The Trader Joe’s Snack My Whole Family Is Obsessed With — Even the Dog

published Aug 23, 2018
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(Image credit: Diana Liang)

I have a confession to make: My entire family is obsessed with a snack food that I initially purchased for my toddler.

Like many new moms, I stressed over the importance of introducing peanut butter into my child’s diet. Too soon? Too late? A spoonful? A smudge? I worried about an instant allergic reaction, but perhaps not as much as I worried about my child’s future, potentially stuck at the “nut-free” table in his cafeteria, taunted by fluffernutters and PB&Js for the rest of his life.*

(Image credit: Trader Joe’s)

When I asked my pediatrician at my son’s 6-month checkup, he assured me it was time to test the creamy/crunchy waters, but I didn’t need to go full JIF if I wasn’t ready. “Try Bamba,” he said. I smiled, nodded, and furiously Googled, as any millennial mom would do. And as I discovered, the cult of the Bamba snack is real.

What the heck is Bamba?

First manufactured in Israel in 1964, Bamba is a crunchy corn snack made of just four ingredients — corn grits, peanut paste, palm oil, and salt. It looks like a Cheeto puff, if it traded its cheese for a light peanut butter shower. They’re light, chewy, surprisingly flavorful, and perfect for tiny hands.

It also happens to be Israel’s most popular snack, with 90 percent of Israeli homes calling it a pantry staple. And a 2015 story in the New England Journal of Medicine highlights Bamba’s role in preventing peanut allergies, after noticing that Israeli Jewish infants were far less likely to develop peanut allergies than their British counterparts.

The growing obsession with Bamba

The original Israeli import is available via Amazon Prime, but as anyone with a toddler knows, even two-day shipping can feel like forever. So I ran to my local Trader Joe’s — the store that has single-handedly brought Bamba Stateside (and at just 99 cents per 3.5-ounce bag, to boot) and scooped up a bag to try. I gave my son a puff, and the rest was history. He. Was. Hooked. And so were we.

(Image credit: Mikela Kinnison)

What began as a casual “Oh, he’s not eating that one,” grew into a “One for you, one for mom and dad” obsession. Even the dog gets in on the action, often catching them mid-air as a puff (or two) accidentally falls from the table. Now, as my son approaches 15 months, we’re at the point that everyone, canine included, can recognize the orange and white bag, a now-ubiquitous mainstay in our home. Even my mother-in-law is in love, requesting regular care packages to her small town.

My family isn’t the only one drinking the peanut-flavored Kool-Aid, if you will. A quick Google search yields loads of praise for the peanut-y goodness. Like this testimonial, from The New York Times. Or this article from Eater. The hype is out there, and we ate it up, both literally and figuratively. So, get yourself to a Trader Joe’s and get ready to meet your new obsession. If they don’t knock your socks off, I know a dog who will happily take them off your hands.

*In all seriousness, nut allergies are no laughing matter, and I feel for those who must deal live that reality. My Reese’s-loving heart goes out to you.

Have you tried Bamba peanut snacks from Trader Joe’s? What’d you think?