For the true, true stories behind this incredible foodstuff, read on.
Leather. Roll-up. Dehydrated strips. So far, the general terminology for those pliable sheets of sweet snacking have been, well, lacking. This is too bad since fruit leather is usually quite a tasty treat, although often full of extra sweeteners and fillers. Enter the wonderfully named Veggie-Go fruit and veggie snacks, a combination of fruit AND vegetables in sweet harmony, with hints of spice where appropriate.
Their newest flavor, TropiKale, blends the deep green savoriness of kale with enlightening kiwi and mango, and a touch of pumpkin for intrigue. With each package counting for a half-serving of vegetables and a half-serving of fruit, you've got some serious nutritional bases covered. Not like most of us need a fruit leather to bump up our recommended daily veggie consumption, but each extra bit of nutrition is A-OK for anyone, paleo or not.
One thing you'll notice with these strips: they are CHEWY. Really wonderfully chewy, not easy to dissolve, not yielding to the slightest chomp. This gives a level of satisfaction that isn't present in many fruit and nut bars, or even crispy dried fruits. Though the strips are small, they pack a jaw-working punch far bigger than their heft. Be prepared to work out sweet bits from your teeth for a few minutes after you eat this—that's one caveat emptor I'm willing to take.
The TropiKale flavor seriously wowed me for a few reasons. First, the sweetness is mild even compared to the rest of the line-up—the kale is holding its own against the fruity ingredients. The sense that you are eating something very GREEN is apparent, and the kiwi adds some brightness to a strip that could otherwise be too cloying with the addition of dates or another sweet fruit. The pumpkin is barely detectable, but it serves, just like the kale, to balance the sweet with savory in a goldilocks kind of way.
Why TropiKale Veggie-Go is so good for you
No Added Sugar! – We don’t add any sweeteners at all! We feel that whole fruits and veggies have the perfect amount of natural sugar. Each strip only has 2-4 grams of sugar, all naturally occurring in the fruits and veggies. Unlike most conventional fruit strips, we do not use any fruit concentrates for added sweetness.
Organic – Veggie-Go’s are made from only organic fruits and veggies. By only using organic fruits and vegetables we insure that no unwanted pesticides or toxic chemicals are sneaking into your body. When things are dried (like Veggie-Go’s and all fruit strips are), everything in them is concentrated. This includes any pesticides or chemicals. This means that choosing organic is even more important with dried snacks. Another benefit is that organic produce has to use and continually develop its own natural disease defenders (antioxidants) rather than suppressing them when they are protected by pesticides in conventional practices.
100% natural. Nothing funny here. We are not “tricking” your body! If it smells like cinnamon, it's cinnamon. If it tastes like berries, it's berries. Imagine that!
Whole Foods – Veggie-Go’s are made from whole fruits and whole veggies. We puree the whole fruit or veggie so that you are getting all of the goodness nature has to offer.
A truly healthy snack for kids! – Kid’s snacks tend to be loaded with sugar, artificial flavorings and colors. Not Veggie-Go’s, with less than 4g of sugar, all from the fruits and veggies themselves, and never artificial colors or flavors. We think organic fruits and veggies are plenty colorful and flavorful!
Here are some of the amazing ingredients in Veggie-Go's TropiKale:
Kale is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. Its nutrient-density is off the charts, and its health benefits are incredibly impressive. Here are some of the wondrous things about kale:
- Kale is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, not to mention plenty of minerals, dietary fiber, protein, and antioxidants.
- Long associated with blood clotting, vitamin K is a powerful anti-oxidant that protects fat. It is a key co-factor need to make the specialized fats called sphingolipids that create the structure of our brain cells, and it promotes brain cells being more resilient by influencing gene expression. Vitamin K is also needed for bone health, and kale happens to be a great source of another bone-builder.
- Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants. Some of the most powerful phytonutrients in kale are sulfurophane, which helps your body's natural detox power, kaempferol, which turns on the genes that promote longer life, carotenoids, which are linked to one's overall sense of optimism, and glucosinolates, known cancer fighters.
- The fiber in kale is naturally filling and promotes better gut health.
- Kale is high in calcium. Studies of calcium absorption from kale have shown its absorption to be superior to milk. Unlike many other greens such as spinach, kale has almost no oxalates that impair absorption.
- Kale is high in iron, which is essential for good health, such as the formation of hemoglobin and enzymes, transporting oxygen to various parts of the body, cell growth, and proper liver function.
Vitamin A WOW: Just 1/4 cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin contains more than 50 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which aids vision, particularly in dim light, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Pumpkins are also rich in carotenoids, the compounds that give the gourd their bright orange color, including beta-carotene, which the body converts into a form of vitamin A for additional peeper protection.
Other nutrients that pumpkin is a power-hitter on include: Vitamin C, fiber, and potassium. It's a veggie with punch.
How to eat Veggie-Gos:
Fruit leather has at least one thing going for it (including Veggie-Gos): it is pretty indestructible. Here are places you could stash a few packs and have some reasonable assurance they'd still be intact after the zombie apocalypse:
- Your gym bag
- Desk drawer
- Pocket of yoga pants / running shorts / lulu-things
- That epic black hole of a purse or messenger bag you carry around
- Car door pocket
- Your cupboards
- Any friend's cupboards where you regularly visit and they forget that you rarely eat ice cream for dessert and yet you have this wee little craving for something sweet...
- Nightstand drawer
- Medicine cabinet
- Geocache box
- Kid's backpack (especially the kale flavor, since it's green)
- In the cookie jar
- Use as a bookmark
- Your glovebox
- Under the seat of your car because it fell out of the door pocket and ever since then you've not been able to find it....
About Veggie-Go, in their own words
We started making Veggie-Go’s in January 2011 after returning home to Boulder, Colorado after a year of living, working, and most importantly eating on organic farms in Greece, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and France. We became addicted to the way we were eating on the farms where our diets were made up almost entirely of the fresh, organic produce we were growing.
Upon returning home we were shocked by the American way of eating and what was being called “food”. We decided to take matters into our own hands and create a snack the embodied the fresh, organic produce we were growing; but that also fit into the American on-the-go lifestyle. And thus Veggie-Go’s were born!
Our initial goal was simply to sell Veggie-Go’s at our local farmers market. The response was overwhelmingly positive and our customers encouraged us to try to get Veggie-Go’s into some of the local health food stores. As soon as we did, we quickly realized that we were the only ones putting veggies in a fruit leather. That just added fuel to our fire and ever since we have been working tirelessly to bring Veggie-Go’s to a store near you!
John - Founder and CEO
Lisa - Founder and President
Lisa is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a Certified Personal Trainer with a B.A. in Integrative Physiology from the University of Colorado. Lisa owns the personal training practice Body Intelligence Fitness in Boulder, CO. As well as having a passion for fitness and nutrition, Lisa loves hiking and rock climbing.
John developed a passion for sustainable food while earning a B.S. in mechanical engineering at The University of Colorado. John loves cooking, rock climbing, and traveling.
Even more about Veggie-Go and their commitment to health and sustainability
Organic – We feel that the number one way we can make Veggie-Go’s a sustainable choice for your snack and make a positive impact on our world is by committing fully to organic. We only use organic ingredients and organic processing methods to make Veggie-Go’s. Not only does this mean that there are no chemicals or pesticides getting into your Veggie-Go’s, it also means that fossil fuels are not being used to fix nitrogen into chemical fertilizer or to make pesticides. As much as forty percent of energy used in the food system goes towards the production of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. Organic farming also ensures that nothing nasty is being introduced into our water systems. After all, we are all downstream.
Non-GMO – As well as being Organic, Veggie-Go’s are also verified Non-GMO by The Non-GMO project. The effects that GMOs have on our bodies are still unknown in the long term. We don’t think our kids should be the guinea pigs.
Wrap – This is one of the most challenging aspects to being a sustainable snack, and unfortunately there is not a truly sustainable option out there right now. Our solution is to use the smallest amount of plastic that we can, while continuing to search for a better option. There are compostable wrappers out there, and in fact we used them when we started. The problem is that the shelf life was too short and we had to throw our spoiled product, which is definitely not sustainable.
Here are answers to some of your most important questions!
Half a serving of fruits and veggies each? Really?
Every strip has 1/2 serving of fruit and 1/2 serving of veggies. This is because we start with about 1/4 cup of fruit and 1/4 cup of veggies which gets much smaller when dried.
Why Veggie-Gos and not some other kind of fruit leather?
The first difference is that we add tons of veggies into our Veggie-Go’s. We use whole, organic fruits and veggies. By using whole fruits and veggies you get all of the nutrients and goodness as nature intended. Most other fruit strips are made from fruit puree concentrate (usually apple) with a small amount of juice concentrate and flavors to give it the desired taste. That makes our competitors high in sugar and low in nutrition (not to mention flavor). Veggie-Go’s have no added sugar and only 2-4 grams of naturally occurring sugar. Most fruit strips have 8-12g.