CalorieMate Block


All around the U.S. Schools are starting to go into exam season. There are two things I remember most about finals in College; stress and eating poorly. When I wasn't eating instant ramen or easy mac and studying furiously I was at the local pub eating a bacon cheeseburger with curly fries and celebrating with friends. This is the normal finals regimen for most students and it is probably why a few days after finals pretty much everyone gets sick and spends a good portion of whatever vacation ill. Today I am reviewing what I am sure to be one of the foundations for Japan's academic success, the CalorieMate block.

I love the utilitarian packaging. I have a thing for when packing and a product makes a ridiculous amount of sense. I am perhaps one of the few human beings on the planet that would look forward to picking my MREs when going camping. You will notice (if you followed the handy MRE link) that the packaging is similar.

I also enjoy well designed and attractive packaging as well. Well designed and attractive packaging is something that Japan does very well. In the U.S. we attempt to do this but always fall woefully short.

The back (or front depending how its placed on the shelf I guess) has the lovely Japanese text. I have to say I prefer the nutritional breakdown box on the Japanese side better than the list style on the English side.

Here is everything unpacked. Each box comes with two foil wrapped packages which each contain two blocks. The little packages are definitely backpack friendly, for the student, camper, otaku, road-tripper etc.

You can tell a bit from the picture but it is similar in consistency to shortbread. In fact, from the list of ingredients Shortbread is probably the base of the recipe using vegetable oil instead of butter as the fat.

This particular bar is the “Fruit” flavored CalorieMate Block. It is flavored primarily with lemon zest and almond.

My final verdict on these is that I really wish they were readily available in the states. I would definitely be eating these for breakfast with a banana every morning if I could. As I mentioned before they would also be great for students, campers, and just busy people alike; just like the packaging says (go figure). So how does it taste? Well I wouldn't recommend it if I didn't think they tasted good. They are probably less sweet than you might expect which is kind of a good thing. Most “health” bars in the U.S. Are so full of sugar in the form of caramel, chocolate, or molasses that really you might as well eat a pop tart or stick a candy bar in some oatmeal. This is another great product from Japan and you can get it from a variety of online retailers but I personally got mine from J-List.

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