Back to School with Lance Crackers

This is a compensated review from BlogHer and Lance Snacks.

It's almost time for school to start once again, and this year I've got three kids in elementary school now! I'm going to have to figure out a way to pack 3 mid-morning snacks and 4 lunches (yes, I pack lunch for my husband as well!) and get 3 kids ready for school in the morning. And I'm going to have to rely on healthy, easy-to-prepare snack foods more than ever -- which is why I was happy to join BlogHer's Lance Snacks review, and try out some of their new healthier snack products.

The Basics
We tried several Lance Varities: Their new Whole Grain Sandwich Crackers line, with three varieties -- Real Peanut Butter on Whole Grain, Real Cheddar Cheese on Whole Grain, and Real Sharp Cheddar Cheese on Whole Grain, all with 3 grams of fiber per serving, and their new 100 Calorie line, also with three varieties -- Toast Chee (peanut butter on cheese crackers), Toasty (peanut butter on butter crackers) and NipChee (cheddar cheese on cheese crackers), all in serving sizes of 100 calories each. As with all Lance Snacks, these new varieties use real peanut butter and real cheese, and contain zero trans fat and zero high-fructose corn syrup.

The Bongga
The Lance Whole Grain Sandwich Crackers rock! I already buy sandwich snack crackers to tuck into the kids' lunch boxes now and then, but they're always made with white flour, so I wondered how they would like the taste of the Lance Whole Grain Sandwich Crackers. I needn't have worried; they didn't even notice the difference! The nutty taste of the whole grain crackers pairs perfectly with the Real Sharp Cheddar Cheese spread; in fact, it was my kids' hands-down favorite.

When the sandwich crackers first arrived, I let my kids each have a pack of 6 sandwich crackers for their mid-morning snack, which they quickly wolfed down. Since whole grains are more filling, those 6 crackers would be more than adequate for a kids' snack, but it was getting close to noontime, and they were still hungry, so opened up a couple more packs, brought out a bowl of sweet, organic cherry tomatoes, poured them each a glass of milk, and we turned it into an early lunch. Yum! I got to thinking of some other ways I'd serve these sandwich crackers:

* Real Peanut Butter on Whole Grain with apple slices on the side and honey for dipping (dipping apples, crackers or both, that is)
* Real Peanut Button on Whole Grain with Nutella spread on top
* Chicken salad spread on Real Sharp Cheddar Cheese on Whole Grain, topped with a grape and a walnut.
* Tomato soup with Real Sharp Cheddar Cheese on Whole Grain on the side (or dunked into the soup!)

The best thing about the ideas above (well, the second-best thing, actually; the best thing about them is how yummy they are) is that they're all totally portable, so I can easily pack these into my kids' school lunchboxes once school starts. It's a delicious, easy way for them to increase their consumption of whole grains!

The Blah
Having been raised on genuine sharp English cheddar and the stinkiest cheeses available, I'm not surprised that my kids didn't care much for the Real Cheddar Cheese on Whole Grain or the 100 Calorie Nip Chee sandwich crackers (they found both varieties tasteless), but I can see how many kids might like the mild cheesy taste. And because my kids are always on the go, the 100 Calorie snack packs didn't really fill them up; they ended up eating two packets anyway. For 190 calories, I think 1 pack of the Whole Grain variety, with 3 grams of fiber, is more filling and nutritious than 2 of the 100 Calorie packs.

The Bottom Line
We're big fans of Lance's new Whole Grain line of sandwich crackers! They've got the nutrition of whole grain, taste great and fill you up, which makes them a great option to pack into my kids' lunchboxes. And the 100 Calorie packs are a great way for calorie counters to control their portion size -- but not their appetites.

Here's what Lance Crackers has to say about their new snack lines:
Snack to School with Lance…

The end of summer is a busy time for moms getting kids excited and ready to go back to school. There’s shopping for clothes, shoes and school supplies plus the challenge of finding sensible snack and lunch options that moms can feel good about packing…and the entire family will actually eat!

With no preservatives, no trans fat and no high fructose corn syrup, Lance Sandwich Crackers can be part of your back to school plan. Every Lance sandwich cracker is baked fresh with real peanut butter or real cheese filling.

New this school year are three whole grain varieties and three 100 calorie options. Based on growing consumer interest in whole grain products, Lance replaced its wheat crackers with the launch of whole grain in the following varieties:
• Real peanut butter on whole grain crackers
• Real sharp cheddar cheese on whole grain crackers
• Real cheddar cheese on whole grain crackers

For consumers looking for a portion-controlled snacking alternative that still fills them up, Lance unveiled 100 calorie sizes of its three most popular varieties.
ToastChee® Peanut Butter
100% Lance-made creamy peanut butter layered on mini-baked cheese crackers
• Toasty™ Peanut Butter
100% Lance-made creamy peanut butter layered on mini-baked, butter-flavored crackers
NipChee™ Cheddar Cheese
Real cheddar cheese layered on mini-baked, cheese-flavored crackers

Best of all is the fact that kids like the way it tastes! With more than 16 varieties, Lance Sandwich Crackers can help keep snack time fresh and satisfy even the loudest of growling tummies.

Learn more about the new 100-calorie snacks and whole grain snacks at Lance's official site. And don't forget to check out what the rest of the BlogHer Reviewers have to say about Lance snacks!

I was compensated for this BlogHer Review by Lance Snacks. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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