter how long you steep the bag (500 bags for $17.95).

Whole-wheat pasta

Organic whole-wheat pastas you can cook al dente without leaving a card-boardy feel in your mouth are commonplace, allowing me to completely give up conventional pasta.

Whole-wheat pastas, organic and non-organic, have more fiber and fewer carbohydrates than their conventional cousins.

ShopRite, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods Market all stock organic whole-wheat pasta in a variety of shapes.

ShopRite has the best prices for an import, $1.25 a pound for Luigi Vitelli-brand Spaghetti, Linguine, Capellini, Fusilli and Penne.

Vitelli Foods is based in Englewood.

I prepare whole-wheat pasta at home every week, because I'd be lucky to find an Italian-American restaurant in North Jersey that serves anything but whole-wheat penne.

Mouth-filling Garofalo Whole Wheat Pappardelle from Jerry's Gourmet & More in Englewood dressed with Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto, pignoli nuts and shredded Kirkland Signature Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese. I also prepared a side dish of organic baby spinach with ingredients from Costco. The broad, flat noodles take a few minutes longer to reach al dente than the 8 minutes listed on the bag.

1 comment:

  1. Here's a message I received from Nature's Bakery on why the pure fig bar was removed from the package sold at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack. It was a decision made by Costco's buyer in the region without consulting me (or anyone else, I guess):

    Hi Victor –

    "Thank you for contacting us. We are sorry that the plain fig was removed from the variety pack box at Costco. This was actually a decision made by the Costco region buyer. The other flavors in the box are still fig bars they just have fruit added in with the fig paste. We apologize for the inconvenience. If you have any questions please let me know."

    Ali Wesson
    Nature's Bakery
    9460 Double R Blvd. Suite 200
    Reno, NV 89521


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