Penguin Reviews

PENGUIN

OK, the response was not overwhelming, but because I enjoy watching Penguin try and type with his flippers, I decided that the 4 people that responded to the question positively will speak for all 200+ of you that come here every day.  And so, here is Penguin!  In future, to get to the most recent review, click the word PENGUIN at the very top left of this page.

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Penguin will review low to medium calorie and WW point items that you can buy in the grocery store.  Everything that Penguin reviews will be something that he has tried personally.  Not all reviews will be favourable although all of them will include his likes and dislikes of the item.  

I know that some of you are going to think it’s silly to have a penguin review products, but he was a big hit over at my other website, and now that that website has been closed down he was more than willing to come over here. 

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Weight Watchers Cakes

What, where and how much:  Weight Watchers snack cakes at Save On Foods for $4.69/box 

Points:  1 point (around 50 calories)

Penguin’s Likes:  Penguin liked the idea of the convenience and low points value of these cakes.  He liked that they did provide more than one flavour.

Penguin’s Dislikes:  Everything else.  Penguin was very excited and bought all 3 flavours.  When he got in the car he decided to spend a point and try a cake.  And then he waddled right back in the store and returned them.  Penguin was displeased with how small they were (about 1.5″ x .75″), how rock hard the icing was and how they tasted like the package they came in.

Penguin’s Overall Opinion:  Don’t waste your money.  Make the Chocolate Muffins yourself or just forget about cake.

 

Urban Wafers

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What, where and how much:  Penguin picked these up at Save On Foods for around $4 per package (he threw the receipt out…).  They are old fashioned wafer wedges that come in Apple Cinnamon, Dutch Cocoa and Strawberry.

Points/Calories:  They are seperated into quarters.  Each entire circle (4 quarters) is 2 points (80 calories).  They are pretty thin and an entire circle is about 7″ across.

Penguin’s Likes:  The bag that they come in is not resealable, but there is a resealable tray inside that holds the fragile wafer cookies.  Penguin would probably recommend that you throw that tray into a Ziploc bag because they are so fragile they would probably go stale pretty quickly.  Penguin likes that they have a light and almost fresh texture and are handy when you just HAVE to have something sweet.

Penguin’s Dislikes:  There isn’t much to them, so if you are having them to assuage your hunger, they don’t work.  Penguin also doesn’t love that they get little wafer-y crumbs everywhere!  Penguin probably wouldn’t spend two points on the whole circle, but half of it for a point seems pretty reasonable, especially if you love cookie type food.

Penguin’s Overall Opinion:  Buy a pack and keep them for the emergency sweet tooth cravings.  Penguin wouldn’t add these to the grocery list when they’re gone, but for a treat occassionally they work perfectly.

 

Lean Cuisine SPA Meals

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What, where and how much:  We probably all know what these are, but if not, they are the Lean Cuisine SPA variety.  NO PRESERVATIVES!  Penguin picked these up at Superstore for $2.69 each.

Points/Calories:  5 points (250 calories)

Penguin’s Likes:  This was, flippers down, one of the best meals that Penguin has ever microwaved.   The kind shown above is the Thai Chicken one and it was delicious!  There was a pretty reasonable quantity of it and it had a nice mix of chicken, brown rice and vegetables.  Not runny at ALL, like so many of the frozen meals can be.  Nicely seasoned.  Penguin was very, VERY impressed.  Also, Penguin is a bit of a recycling fanatic and the inner tray that it comes in can be recycled.  This is the first brand that Penguin has found where that is true.  Penguin liked that there were no preservatives and no artificial flavours. 

Penguin’s Dislikes:  Penguin found it a little high in sodium (650mg ~ 27% RDI) but knows that is pretty standard with these type of meals.  He probably would have liked a little more, but then if he didn’t, we wouldn’t be walking down this road, now would we?

Penguin’s Overall Opinion:  Definite repeat item.  Penguin is interested to try a couple different flavours.  A word of caution though, the no preservatives/no artificial flavours thing is not on ALL Lean Cuisine meals.  Just the ones that say SPA.

 

Cheecha Krackles

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What, where and how much?  These are hot air puffed potato snacks.  Penguin picked them up in the specialty chips section of Save On Foods for $2.59 each.

Points/Calories:  2 cups (20g) is 2 points or 87 calories

Penguin’s Likes:  Penguin likes to munch.  Likes it A LOT!  So when Tarable found these potato puffies, Penguin just had to give them a whirl.  Penguin loves that you get so many for the points, they aren’t too expensive and they taste really good.  They have a very light texture and they are very lightly seasoned. 

Penguin’s Dislikes:  Penguin would have preferred them to have a greater variety of flavours but all he could find were the Sea Salt and Vinegar ones(these were the ones Penguin tested) and some Lime flavoured ones. 

Penguin’s Overall Opinion:  Flippers WAY up!  These are great!  They are a nice alternative to microwave popcorn or, God forbid, regular potato chips.  They allow you to indulge without going off whatever plan you’re on.  And you get a tonne of them for 2 points!

 

Yogurt, various

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Why Penguin is reviewing yogurt:  Penguin really likes the Yoplait Source yogurt (the far right in the picture above) and has them every day for one point each.  When Penguin was in the USA yesterday, he found the other two yogurts.  One is Weight Watchers brand and the other is Lucerne brand.  The biggest thing that Penguin noticed between the three of them is the overall size.  Keep reading for comparison.

What, where and how much?  Lucerne Light Yogurt was purchased from Safeway in Lynden, WA for $0.50.  It is 227g.  Weight Watchers was purchased from the Safeway in Lynden, WA as well, for $0.65.  It is 170g.  Both of these are available to purchase as single serving containers.  Yoplait Source was purchased from Save On Foods in Surrey, BC for what works out to $0.56 each.  They are 100g and can only be purchased in packages of 16.

Points/calories:  Weight Watchers and Source are both 1 point for the whole container.  The Lucerne comes in at 2 points, but is so large that you could definitely split it in half.

Penguins Likes:  Yogurt is a really personal (or penguinal) thing, what with the vast array of textures, creaminess and flavours.  Penguin likes the Source ones because they come in decent flavours, aren’t overly sweet and are a bit smaller, portion-wise. 

Penguins Dislikes:  The Weight Watchers yogurt was SO sweet he almost couldn’t finish it.  He tried the White Chocolate Raspberry one and instead of tasting like White Chocolate, it tasted like the Sucralose it is sweetened with.  The Lucerne one had a better flavour (he tried the Chai Latte) and a decent texture, but it was TOO MUCH!  No one needs that much yogurt in one sitting.  In fact, in Canada, you can’t even buy a yogurt that large unless you are buying a litre of it.

Penguin’s Overall Opinion:  Again, yogurt is something you have to find and like for yourself.  Penguin was annoyed that you cannot purchase the Weight Watchers ones or this version of Lucerne in Canada.  Penguin will be sticking with his Yoplait Source cups but encourages you, especially if you are not a huge fan of yogurt, to try and find one you like.  There are so many different varieties out there that even if you don’t like one of them, there may be another out there that strikes you totally differently.

Hershey’s No Sugar Added Candy

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What, where and how much?  Indiviually wrapped ‘chocolaty candy’ made by Hershey.  Sweetened with Maltitol.  Penguin picked these up at Save On Foods for $1.39.

Points/calories:  You get 5 of these for 4 points although Penguin would strongly suggest moderation as the maltitol that they are sweetened with can have a laxative effect if it is over consumed.

Penguin’s Likes:  Penguin likes the flavour of them and they remind him of really cheap easter chocolate which Penguin happens to like.  The texture is a little powdery and you know as soon as you bite it that you aren’t getting actual high quality chocolate.  The piece is reasonably sized and individually wrapped so you can have one at a time and not worry about the rest of them going stale. 

Penguin’s Dislikes:  Penguin is not thrilled about the high fat content (13g in 5 pieces) or the sweetener that they’ve chosen to use.  Maltitol is a sugar alcohol and not that great for you.

Penguin’s Overall Opinion:  Nice treat once in a while.  Penguin is not a crazy chocolate lover so this suits him just fine.

 

Quaker Weight Control Oatmeal

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What, where and how much?  This is an instant oatmeal that is high in fibre, has a reasonable amount of protein and is low in fat.  The idea behind the weight control is that it keeps you feeling full longer as well as providing your body with needed fibre.  Penguin picked this up at Save On Foods for $2.69. Comes 6 packets to a box.

Points/calories:  Each packet comes in at 2 points (if you make it with water and not milk) with 2g of fat and 6g of fibre.

Penguin’s Likes:  These are quite sweet and do not require the addition of any brown sugar.  Penguin was unsure about eating instant oatmeal and knowing he couldn’t add a half a pound of brown sugar but he was pretty impressed with the flavour.  They are a nice warm comfort snack in the evening and while Penguin knows that he’s not supposed to eat after 7pm, if he’s hungry before bed this holds him over all night.

Penguin’s Dislikes:  Penguin followed the directions on the package…the ONLY directions on the package.  They said to add the water or milk to the dry cereal then to microwave it for 1-2 minutes.  Penguin figured since those were the ONLY instructions that the need to microwave it must have something to do with the fibre content and it needing to be cooked.  Penguin put it in the microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds, came back and found it had exploded, coating the entire microwave and bowl in a gluey mess of oatmeal.  The actual eating of the remaining overcooked oatmeal was a rather unpleasant experience and so when Penguin saw Tarable the next day (she recommended these) he asked her what she possibly could have been thinking when she said these were good.  Turns out that Tarable disregarded the instructions provided and simply used boiling water as is done with every other instant oatmeal on the market.  Penguin tried it that way and was very impressed with the results.

Penguin’s Overall Opinion:  These are a good snack to keep in the cupboard at home and since you can just use boiling water they are also a very good choice for a snack to keep at work in the event of a food emergency.  They are sweet enough to be a treat and good for you.  Best of both worlds in Penguin’s opinion.

 

El Monterey Burritos

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What, where and how much? These are a frozen burrito that Penguin picked up from Costco Wholesale for $10.99.  They come in a box of 10 burritos and Penguin does not believe that they are available anywhere other than Costco.

Points/Calories:  They come in at 5 points each.

Penguin’s Likes:  These taste fantastic!  They are stuffed with chicken, veggies and rice in a whole wheat tortilla.  Penguin likes that you can microwave them from frozen for under 2 minutes and have a healthy main dish.  Add a cooked veggie (or salad if you like that sort of thing) and you have a full meal for 5 points in 2 minutes.  Penguin liked that the size of them was reasonable.  Not overly huge but enough that you know you’ve eaten something decent.  Penguin also liked that these are fully contained in the tortilla wrap and as such none of the filling escapes during the cooking process.

Penguin’s Dislikes:  Penguin actually can’t think of anything he didn’t like.  He supposes it would be handy if they were available at the regular grocery store but since they come 10 to a box at Costco, he doesn’t forsee it being a problem.

Penguin’s Overall Opinion:  Make these a freezer staple.  If you have a freezer available at work, throw a couple of them in there for the days when you forgot your lunch.  Penguin is very, VERY pleased with the quality and taste of these.  VERY PLEASED!  This item was recommended by Tarable and Penguin will now trust every food recommendation that she makes!

 

Christie Thinsations (Kraft PB Cookie and Peak Frean Shortcake Cookie)

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What, where and how much?  These are preportioned packs of cookies that Penguin picked up at Save On Foods, 2 for $5.  Penguin would not normally review the preportioned packs of snack foods but he was so impressed with these two that he just had to tell you about them.

Points/Calories:  These are 100 calories each and come out to 2 points per package.

Penguin’s Likes:  Penguin is so over the top impressed with these two that he can hardly stand it.  The peanut butter cookies taste almost like a homemade peanut butter cookie.  They are crispy and salty and sweet and very peanut buttery.  They also look like little peanuts which Penguin thinks is kind of cute.  The shortcake cookies are also incredibly well done.  They aren’t even close to homemade but have a great taste and a nice texture. 

Penguin’s Dislikes: None

Penguin’s Overall Opinion:  Penguin doesn’t normally keep this type of food on the iceflow but occassionally you just NEED a cookie and these are an excellent choice.  There are many, MANY different 100 calorie packs on the market covering just about every snack food you can imagine.  Penguin will be sticking to these two varieties from now on.

 

Cocoa Camino Organic Hot Chocolate (Fair & Equitable Trade)

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What, where and how much?  Penguin picked these packets up at the Save On Foods in the bulk department.  They are an organic, fair trade hot chocolate mix.  Penguin found them in the bulk section for $0.79/packet.  They come in milk chocolate and dark chocolate.

Points/Calories:  These come in at 110 calories or 2 WW points each (the dark one has 2g of fibre and the milk has 1g of fibre).

Penguin’s Likes:  Penguin can’t stand the powdered sugar crap that passes itself off as hot chocolate so when he saw these he was torn.  He noticed that they were organic (good!) and also a fair trade product (very good!) and figured he would give them a go.  He didn’t mind the flavour (he tried the dark one) but found it could have been a little sweeter.  He added some Splenda to it and it was much better. 

Penguin’s Dislikes:  As with all hot chocolate mixes, they recommend that you make it with less than a cup of water.  Penguin used a full cup but still found there wasn’t enough bang for the points buck.  Penguin figures that if he’s using 2 points for something it better last longer than a minute and a half.

Penguin’s Overall Opinion:  He could really just care less about them.  They weren’t good and they weren’t bad.  He supposes that if you enjoy hot chocolate that this might be something you’ll like.

 

Orville Redenbacher’s Sweet & Salty Kettle Korn

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What, where and how much?  This is some of the best microwave popcorn that Penguin has ever laid beak on!  It’s a sweet and salty, mostly fat free popcorn.  Penguin picked this up at the Safeway in Lynden, WA.  It was awhile ago (he forgot to review it) and he can’t remember the exact price but thinks it was around $2.50/box…he does remember that it was on sale.  This product is an excellent source of fibre with a whole bag giving you 30g.  It’s also not too terrible on the sodium front at only 6% RDI.

Points/Calories:  You can have one entire bag of this for 90 calories or 2 WW points.

Penguin’s Likes:  This is a great snack!  The bag is about the same size as a regular microwave popcorn and the flavour is fantastic.  It truly is a sweet and salty popcorn!  Penguin also liked that it did not stink up the house or splatter the inside of the microwave like some brands do.

Penguin’s Dislikes:  Penguin found that if you tried to microwave it for long enough to get a good quantity of the kernels popped you ended up scorching some of it (which smells awful!).  Penguin happens to have a bowl that is meant to be used to pop kernels in the microwave so after he had eaten the portion that popped in the bag, he put the unpopped kernels in the bowl and made the rest.  Like two snacks in one!  (the microwave popcorn bowl can be purchased at WalMart for around $10).

Penguin’s Overall Opinion:  Great thing to have around for movie night.  Even if you went overboard and had two bags you are still only costing yourself 4 points, which is not bad at all!  Penguin suggests not having this as a snack within a couple days of a weigh in because it will definitely skew your number if you are sensitive to sodium.  Penguin is not normally sensitive to sodium but found that this particular item made him retain water like crazy!

 

General Mills FibreOne Bars

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What, where and how much?  These are the FibreOne bars that Penguin had heard so much about at his WW meetings.  They can only be purchased in the US at this time but are worth the trip!  Penguin found the Oats & Chocolate one and also an Oats & Peanut Butter one.  Penguin paid $2.39 (USD) for these at the WalMart in Bellingham, WA.  These (as you can see from the picture) are particularly high in fibre!

Points/Calories: You can have one bar for 140 calories or 2 WW points.

Penguin’s Likes:  Very tasty!  They have a great chewy granola bar texture and are quite thick.  There is a little drizzle of frosting on top (chocolate or PB) which is lovely!  Penguin loves that these are only 2 points and extremely portable.

Penguin’s Cautionary Note (normally referred to as Penguin’s Dislikes):  Drink water with these.  Lots and lots of water!  Be prepared to drink quite a bit more water than you are used to so that your body properly processes the fibre content of these bars.  Too much fibre and too little water can lead to….well….to put it bluntly, you won’t be pooing for awhile.  Drink the water!  Penguin had absolutely no trouble with these once he realized that too much fibre and not enough water can have the opposite effect you were hoping for. 

Penguin’s Overall Opinion:  Well worth the trip into the US to pick these up.  And also, if you missed it above, DRINK WATER when you eat these!

12 Comments

  1. willamina said,

    October 11, 2007 at 7:01 am

    hee hee. i like the penguin!

  2. hueyea said,

    October 17, 2007 at 7:40 am

    Just what I was looking for. The cheecha krackles and SPA meals are on my shopping list!

  3. ladybeams said,

    October 28, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Thanks for the reviews. I pretty much felt the same way you did about the WW cakes. I trust your judgement. If they’re not good enough for penguin, I’m not spending my money on it! LOL

  4. Bev said,

    November 18, 2007 at 11:13 am

    Will you review the other products you bought also?

  5. Lady Shanny said,

    November 18, 2007 at 11:16 am

    Only Penguin can write the reviews….but I’ll ask him. I’m not sure that he really bought anything else that would be suitable for a review.

  6. Marueze said,

    November 18, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    So true, yogurt is so a matter of taste. As an American maybe we have a higher tolerence for the sucralose I guess. I miss the traditional 8 oz of yogurt. Although I prefer not to spend the 200 + calories for it so sucralose it is. I don’t know if you noticed that the WW’s also has a higher fiber content that other yogurts. That is what helps them point wise. Since doing core I have used Non fat yogurt and sour cream and find that they work very well with fruit.

    It is awful nice of Penguin to take the time to rate the assorted items. . . .the Cheecha Krackles sound like something I might try to find here. Love the crunchie stuff. Will have to check for them in the stores.

    Nice to have a penguin to test all this stuff out!

  7. ladybeams said,

    November 19, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    I have yogurt every day also, but the one I have chosen is the Dannon Light & Fit. It too comes in at only 1pt. since they lowered the calories to 60. I usually mix my flaxseed oil (for that old ‘hotflash’ thing) and flaxseed for extra fiber. It’s usually between $.50 and $.60 ea. as I usually find it on sale and buy quite a few at a time. You might want to give it a try sometime. I don’t think it’s real sweet, but everybody’s different. I really liked the yoplait light, but I didn’t want the extra point. I haven’t tried the ‘source’.

  8. Anonymouse said,

    December 30, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    Thanks, Penguin! I have added the Cheecha Krackles and the Lean Cuisine “Spa” Thai Chicken to my shopping list.

  9. Anonymouse said,

    December 31, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    Update: Oh Penguin, dearest Penguin… thank you, thank you! I had the LC “Spa” Thai chicken for dinner today. Yummmm…!!! And then I had some Cheecha Krackles. Again, yummmmm!!! They will be a great alternative to my favourite Miss Vickie’s Salt and Vinegar chips.

    It’s New Year’s Eve and I don’t have Lady Shanny’s resolve, so I ate a lot of other stuff, too 😦

  10. ladybeams said,

    January 13, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    I think the Weight loss Quaker Oats is good also. It does tend to be a little sweet for me, but then I hadn’t thought about them as an answer to a sweettooth. Very good idea, especially for 2 pts.

  11. Anonymouse said,

    January 23, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Just checking in for any updates here. I love that you’re reviewing these products. The Thai Chicken is a staple for me now. I keep it in the freezer for those nights when I can’t cook for some reason. I like the idea of using the oatmeal for a sweet tooth or a night-time snack to tide me over. I have to use up the instant oatmeal I already have, which is sweetened with real sugar and has no added fibre. I noticed they were featuring oatmeal on Biggest Loser. I wonder if that was the same brand? They mentioned a Banana Bread flavour. That sounds yummy to me! Too bad we don’t have a Costco near us. I would have liked to try the burritos.

  12. Literate Housewife said,

    January 24, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    You are so awesome! What a resource! I can’t seem to find a lot of time for my blog right now with my two college courses, but I’m going to link to this. What a wonderful idea!


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