For a while, I’d been looking at the Fit & Active Aldi brand of fish sticks, “made with NutraPure!” and wondering what that is. Turns out, it’s a fish protein that’s mixed into the breading of fish and seafood. It helps prevent oil from being absorbed into the fish and seafood when it is fried or sprayed to give it that fried taste. A similar product called NutraLean is made by the same company for poultry and beef products.
Well. That sounds easy. How does it translate in my kitchen?
The fish sticks are quite reasonably priced, at about $2.50 for a box that serves four, with seven sticks each. Those are my family servings. And at that price, the fish is very competitive with the national brands and even other store brands. Gotta love Aldi! The sticks are frozen, in a box, and the box is full, meaning less wasted space in my freezer, the store’s freezer, and the shipping truck. That means lower transportation cost and a lower shelf price. Win, win, win.
The fish sticks with NutraPure were terrific. Not greasy at all, and still had that fried flavor. The breading was dry as opposed to slick, and crunchy, and yes, flavorful. You know how breading will often taste like a flour and oil mix? Not these. My guys really liked them, even before discussion of the secret ingredient. The mouth feel was lighter, cleaner, and fresher. The taste was more like, gee, fish! — not grease.
Does NutraPure work? I hope so. And I think so, because I didn’t get the same gastric feeling I get after eating a full-fried version of fish sticks. I haven’t found any article, review, or flaming blog challenging the product. It certainly does not have the same effect as the product Olestra, which, you may recall, was first used in potato chips, with unpleasant side effects.
So the Fit & Active fish sticks are a definite thumbs up at Chez CT. The NutraPure ingredient gets high marks for its performance in areas of taste, texture and cost. Performance in the area of fat repellant, however, could not be measured. We’re choosing to stay neutral to positive in our judgement of NutraPure, especially since it doesn’t seem to add to the price of the fish sticks. While we don’t eat a whole lot of fish sticks, these could certainly end up on our plates again.