About two years ago, I discovered a new healthy and portable snack that was being sold at a quick service lunch spot near my office. I like to keep nutritious snacks such as almonds and granola bars in my office desk in the event I work through lunch or need to calm the hunger pangs, so this particular snack caught my eye. I had also been eating a lot of quinoa, so I figured I would enjoy a snack food made up of mostly quinoa and almonds. After my first bag of i heart keenwah (the phonetic pronunciation of “quinoa”) almond quinoa clusters, I was hooked.
At the time, i heart keenwah products were only sold at specialty stores, and only a few varieties of the clusters were offered. Now, however, they are sold at over 1,000 places across the country, including more than 60 right here in Chicago, and five different iterations are available, including almond, cranberry cashew, chocolate sea salt, ginger peanut, and peanut butter cacao.
Quinoa, which has been touted by health experts as the only whole grain that is a complete source of protein, is the main ingredient in each of the five varieties of i heart keenwah snack products. They are gluten-free, the quinoa is 100% organic, and contains no processed or chemical-based ingredients. Nutritionally speaking, each variety of i heart keenwah contains about 120-130 calories per 1 ounce serving (7 or 8 pieces), so each piece has 15-20 calories.
Recently, the nice folks at i heart keenwah sent me a bag of each of the five varieties of quinoa clusters, along with a nifty tote bag. I was excited to try the new varieties that I had not seen before, including the peanut butter cacao, which is my new favorite. Made up of organic quinoa, peanuts, tapioca syrup, raw sugar, honey, organic dark chocolate, organic brown rice crisps, organic cacao nibs, baking soda, and salt, these tasty nuggets satisfy my sweet tooth as much as my hunger.
A close second to the peanut butter cacao is the ginger peanut. I absolutely love the spiciness of the crystallized ginger cooked into the clusters. In addition to the organic quinoa and crystallized ginger, the other ingredients are peanuts, tapioca syrup, raw sugar, honey, brown rice crisps, almond oil, baking soda, and salt.
For those looking for a salty and sweet combination, the chocolate sea salt is sure to please. Organic quinoa and organic dark chocolate are the highlights of these tasty morsels, in addition to almonds, tapioca syrup, dried cane syrup, honey, brown rice crisps, almond oil, baking soda, and salt.
My former favorite, and still a great basic option, are the almond clusters, simply prepared with organic quinoa, lmonds, tapioca syrup, dried cane syrup, honey, almond oil, baking soda, and salt.
The sweetest variety, which is reminiscent of a scone or muffin, is the cranberry cashew, made up of organic quinoa, almonds, tapioca syrup, dried cane syrup, honey, almond oil, baking soda, and salt.
I recommend stashing a few bags of i heart keenwah in your desk drawer for a mid-morning or afternoon treat, your gym bag for a post-workout pick-me-up, and even in your suitcase or carry-on for a convenient travel snack. No matter the flavor, the peanut-brittle-like consistency will satisfy your sweet tooth, and the quinoa, nuts and other proteins will fill you up and keep you satisfied.