I’ve been a Dixie Diners’ Club (not a club, just the name) customer for years. I hadn’t been buying Dixie Diner products for a long time as I cut back on soy. Recently, I decided to try some of the products again especially the low carb ones. I used to be a big fan of the Nutlettes and added them to yogurt. I guess I got tired of them and they lost their appeal.

If you eat enough Dixie Diner products, you’ll recognize the soy flavors.

Apple Cinnamon Instant Hot Cereal: The first time I tried this, it was awful. Zero flavor with no hope until I came up with a few ideas to tweak it. I added one packet of sugar substitute and cinnamon to turn the cereal into a basic oatmeal light on flavor. Then I substitute the hot cereal for the oatmeal in Hungry Girl’s Complete and Utter Oatmeal Insanity recipe. The recipe turned the hot cereal into a creamier cereal with fall flavors from the pumpkin and cinnamon. Therefore, the hot cereal makes a great low carb substitute for recipes calling for oatmeal. Nutrition: 90 calories, 1g fat, 0g sat fat, 110mg sodium, 8g carbs, 5g fiber, 3g net carbs and 12g protein. Rating based on original instructions: 0.5/5. Rating based on tweaks: 3.5/5.

Caramel-Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread: This Dixie Diner version of monkey / pull-apart bread Smapshardly satisfies. I didn’t like it enough to bother with the whole package. It tastes like flavorless cakey biscuits. The cinnamon-caramel mixture had a little cinnamon flavor, but I didn’t detect the caramel. Of course, the photo on Dixie Diner’s site shows the bread completely covered with topping. In reality, the bread looked mostly bread-colored with scant topping. I made the bread as described on the mix complete with eggs. For the topping, I subbed the whipping cream and butter with Greek Yogurt and Smart Balance buttery spread. Nutrition for three balls: 78 calories, 1g fat, 8g carbs, 5g fiber, 3g net carbs, 2g sugars and 2g protein. Rating: 2/5

Cinnamon Streusel Swirl Muffin Mix: Making the muffins was tricky. Oh, mixing the ingredients came easy. But when it came to spooning the mix into the muffin pan, I got  the portions wrong. By the time I finished the first spooning and added streusel topping, I had to spoon them again. Well, I didn’t have enough to cover half of them. So I spooned too much. No matter, I worked it out. I made these with egg beaters and one egg white. I omitted the butter. The sour cream and water replaced the butter. Bland, weird taste that I can’t describe. The odd flavor turned me off enough that I couldn’t finish the muffin. Nutrition for one muffin based on following original recipe: 76 calories, 41 calories from fat, 9g carbs, 5g fiber, 4g net carbs, 2g sugars and 2g protein. Rating: 1/5

Cup o’ chili: Cold winter hit making it a great time to eat chili. The sauce has a gentle spiciness to it without punching my sensitive stomach. The meat substitute tastes bland by itself. Take a bite of the meat with the sauce for a decent hot lunch of spicy sauce (not thick) with chunks of meat substitute. You could add cheese and cut vegetables like onions, tomatoes and bell pepper. Nutrition: 109 calories, 1g fat, 0g sat fat, 369mg sodium, 10g carbs, 5g fiber, 5g net carbs, 1g sugar and 16g protein. Rating: 2/5

Marshmallow Mix: Add 3/4 cup of warm water to the power mix and mix until it’s fluffy and stiff peaks form. It’s like mixing egg whites and it tastes like dry, room temperature egg whites with no flavor or hint of sweetness. Other family members tried it — same comment. Threw it out. Nutrition: 31 calories, 0g fat, 72mg sodium, 0g carbs and 7g protein. Rating: 0.5/5

Nutlettes Granola Bar – Apple Berry: I used to eat Nutlettes all the time. They’re crunchy soy protein pieces that sometimes gave me a heartburn because of its dryness and hardiness, so I stopped eating them. Not a problem in granola bar form. The vegan granola bar tastes like oats and soy protein with bitter apple like Granny apples and berry flavors. At first, it had an odd aftertaste as Dixie Diner products occasionally have, but the fruity flavors grew on me as I chewed my way through the bar. Nutrition: 87 calories, 2g fat, 1g sat fat, 3mg sodium, 16g carbs, 10g fiber, 6g net carbs, 2g sugar and 8g protein. Rating: 3/5

Smaps Sweet Maple Cereal crunches and tastes like maple-flavored soy. When I ate them without milk, I’d get a heartburn. Can’t explain what it is about them that caused it. When I have no heartburn, I enjoy Smaps for its crunch and sweetness. While Smaps isn’t the best tasting cereal, it has great nutrition numbers! The problem is that sometimes I got carried away eating them dry. Not because they’re delicious, but because they were a low carb treat that I could have without opening a bar or another individual package. At least, it’s healthy stuff! Nutrition ( per 1/2 cup serving): 81 calories, 2g total fat, 0g sat fat, 31mg sodium, 8g carbs, 6g fiber, 2 net carbs and 15g protein. Rating: 3.5/5.

SmartBreak Cashew Crisp Protein Bar is crunchy and a little chewy at times, nutty and lightly syrupy sweet. It tastes like a sweet maple rice krispie bar with a few cashews thrown in. Nice amount of food for the low calories. The bar is about the same size as an average bar like Luna, Atkins and others. Nutrition: 69 calories, 3g fat, 1g sat fat, 0mg cholesterol, 32mg sodium, 12g carbs, 10g fiber, 2 net carbs, 1g sugars and 6g protein. Rating: 4/5

SmartBreak Crispy Chocolate Protein Bar: Odd flavor. It takes like coffee-flavored soy nuts with a salty aftertaste that lifts the chocolate flavor. Sometimes you get a little sweetness that’s more like sugar substitute flavor, not in a good way. A little off-putting yet sometimes it tastes like chocolate covered soy nuts.  Nutrition: 65 calories, 3g fat, 2g sat fat, 4mg sodium, 5g carbs, 3g fiber, 2 net carbs, 1g sugars and 6g protein. Rating: 2/5

SmartBreak Crispy Maple Pecans Protein Bar: Ooh, the mixing of sweet maple with pecans just goes nuts in your mouth. The sticky bar crunches while oozing the sweet syrup flavor followed but a toasted nutty punch. This is similar to the Cashew except replace the cashew with crunchier pecans.  Nutrition: 84 calories, 6g fat, 1g sat fat, 0mg cholesterol, 10mg sodium, 10g carbs, 9g fiber, 1 net carbs, 1g sugars and 6g protein. Rating: 4/5

SmartBreak Crispy Peanuty Protein Bar: At first, the taste was bitter. But after taking a few more bites and finding bits of peanuts, it grew on me. A very peanuty flavored bar with a crunch from crispy-like rice, probably the soy. Nutrition: 76 calories, 4g fat, 1g sat fat, 39mg sodium, 10g carbs, 9g fiber, 1 net carbs, 1g sugars and 7g protein. Rating: 3/5

Soy Rocks Crunchy Apple Flavored Bar: The bar is so soft that you can use your fingers to pull off a bite. First bite didn’t go well as it had a odd flavor. The more I chewed, the better it tasted and more like lightly sweetened apple soy. The flavor isn’t enough to make up for the great numbers in the bar. Nutrition: 81 calories, 2g fat, 1g sat fat, 3mg sodium, 16g carbs, 12g fiber, 4 net carbs, 3g sugars and 10g protein. Rating: 2/5

Soy Rocks Plus Flax Crunchy Apple Flavored Bar: The bar holds together better than some of the other bars and takes a little more effort to grab a bite. It doesn’t have the sour apple bitterness in the regular Soy Rocks bar. Strange that flax would make a difference and for the better. It tastes more like regular apple without the sour mixed with soy seeds. Not bad for a lower calorie bar full of protein and fiber. Nutrition: 90 calories, 3g fat, 1g sat fat, 3mg sodium, 15g carbs, 12g fiber, 3 net carbs, 3g sugars and 10g protein. Rating: 3/5

Sweet Cinnamon Ovenbaked Pita Chips: Well, I’d say it tastes like cardboard, but that wouldn’t be accurate especially since the chip has crunch. Maybe tasting like paper would be more accurate. And when I bite into a piece loaded with the cinnamon whatchmacallit topping, it feels like it’s loaded with chemicals and preservatives — when I know it’s not. Kind of like having sweetened sand.  Nutrition for 7 pieces: 112 calories, 9g fat, 1g sat fat, 211mg sodium, 7g carbs, 6g fiber, 1g net carb, 0g sugars and 6g protein. Rating: 1/5

Sweet Commute Clusters – Almond Toffee: This is the Dixie Diner version of popcorn. One bite and it tasted sweetened stale popcorn that’s very chewy. Occasionally, I could taste popcorn when I bit into a kernel without anything else. Nutrition for one ounce: 91 calories, 6g fat, 3g sat fat, 1mg cholesterol, 155mg sodium, 13g carbs, 10g fiber, 3 net carbs, 0g sugars and 5g protein. Rating: 2/5

Trail Mix Sticky Bar: Similar to Soy Rocks Crunchy Apple Flavored Bar in texture, this one falls apart easily if you pick it up. It does have a slight stickiness and honey-like sweetness. It tastes like soy nuts, nuts, raisins and craisins rolled in one with an occasional bitterness. This is the highest calorie of the bars I’ve tried, but its calories, carbs and sugars are lower than many trail mix bars. I question the sugars because raisins and craisins have naturally occurring sugars at 1g isn’t much.  Nutrition: 132 calories, 7g fat, 2g sat fat, 5mg sodium, 14g carbs, 9g fiber, 5 net carbs, 1g sugars and 5g protein. Rating: 3.5/5