So, what makes an item good? What factors go into an overall rating?
A big factor these days is cost. You have to factor in local availability versus shipping from online sources, but with the cost of gasoline steadily climbing and many websites offering flat rate shipping ($4.95 to $8.99 many places no matter how large your order and so on), it is often cheaper to have it shipped than to drive across town to get it. For those of us in the boonies who have to drive a half hour to an hour to get anywhere that you can actually get anything good, online shipping can be a huge savings!
Taste is a huge factor for many, many people. If you have to choke it down, is it worth it? I know that I personally have to choke down most protein drinks, but that doesn't make them NOT worth the effort when I'm having a really bad food day. While I may not enjoy the taste and/or flavor, it doesn't take away from the convenience of getting in 26 grams of protein in just 134 calories!
Since I just mentioned it, we'll go with convenience next. Is the packaging convenient? Is the item easy to eat while on the go? Is the source convenient for you to pick up or order from? And, if whether the supplier is online or local, are they good to deal with? There's a lot more to convenience than we sometimes realize!
Pouchworthy? (A term from Melting Mama, LOL, that I use with her permission...) If you are a gastric bypass postop, is the item being reviewed worthy of filling up your teeny pouch's space with it? If you eat this, could you have made a better choice towards getting your protein in for the least amount of refined carbs and such? If I eat something that is pouchworthy for me, it means that I got a suitable amount of protein out of the meal or snack that it was part of. It was not smack full of refined/simple carbs. And, the fats and such were at reasonable levels. As I've mentioned before, I prefer that an item have fewer net carbs (total carbs minus fiber grams) than it has grams of protein. So, a pouchworthy item might, for example, be a protein bar with 20 grams of protein, but less than 20 net carbs and no more than 250 calories. Then, it could also be a crunchy/salty snack that serves to suppress a craving while getting me 9 or 10 grams of protein from a lower carb snack option such as my Kay's Naturals butter pretzel twists! And, when I stop and look at my day so far, I like to see that I have at least one gram of protein in per 10 calories eaten and no more grams of net carbs than I have grams of protein for the day. So, if I have eaten 530 calories, I like to see 50 or more grams of protein and less than 50 net carbs (way less if possible!). And, if those numbers were not close to this range, then I'd often alter my eating plan for the rest of the day so as to bring things back into perspective for the day.
Pros and Cons of each item will be part of my product reviews. I think that it is important to look at all angles when considering making a product part of your regular intake. Convenience can be important for an on the go item and if that convenience factor means that you'll get your protein in though you get in a few more calories than otherwise, it may still be a good item for you. On the other hand, if you like something simply because it tastes sinfully good, then the cons may make you realize that it is an okay occasional treat, but probably not a regular meal choice... Lots to consider!
I'm thinking that the following will be my "format" for product reviews:
Product Type (meal replacement, protein bar, snack, etc)
Where Can I Get/Find It?
And, that overall rating will range from "Yeah Baby!" to "No Way Baby!" for me. Yeah Baby items will be tasty, affordable, convenient, and SO totally pouchworthy! No Way Baby items may be too high in refined carbs, too lacking in flavor or taste, not high enough in protein for the calorie/carb counts, and so many other things may factor into a No Way Baby rating! Yeah Baby is a 5 on a 1 to 5 scale where 5 is the best you can get. On that same scale, No Way Baby might be a 0 or a 1! Somewhere in the middle, you will find "Maybe Baby" (a 3 perhaps?). Pouchworthy items would be a solid 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 is the best rating.
Please take a minute to comment on items you'd like to see reviewed--both specific items as well as types of items and what sort of things you look for in a product!