Friday, August 29, 2014

Carnation Breakfast Essentials

I have a long history with Carnation products.

When I was in high school (and maybe earlier?), my school bus came at an absurdly early hour.  This wasn't just me being a kid who didn't want to get up early.  It was ridiculously early, before 7am.  The school district was trying out a plan to reduce busing costs, and decided to join routes.  And lucky me, my pickup was one of the very first ones on the original route, and my route was tacked on to the front of the other route. So I was one of the first pickups for the joined route.  I rode the bus for over an hour every morning.  (At least the dropoffs were in reverse order).

Anyway.  This meant I was up way too early, was always rushing to get ready, and could care less about breakfast.  But, my mother cared.  And while she couldn't get me to sit down for breakfast, she discovered that I really liked Carnation instant breakfast drinks, particularly when she put them into a shaker thing and made them all frothy.  I recall liking pretty much all of the flavors, although the Chocolate Malt and "Strawberry Sensation" were my favorites.

Flash forward many years.  I forgot about Carnation.  And then, as you've heard me reference several times on this blog, I got very sick.  I was on a liquids only diet for several months.  I wore out several blenders experimenting with all sorts of smoothies.  I tried pretty much every brand of bottled nutritional shake possible (omg, I hate you Ensure!).  The only ones I could really tolerate were Carnation.  (I prefer the powder over the pre-bottled ones, probably due to nostalgia).  I developed my own recipes using Carnation powders as a base, but even after months of morning shakes, I still could manage to enjoy the Carnation ones from time to time.

But, I'm not hear to tell you more about Carnation drinks.  I recently discovered that along with the powdered drink mix and bottled drinks, Carnation also makes breakfast bars.
Compared to your average bar, they actually are pretty balanced nutritionally.  10g of protein to 12g sugar.  200 calories.  And of course, Carnation's famous "21 essential vitamins and minerals".  (Although, um, ... corn syrup is the first ingredient).  Made from soy crisps, oats, soy nuts, with chocolate coating.  Available in two flavors: chocolate or chocolate and peanut butter.

Sigh, soy crisps.  I'm sick of soy crisps.  I guess this is how bars load themselves up with protein, but I usually can't stand them.  This was better than average, and the ridiculous sweet binding helped mask the flavor of the strange crisps, as did the rich, generous chocolate coating.

The base bar was fairly sticky from the aforementioned corn syrup, making this seem much more like a candy bar than a breakfast item.  I have no shame in eating ridiculous things for breakfast, but this felt decadent, even for me.  The chocolate coating was thicker and higher quality than pretty much any other bar I've tried too.

While I didn't actually want this, it was better than expected, better than average, and I imagine, a great way to get kids to eat a reasonably balanced bar to get them going in the morning, while easily tricking them that they are eating a candy bar.  Luckily for me, I'm an adult, and I can just go ahead and eat a regular candy bar, no tricks required :)
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