There’s something you may not know about me. I spent over a year developing my own frozen organic baby food brand, ChowBaby. My partner and I had a co-packer, recipes, samples and packaging. We’d worked with the FDA to learn all about food labeling and regulations. We were in talks with a non-profit about giving away a percentage of our profits. We’d even talked to chemical companies about freezer-safe eco-packaging. The. Whole. Nine. Yards.
The experience has given me a unique point-of-view on food brands. On one hand, I have empathy for small brands trying to do good things while also trying to turn a profit in a space dominated by global conglomerates. On the other hand, I can be pretty suspicious and critical. Sadly, in the packaged food world, it’s frighteningly easy to talk the talk and get away with NOT walking the walk.
Which is why I’m thrilled to share my experience with (and a great recipe, perfect for Halloween, from) Nature’s Path. A company that is truly walking the walk.
I excitedly accepted an invitation to share dinner with some folks from Nature’s Path because a) I like and buy some of their products and b) was looking forward to an, ahem, spirited conversation about kids cereal. See, I’m a wanna-be-reformed cereal junkie. Having an embarrassing weakness for junk-food cereals, I’m accurately aware of how terrible they can be. It’s bad enough that most kid-marketed cereals are over processed and laden with sugar but, on top of it, we’re expected to feed them to our children first thing in the morning! C’mon!
Nature’s Path kids cereal line, EnviroKidz, offers, in my opinion, some of the better children’s cereals on the market. The ingredients list alone is telling: you know what each ingredient is and, in some cases, there are as few as three ingredients all together. (Just three!) And, I was impressed that they mentioned working with a nutritionist to improve their children’s cereals before I even asked. I’m hopeful given that they’ve mastered making healthy adult cereals that taste great. (Have you tasted their Smart Bran? Seriously. This ain’t your mama’s high bran cereal!)
Nature’s Path commitment to organic food and sustainability is evident not just in their product line, but also in their business practices. They’ve reduced their cereal packaging by 10%, built a green roof on their home office, donate 1% of their EnviroKidz sales to environmental causes and fund urban garden projects. From their good works to their tasty products, from their commitment to healthy foods and willingness to improve their offerings, Nature’s Path impressed. I know first-hand how hard it is to walk the walk and, from where I sit, the folks on Nature’s Path are doing it.
You can learn more about Nature’s Path by visiting their site, checking them out on Facebook or following them on Twitter. And why not try this great recipe? I had the chance to try these bites, a recipe made with Nature’s Path Ancient Grains Granola developed by fabulous James Beard Award winning cookbook author Lorna Sass, and they are delicious! A perfect healthy Halloween treat for little ones not yet ready to share candy.
Ancient Grains Granola Peanut Butter “Bites”
created for Nature’s Path by Lorna Sass
makes 48 bites
1/2 c unsalted peanut butter, preferably non-hydrogenated, at room temp
1/2 c pourable honey*
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 c Nature’s Path Ancient Grains Granola, plus more if needed
1/2 c chocolate chips
1/3 c dried cranberries
generous 1/3 c finely grated dried coconut, preferably unsweetened
1. Cover a cookie sheet with waxed paper or plastic wrap. Set aside.
2. Place peanut butter in bowl of a food processor. Pour honey on top and sprinkle with salt. Blend until smooth.
3. Add Ancient Grains granola and chocolate chips. Process until mixture begins to form a mass, about 30 seconds. If mixture doesn’t form a mass, add 1 to 2 heaping tablespoons more granola and process a few seconds longer. Stir in cranberries.
4. Spred coconut out on a plate. Place a heaping teaspoon of granola mixture in your palms and roll into a ball. Roll ball in coconut to coat. Proceed with remaining mixture, setting “bites” about 1/2″ apart on waxed paper as you go.
5. Refrigerate until chilled, about 40 minutes. If not using immediately, refrigerate in a closed container in layers divided by waxed paper for up to a week.
*Note from One Hungry Mama: Do not feed honey to children under 1-year-old for risk of botulism. If you’d like to share this with a child under 12 months, substitute agave syrup.
Photo provide by Nature’s Path