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Cubicle Cuisine Test: Mini Babybel Cheeses


By Mary_RD on Jun 16, 2009 12:00 PM in Tips & Updates
Edited By +Rachel Berman

This week, our Cubicle Cuisine reviewers sampled a 100% natural product made without additives, colors or flavorings: Mini Babybel® cheeses! The testers tried Mini Babybel® Original and Light, both Edam cheeses, made with whole and part-skim milk. Mini Babybels are available in other varieties, including Gouda, Cheddar and Bonbel (Swiss Emmental).  

Before we look at nutrition and taste, let’s get to the best part – the packaging. Each Mini Babybel is an adorable 3/4-ounce cheese round encased in a colorful protective wax jacket and packaged in counts of 6 or 12 in a white plastic mesh.  The wax, which is non-toxic made with dyes of plant origin, is removed by pulling a center tab to split the casing in two.  That little action appeals to the kid in everyone, and then, even better, the wax makes an amusing plaything to roll around and mold.

Nutrition-wise, cheese is a mixed bag. It is a nutrient dense food that provides a high concentration of nutrients relative to its calorie count. Cheese supplies lots of protein, calcium, phosphorous, zinc, Vitamin A, and other essential nutrients. But it also furnishes fat and saturated fat depending on whether the milk-base is whole, reduced fat or nonfat. The sodium content is almost always high because of the salts added during cheese-making.

Mini Babybels contain these ingredients: milk, salt, milk ferments, vegetarian rennet, vitamin A, and vitamin B12.  Mini Babybel Light received an A- grade due to a relatively low saturated fat and sodium content.  Original and other non-light varieties earned a C+ grade because each serving has 4 grams of saturated fat - one quarter of the daily limit on a 1600 calorie diet.  Mini Babybels are suitable for lacto-vegetarians.
 
But our reviewers focused on the taste and convenience, and this is what they said about Mini Babybel® Original and Light Cheese:

(1)  Describe the taste

Mini Babybels are very mild cheeses – along the lines of string cheese or Monterey jack.  Some reviewers preferred the Light because it was less salty, others preferred the Original because it was more salty, and still others found no difference between the two cheeses at all.

(2)  Describe the texture

All reviewers said the Original was creamy, but only half said the same about the Light.  One called the Light “stringy”.  All reviewers longed for a cracker with their cheese.

(3)  What did you like about it?

The calories are low and there is no temptation to eat more than one.
It satisfied hunger for several hours and salt cravings too.  These babies were fun to pop into the mouth whole.  

(4) What didn’t you like about it?

The wax casing and tab could be annoying and it left a cheesy residue on the fingers.  The need for refrigeration is inconvenient. (Note: The producer says it is fine to take Mini Babybels to school and work in a lunchbox, or to take them on a picnic provided they are kept in a cool environment that is not in direct sunlight.)

(5)  Did it satisfy your snack craving?

Yes, but they still wanted crackers.

(6)  Would you recommend this snack to your friends?

All reviewers would recommend the Original, but only some recommended the Light.

(7)  How does this food compare to similar and competing products?

Babybels have more heft than The Laughing Cow wedges.  Kids might prefer to eat cheese in this form.


Summary:

As a dietitian, I make room in my diet for cheese.  It is a meat-substitute, and so I eat it instead of - not in addition to - meat sometimes.  Because I normally eat lots of plant foods, I am usually under my saturated fat and sodium daily goals.  But, I liked the Light version and so I would buy it for lunch and snacks.  I would save my "splurge cheese calories" for a fine French Brie with my friends on Saturday night.  When my daughter was little, I would pack Mini Babybels in her lunchbox for a "Meat Group" food.  I don't think the cost is prohibitive because there is no waste and you're paying for high quality protein.

Question for you:
Do you go for Mini Babybels?

Nutrition Facts:

Mini Babybel® Original

Mini Babybel® Light

 

Update:

Since we wrote this article, we’ve determined there were a few factual errors we want to correct. Mini Babybel® are semi-soft cheeses, packaged in counts of 6, 22 or 28. The mesh is not white on all of the flavors, and the wax is not edible (the article mentioned that it’s non-toxic but we don’t want to create the impression that it can be eaten). The ingredients in Mini Babybel® Original and Light are pasteurized cultured milk, salt, and enzymes. Finally, we wrote that Mini Babybel® should be kept in a cool environment, but we should be more specific and mention that these products should be refrigerated.



Comments


i do niot like these much. not really bad but not that good. might as well spend my cals on some cheese i like more:)



I love the light babybels.  It's a nice change from part-skim mozzarella cheese sticks and one is filling.  My kids love them too.  The wax jacket reminds me of pac-man! 



mmm i want some Baybel cheese now



this snack was my little childhood snack..... so im always up for it!



Big fan of these and Costco sells them in bulk.



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I never eat them these days, but we always had them when the kids were young, it's an easy snack for them.  I think the light is fine and for the difference in calories and fat I'd choose the light over the regular.  Actually this is one cheese that doesn't make me want crackers:  no slicing necessary, a slice of cheese screams out for a cracker :)



WOW I did not realize that my fav was on a good list somewhere! I do not buy them alot because thought it would be bad and they are kind of expensive, I am going to check BJ's because one of our members says Costco sells in bulk, thanks for that info! Started over again yesterday, I am a wagon jumper!!!  Hope to have great news next week at this time!



I really do love cheese but tend not to eat it too often except when I see my son cutting cheese for crackers I always steal a piece.  yum! I will definitely buy these little goodies and treat myself once in awhile.  Substituting cheese for meat is an idea I never thought of..thanks for that!  This is a great website for nutritional info.  Looking forward to the next great tip.   I'm thinkin'...cheese 'n egg for breaky...



Persoanlly I'd rather have a really thin slice of mature Edam, Gouda, Cheddar anything of that sort and latelyI've perfected cutting really skinny slices .SO I can enjoy 2 ryvita, 7g mature cheddar and 15g Brie as an evening snack. This is great it comes in at below 150 calories and satisifes my snack urges on all fronts. So no I won't be buying what I consider to be an expensive piece fo cheese although I can see the appeal for those of you that have to pack lunch boxes.



I LOVE these!! I liked to eat them with an apple for an afternoon snack. I think for the difference in fat/calories the Lite is the way to go! And yeah, Costco or Sam's club has the best pricing.


Just a quick observation...the way the 'blogs' are set up with 'lines' separating each, it appears the name at the end of one's comment belongs to the above, but it does not.  I said to myself...Self, that's not you!?...when I read my comment.  Oh well, guess it's just moi!     carry on, folks.



Our household goes through a Costco sized package of these a month.  I really enjoy them as an occasional high protein snack eating 1 - 3 a week.  My husband eats about 5 a week.  Our diet is high in fruits and vegetables and I especially enjoy them for breakfast on my meatless day.  Even were they available in the light variety at Costco I do not think I would buy them as the caloric difference is not enough to sacrifice the taste.  Smile  The only problem is as they get a little older they are not as creamy, so remember this before rushing to Costco to buy your oversized red mesh baggie.



Cheese is my biggest diet fault. Screw sugary foods and chocolate, cheese is addictive. One of these a day satasfies that without adding too many calories to my diet and also including nutrients.



I prefer the lower calorie skinny cow wedges. They are only 30 calories and are so yummy!!! They are also cheaper!



I love the Babybel Light, and will eat them for a snack if I'm feeling particularly peckish.

I love them on ritz crackers, but have stopped this since I started dieting - but I still find them satisfying. Smile

I live in the UK, so we don't have a Costco here Frown, so I tend to buy them in nets of 6.



I LOVE the Light Mini-Babybel cheeses. They taste no different to me than the originals. If you were given a blind taste tests I bet you couldn't tell the difference. I eat them for a in between meals snack. Very filling. I would recommend. Also, my 9 year old loves them :)



I LOVE the Light Mini-Babybel cheeses. They taste no different to me than the originals. If you were given a blind taste tests I bet you couldn't tell the difference. I eat them for a in between meals snack. Very filling. I would recommend. Also, my 9 year old loves them :)



I think the light ones are very flavorful especially compared to string cheese.  I eat one with an apple and it is very fulfilling.



Original Post by: bettergetonit

Just a quick observation...the way the 'blogs' are set up with 'lines' separating each, it appears the name at the end of one's comment belongs to the above, but it does not.  I said to myself...Self, that's not you!?...when I read my comment.  Oh well, guess it's just moi!     carry on, folks.


LOL... too cute!  Though, it can be confusing..... 

 

 



Love all the Babybel cheeses, but especially the Light. That's a great idea from ebayna to eat one with an apple. I also agree with ebayna that they are more satisfying than string cheese. Personally, I also have fun with the wax coating  after I take it off the cheese. One reason that I especially value is when I am traveling by plane. They are easy to carry - I just take them from the refrigerator into a small insulated pouch just before I leave for the airport.



I don't buy anything but Wisconsin cheese.  I can't look our WI cows in the eye if I have consumed cheese produced outside the sate-- I'm certain they know I have been "cheating on them" with the California Cows.  Wisconsin cows have also informed me that they are MUCH Happier than those "beach bums in CA" and I am inclined to believe them.  I have yet to meet an unhappy dairy cow in WI :)



I was so excited to see you review these!  These are one of my favorite snacks.  A piece of cheese and a piece of fruit (apple, orange, pear, etc) makes such a great satisfying snack/small meal.  YUM!  The wax really is fun to play with too.



Original Post by: thebestisyettocome

I LOVE the Light Mini-Babybel cheeses. They taste no different to me than the originals. If you were given a blind taste tests I bet you couldn't tell the difference. I eat them for a in between meals snack. Very filling. I would recommend. Also, my 9 year old loves them :)


I live in the UK, so we don't have a Costco here , so I tend to buy them in nets of 6.

 

thebestisyettocome - Jun 16, 2009 05:38 PM

 

Ther's Costco's in the UK, I used to shop in the Watford adn Reading stores go to their UK web site adn you can find your nearest. It's a really great shop for bargains, meat, books all sorts and if you have the space bulk buying. Just stay away from the bakery and you'll be fine :o)



I love Babybels and eat them weekly in the lunches I pack for work. Usually as an afternoon snack when I need something satisfying...my afternoons are looooonng. I carry little freezer packs in my lunch, since I enjoy yogurts, cottage cheese, soups and meat sandwiches for lunch...and I avoid the break room refrigerator.

Until I read this review, I was happy with the plain cheese and didn't think of crackers. Thanks a lot! But I feel certain I can enjoy the cheese alone. I prefer the full fat version since the light was more rubbery like that awful string mozzarella (yuck). I tried the cheddar, and it was OK, but other cheddars are more satisfying to me.

I frequently eat cheese in place of meat, especially during the day. My dinners tend to be very meaty.

I do enjoy the packaging and was not aware of any residue...I'm glad it's non-toxic and all. And yes, it does remind me of pacman. Kyoooot

 



Original Post by: mz_understood

I don't buy anything but Wisconsin cheese.  I can't look our WI cows in the eye if I have consumed cheese produced outside the sate-- I'm certain they know I have been "cheating on them" with the California Cows.  Wisconsin cows have also informed me that they are MUCH Happier than those "beach bums in CA" and I am inclined to believe them.  I have yet to meet an unhappy dairy cow in WI :)


I'm like you-- from Minnesota but with the personal belief that cheese should come from the Midwest. Period. And preferably either MN or WI. Smile



Original Post by: figurethefat

I never eat them these days, but we always had them when the kids were young, it's an easy snack for them.  I think the light is fine and for the difference in calories and fat I'd choose the light over the regular.  Actually this is one cheese that doesn't make me want crackers:  no slicing necessary, a slice of cheese screams out for a cracker :)


I agree, babybel is one of the few cheeses that I don't feel deprived if I can't have a cracker.  It's a super indulgent snack for me to have that and a half glass of wine while watching a favorite TV show.  One babybel satisfys my cheese craving, and I'm not hungry for at least an hour after having one, so unless your fat intake is high I think this is a great choice.



Original Post by: mz_understood

I don't buy anything but Wisconsin cheese.  I can't look our WI cows in the eye if I have consumed cheese produced outside the sate-- I'm certain they know I have been "cheating on them" with the California Cows.  Wisconsin cows have also informed me that they are MUCH Happier than those "beach bums in CA" and I am inclined to believe them.  I have yet to meet an unhappy dairy cow in WI :)


But our Cows are MUCH happier in the winter lol Tongue out



I LOVE ~~~~~~~~~

Mini Babybel® Cheeses!


Original Post by: mz_understood

I don't buy anything but Wisconsin cheese.  I can't look our WI cows in the eye if I have consumed cheese produced outside the sate-- I'm certain they know I have been "cheating on them" with the California Cows.  Wisconsin cows have also informed me that they are MUCH Happier than those "beach bums in CA" and I am inclined to believe them.  I have yet to meet an unhappy dairy cow in WI :)


I couldn't look any cow in the eye if I was consuming cheese..Frown



I adore these - the quality is excellent and all the flavors are good.  I think the Light is WONDERFUL and unlike other lower-fat cheese it's not RUBBERY.

Instead of a cracker... I like these for lunch with grapes or an apple and a hard-cooked egg... adn perhaps some fresh veggies.Foot in mouth



I used to eat these a lot in middle school and gradeschool. They're very good as a light snack, but other low-fat cheeses (like mozzerella) are also substitutable.



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I love them. I eat them all the time! I eat foods that are largely low on the glycemic index, so these are a great snack - even without crackers. They also do cure a hunger attack, in spite of the fact they are quite small.

I don't like the light ones. I just bought some last week and either they were a bad batch or else just kind of yukky.



I cut these up into wedges and eat them with cut up apples or pears as an afternoon snack. Yummy!



These are great snacks to put in your golf bag. Quick, tastey and have a lasting effect.  We always have  a  dozen or so in the fridge.



i loved the mini babybels.....altho as mentioned where are those crackers!!



How much are standard packs usually in the US?



Too expensive for the convience. Any time you make packaging a prime ingredient the price goes up.



I hate that cheese, it sucks.  Too salty for one thing.  Expensive for the size and one can definitely find better cheeses than that to satisfy.



I love them and they melt like a dream! I buy the mini-lights.....and I also have the French Onion wedges. I like to dip whole grain pretzels for a great snack!



I eat a mini babybel light every weekday with 17 special k crackers as a snack.  For 140 calories, you simply can't beat it.  It's yummy and totally satisfies!  I actually prefer the light to the original for both texture and taste.  Mmmmmmm.



I discovered these for myself a few months ago when I was trying to find something relatively healthy, low calorie and soul satisfying for a snack.  One of the minibels, with some fruit works well for me.



I love these too; just bought a bunch, original, cheddar and one more new flavor that I can;t remember right now! The cheddar is not my favorite as it tastes more cheese-foody to me and I like really sharp cheddar like extra sharp cracker barrel but I LOVE the original. It really it satisfying for such a small amount.

I am willing to pay more for packaging to get my cheese portion controlled. It's painful to pay so much more but otherwise I WILL EAT the whole darn thing!!!

I love cheese!

Laura



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LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these.  One of the best things about them is one or two and a few wheat thins will make a meal.  The second best thing is the wax wrapping.  They keep FAR longer than anything wrapped in plastic and if you take them camping, the melting ice in the cooler doesn't make them all slimy because the wax is perfectly waterproof.    I can't wait until I can add these back into my diet.  (currently on HCG - no cheese allowed!)



I just love these Babybel cheeses both reg. and light...but then again I love all cheeses...think I may have been a mouse in a previous life (HAHA)



I love the Mini Babybel cheeses.  Here in South Africa I've only found the Gouda flavour (both Light and Full), but I do so love them.  So much fun to sneak them out of their mesh and then peel them and eat them, all the while playing with the wax and relieving tension.

But I do have to confess that I can't stop at just one.  I tend to eat the whole bag of 6.  Yes, I know... bad bad girl.  But oh well.... you only live once and life is short enough as is.



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