Looking for a new, healthier and ethical snack bar? ZENB Veggie Sticks may be just the thing. I’ve tried them, loved them and now share my thoughts…
Disclaimer – I was gifted a mixed pack of Veggie Sticks to review. I was not paid and there was no expectation that I write a positive review. However, in the interests of transparency, this post may be considered as an AD. All views expressed are entirely my own.
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What are ZENB Veggie Sticks?
Have you heard about ZENB Veggie Sticks? They are savoury vegetable snack bars… Packed full of vegetable goodness in handy on-the-go munch packs.
Cereal and snack bars are nothing new… But these Veggie Sticks are the first (non-homemade) savoury snack bars that I have seen. And to be honest… when I was first asked if I wanted to try them, I was a little sceptical. Snack bars are usually sweet. Sure, they generally have some good stuff in them… fruit, nuts, seeds and natural sweeteners, but they are still a bit of a sugar hit.
ZENB snack bars are something different… and that made me want to try them out.
What did I think of ZENB Veggie Sticks?
ZENB Veggie Sticks were nothing like I expected… Although to be honest, I’m not sure what I expected.
Actually, the flavours seem neither sweet nor savoury. But each bar captures the intensity of the key vegetable they contain. And that was a surprise. Think red pepper – concentrated to its earthiest natural veggie sweetness and brightest hue… Carrot – bright and ‘roasty’ with slightly exotic ‘perfume’ overtones from coriander spice… Beetroot – Dark and rich, with a hint of chocolate from the added cacao nibs… And Pumpkin – exuding the flavours of Autumn with a sprinkle of warming cinnamon and nutmeg.
…All pepped with little crunchy bites of puffed rice and red quinoa. And with between 113 and 140 calories of fibre-filled pure goodness per bar, these are snacks that request no guilt whatsoever.
They come in ‘bite’ form too… Which look like they may have a different texture and some additional flavour twists… I may have to get some to see how they compare!
My favourite ZENB Veggie Stick? Red Pepper without a doubt. The zingy tastebud wakeup was powerfully delicious.
ZENB’s ethical ‘rating’
It’s not just the experience of eating ZENB Veggie Sticks that interested me though… When I did a bit of research before agreeing to try them, the company’s ethics and values appealed as well.
- There are no artificial flavours, sweeteners or preservatives in these vegetable bars. ✔️
- To ensure they are 100% natural, the company source ingredients that are both non-GMO and are organic. ✔️
- The company work to raise awareness about reducing food waste. ✔️
- This includes using parts of the vegetable that are often discarded (including skin, seeds and stems)… ✔️
- And… using 100% recycled and recyclable packaging wherever possible. ✔️
Connecting with nature
2020 has been hard… Let’s face it, not being able to see family, friends and colleagues and being stuck at home for months on end is pants! I’m incredibly lucky to live a 5 minute walk from the sea… To be honest, it has been my sanity during lockdown. Connecting with nature through fresh air, open space, long walks, kayaking and even just sitting in the garden with the warmth of the sun on my skin and the bees buzzing on the flowers has kept me (relatively) sane and rational. For those of you who have had to endure months in small space, I’m sorry.
As we move out of lockdown (hopefully), it is noticeable that bodies and minds have taken a beating… Now more than ever, is the time to offer ourselves the nutritional and emotional care we need.
The ZENB Study
ZENB commissioned a study to look at how we can all connect with nature and whether snacking on foods that were rich with nature’s ingredients could affect our mood and wellbeing.
What they found was that although exposure to nature directly is most beneficial, simply watching films of natural environments (compared to urban environments) also improved people’s mood and wellbeing. Being connected with nature leads to (among other things) feelings of greater creativity, productivity, relaxation and perspective… and lower levels of anger and anxiety too.
Clearly, I am very lucky… The study highlighted particular benefits from sea, lake and waterfall environments. Being around natural water may help us combat stress, sadness and anxiety as well as increase a whole array of positive emotions. But whether it’s water, forests, meadows or just experiencing the rush of the wind in the local park, nature has huge benefits to how we feel, think and behave. So next time you’re feeling down, head out with a backpack (and maybe even some nature-fuelled ZENB Veggie Sticks to scoff). Or failing that… absorb a bit of David Attenborough on ‘Catch Up’.
We are what we eat
Of course, realising the importance of nature to wellbeing is nothing new. But our connection with nature is not just about the environment around us. The very old saying ‘we are what we eat’ has considerable truth. Too much sugar, fat, chemicals used to grow our food, additives and general junk that we eat has an impact.
Some of what we consume is unavoidable, but making choices about much of what we eat is in our control. And a diet which is focussed on more natural and less processed ingredients has got to be better… right?
And that’s one of the things I really loved about the ZENB Veggie Sticks… They get the best out of the produce they use and offer the benefits of eating lots of good stuff that often gets binned in processing… ZENB use more of the whole vegetable… And that includes the core, peel, seeds and stems where they can. It’s good for us and it’s also a great way to reduce food waste.
Are ZENB Veggie Sticks ‘Free From’?
ZENB Veggie Sticks and bites are all plant-based and therefore vegan, egg free and dairy free. They are also gluten free too. They do however contain almonds, so are not suitable for nut allergy sufferers.
How to eat ZENB Veggie Sticks
Okay… This may seem a rather obvious question to ponder… but what is the best way to eat ZENB Veggie Sticks?
From a very simple viewpoint, they are fab for throwing in the bag as a ready on-the-go healthy, gluten free-vegan snack. Perfect out on a hike, down the beach, in the office mid-morning (or mid-afternoon), or to refuel after a gym workout.
But I’ve been using them a little more creatively… How about cubing and sprinkling on a lunch-time Buddha Bowl? The little bites of veggie deliciousness add a wonderful crunch and extra dimension to the dish.
They are also rather yummy chopped and scattered on top of soup, salad or a steaming hot vegetable crumble (sorry… the pictures didn’t make the grade). And also, as a side, strewn over a cheesy omelette (the beetroot bar works a treat). Any which way, be as creative as you like!
Where can I buy ZENB Bars?
ZENB bars and bites are available from the ZENB website and come in a number of pack sizes, trial packs, mixed boxes and subscriptions. I did a bit of a Google search and can’t see that they are available anywhere else at the moment.
But right now (December 2020), you can grab a trial box of yummy Veggie Sticks for a fiver! So why not give them a go? And if you do, let me know what you think… I’d love to know your favourite! Comment or let me know on social media (links at the top of the page).
Oh… and just in case you’re intrigued about the name ZENB…
ZENB (pronounced Zen-B) apparently comes from the Japanese ‘Zenbu’, meaning ‘whole’.
Which seems quite fitting, I think!