It’s a new year and like millions of others I am taking this opportunity to re-evaluate the choices I’m making with regards to my health, particularly my eating habits. I want to eat healthy, but tacos are delicious. Bacon, cheese, and fluffy blueberry pancakes are my kryptonite. When you come home from a long day, sometimes salad just doesn’t sound appealing.  Moreover eating is a communal thing. In the past every time I’ve ever tried to diet, I’ve been stumped by how to eat well while still getting to go out with my friends. And then there is the snack conundrum. 3:00PM happens and I need a cookie.

That is where Nature Box comes in. For about $20 a month they send you a box of “healthy” snacks that you don’t have to think about. My box arrived in the middle of my juice fast, so I didn’t get to try them right away, but I invite some of my friends over to sample the wares. They were initially excited. Both friends are vegetarian and very health conscious so this kind of snacking was right up their alley.
I was given five options: fuji apples, home-style cheddar mix, mango almond bites, country ranch sunflower kernels, and seaweed rice pops. The first thing we did was read the label to see what we were working with. Based on the label alone, we came to the conclusion that the only truly guilt free snack in my box was the fuji apples. Ingredients: dried apples.
The next two passable snacks were the seaweed rice pops and the mango almond bites. The seaweed pops start off okay in terms of ingredients: sweet rice, oats, sesame seed, flaxseed, and then further down we found flour, sugar, corn syrup and etc. After watching several documentaries about what refined sugar and flour do to the body (don’t even get me started on corn syrup) that is not what I’m looking for in a healthy snack. Though oven baked almonds are the first ingredient in the mango almond bites, ingredient two is cane sugar, followed by rice syrup. To their credit, those three snacks at least had ingredients I could recognize and pronounce. As for the country ranch sunflower kernels and the home-style cheddar mix, when we got into things like silicon dioxide and ammonium bicarbonate, nobody wanted to eat them.

A few days after I finished my juice fast, I did try the snacks. The seaweed pops were my favorite taste-wise, followed by the mango almond bites, and the apples. This is not surprising because I am sugar addict and all three were sweet. The whole point was not just to have a tasty snack, but a no brainer go-to healthy snack. I think I’m gonna have to stick with fruit, nuts, and homemade veggie fruit smoothies. Nature box is a good idea, but they missed the mark. In a world where it is increasingly difficult to tell the difference between real food and food like products, I was hoping that Nature Box would be an easy jump start to get me off my diet of chemical, fatty garbage. Maybe it’s a good intermediary step, but for $20 a month, I think I’ll stick with the farmer’s market where I can find locally sourced organic produce with a 100% guarantee of nutritional value.

Reagan Jackson is a writer, artist, YA fiction aficionado, afro-punk, international educator, and community organizer based in Seattle, WA. You can find her most Wednesday nights at the Rain City Poetry Slam or maybe just being nerdy at her favorite bookstores.