Monday, 30 May 2016

Quaker Toasted Oats Porridge Review

Porridge is probably my most frequently eaten breakfast and something I eat most days - albeit sometimes in the form of bircher muesli in the summer. Generally I think it is worth paying just a little bit more for good oats rather than the sawdust you get in value ranges. Frankly, oats are so cheap anyway that paying an extra £1 for something that will do you breakfast for you for at least 3 weeks is hardly an expense.

So open minded to more expensive oats, I bought these new toasted oats from Quaker who are probably the most famous porridge brand, These oats are 'gently toasted for a rich and warm flavour' and can be used hot or cold.

Pouring into the bowl, they unsurprisingly looked like normal oats. I made up my porridge with Alpro almond milk and then topped with a sprinkling of seeds, nuts and granola for a nice bit of crunch. My verdict - absolutely delicious, warming and filling - but in reality no different to my normal porridge.

Don't get me wrong, they were good quality oats and made a thick, creamy porridge and there's nothing added to them - but I got no toasted flavour whatsoever. Maybe because I packed so much flavour in there with almond milk and all the toppings it got lost. It may be the toasted flavour comes out more raw in bircher muesli.

They were nice oats and I'll happily finish the box but really not worth the extra in my opinion.

Price: £2.09
Bought at Ocado
Nutrition per 40g serving: 150 calories, 3.2g fat, 0.6g sat fat, 0.4g sugars, trace salt

Score: 6.75/10

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Sibberi Birch Water Review

So it now seems coconut water is so last year and the new trend is for tree waters - maple water and birch water. Never one to not buy something new and unncessary, I snapped up this birch water from Sibberi from Boots. This birch water is nothing but pure birch sap and long favoured by Nordic folk cultures and according to Sibberi -it 'supports kidney and liver functions and speeds up the process of elimination" although that might just be hype.

However, what appealed to me was firstly it's a small 250ml bottle - 250ml is my ideal drinks size and I hate it when companies give you big 500ml bottle drinks. Secondly it's all natural - no adding sugar, sweeteners or flavourings. Thirdly nutritionally it's a much better choice than other drinks - just 4 calories per 100ml and 0.8g sugar so 2g sugar per bottle.

Opening it up, it has a slightly sweet smell. Consistency wise, it's just like water unlike the slightly thicker mouthfeel of birch water. It is definitely an acquired taste -but one I think I liked or at least I will train my palate to like after drinking it a few more time.

It's a strange taste of crisp, clear water with a tangy, sweet hit as well that has mapley and caramelly taste. I actually found the sweetness a tad sickly as I guess I find it odd for a clean water to have a mapley sweetness rather than fruit. But as said this is a very low sugar product and all natural.

I couldn't drink the bottle in one go and it doesn't feel refreshing like coconut water. However, I initially found coconut water and it took a few bottles for me to get into it so I think I would buy this again.

Price: £2.49
Bought at: Ocado 
Nutrition per 100ml: 4 calories, less than 0.1g fat, less than 0.03g sat fat
Score: 6.75/10 - but likely to go up with future drinking

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Yeo Valley Beautifully Mild Review

I love a bit of yogurt and particularly like plain yogurt - it's just an overall good, healthy snack. It's low in sugar, the sugar is natural, it can be customised and topped in all types of ways and has some calcium in along with a bit of natural fat and protein.

Yeo Valley is a good brand and just an overall feel good choice - organic and supporting British dairy and farming. I buy their natural yogurt a lot - whilst thick Greek style is my favourite yogurt choice, I prefer a slightly runnier one for breakfast and to go with fruit. Yeo have just launched this new Beautifully Mild natural yogurt - the idea being it's slightly less tart for those who find natural yogurt too sour. This seems a bit odd to me, how can you not like natural yogurt?

I kept mine fairly simply for an afternoon and added to the health benefits with a sprinkling of seeds for a bit of texture and crunch and a bit more protein. The yogurt is fairly similar to Yeo's regular natural yogurt. It's not Greek style thick but certainly thicker, more creamy and a nicer mouthfeel than cheap natural yogurt.

And actually it is maybe slightly more mild than other natural yogurts. I like the tang of regular yogurt and this is maybe a bit more muted with a mild, natural sweetness. It's not the most exciting new product ever but it's healthy, tasty and good quality. Overall a good plain yogurt especially if you don't like most others and I would certainly buy again.

Price: £1.50
Bought at: Ocado

Nutrition per 100g: 81 calories, 3g fat, 1.8g sat fat, 6.4g sugar, 7.1g protein, 0.19g salt

Score: 7.5/10

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Good Stuff Super Seaweed Peanuts Review (Holland and Barrett)

Sad as it sounds, a trip to splurge on unncessary things in Holland and Barrett is one of my favourite things and a real guilty pleasure. I had some vouchers that needed spending so popped along to gather lots of healthy little nibbles and unusual and exciting on trend ingredients. One of the many purchases (I always go overboard in H+B) was these seaweed peanuts.

They're described as 'a delicious savoury snack with whole peanuts coated in a crispy seaweed coating' and looked appetising through the clear part of the bag with lots of different colours and textures going on. I also love the new look of the bags in H+B - so colourful and bright looking. They make me happy just looking at them on the desk.

What was nice when I poured these out was that they were all intact - no broken bits and all a good size. They had an excellent crunchy texture - though some might find them a bit too hard and a good savoury flavour - a nice hit of salt but not overly so in anyway with lots of umami and savoury flavour. The slightly sweet and savoury coating is a great mix of spices - Chilli, Coriander, Fennel, Aniseed and of course soy sauce. No one comes out strongly but they all work together to make these rather moreish although I wouldn't easily identify a seaweed flavour. My favourites were the ones with sesame seeds on the outside for their extra crunch, sesame flavour and mix of textures.

Funnily they feel both light and substantial - I guess as nuts, there's some protein in the peanuts but with a good crunchy outside , they don't feel too heavy either. My little 75g provided two portions and kept me going mid morning until lunch on each day I had them. Overall a good savoury snack, that's a little different to crisps or crackers but my one criticism is the sugar - at 18% this is getting into the levels of digestive biscuits and I would expect H+B as a health retailer to be cutting back on this.

Price: £1.49
Bought at: Holland and Barrett
Nutrition per bag (though I got two servings from it): 344 calories, 13.9g fat, 2.9g sat fat, 13g sugars, 10g protein, 0.8g salt

Score: 7.5/10

Monday, 23 May 2016

Bounce Energy Ball Sprirulina and Ginseng Review

After really, really enjoying my first ever Bounce Ball when I tried the almond protein ball, I snapped up this Spirulina and Ginseng version for a new twist on my post run snacks. This ball doesn't have as much protein as the almond with just 5g per ball but instead features the superfoods spirulina and ginseng. It's also high fibre, high in vitamin B12 and in antioxidant vitamin, which contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress. Each ball actually has 117% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin E.

When I first tried my first bounce ball, I was taken aback by how small, squat and compact it was but after finding them quite a long eat and very satisfying this didn't phase me this time. This ball isn't quite as tough, chewy and dense as the almond bar, which I imagine makes it an easier way to try these balls but I did prefer the almond one just because I love my snacks to take ages to eat and be a bit of a workout to chew!

However, again it tasted really good and it just feels like a nice easy, digestible form of energy in a perfect little compact ball. I't's a chewy mix of almonds, oats and sesame seeds for a nice mix of textures. They're so compact, you could stick one in your pocket so really easy to transport and take on the go. Sprirulina and ginseng only make up 1.2% and 0.2% of the ingredients so frankly add no difference to the taste but it is still a nicely slightly sweetened eat with a good almond flavour from the 29% almonds which is the main ingredient. You can see how many there just from the photo all studded round the outside! There's some vanilla extract in this which gives a nice mild vanilla taste that works well with the oats and almonds.

The ingredients list is nice and clean with real whole foods and there's 10g sugar per ball - all from natural sugars like raisins, grape juice and brown rice syrup.

The texture isn't as good as the almond ball, which I loved but was still nice enough that I would buy this flavour again too. I'm a bit of a convert to Bounce at the moment!

Price: £1.99
Bought at: Holland and Barrett
Nutrition per ball: 191 calories, 9g fat, 0.9g sat fat, 10g sugars, 5g protein

Score: 8/10

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Nature's Store Organic Milk Chocolate Rice Cakes Gluten Free Review

I haven't had a rice cake for years. I used to eat them a fair bit about 5 years ago but then more and more interesting healthy snacks kept coming out and they also got a bit of bad press about being one of those diet foods that leave you hungry.

But then I was thinking to myself, 85 calories for one of these is never meant to really fill you up as such and as a replacement for a unhealthier snack it's got to be a better choice. I wouldn't go to these if I was starving or to use after a run to refuel but as a treat, I can't see why this would be a bad choice.

Everything about the product is organic and it's gluten and wheat free. It's wholegrain rice coated in milk chocolate and there's a few sesame seeds dotted in there two. They come in handy individual packs of two for freshness.

They were actually really pretty delicious and give you that chocolate hit but with less fat. I actually found that just the one with a cup of tea was enough to give me that sweet hit as they're quite large in diameter so you feel you get more versus something like a chocolate digestive. And the thing that makes them taste so good is that the milk chocolate is really pretty good quality. It's not overly sweet or sugary but has a proper chocolate taste that is smooth, creamy and melt in the mouth good. The ingredients list of the chocolate is short with 32% cocoa mass and no vegetable or palm oils and this really shines through.

It's also pretty generous with the chocolate accounting for 60% of each rice cake so the taste you get is chocolate rather than the savoury rice. I found it even nicer if just sumberged quickly in my hot coconut drink as it melts the chocolate a little making it even more creamy and meltingly delicious.

What's nice about it is that's also a nice light eat and the fact they're not filling is also a plus point as you don't feel weighed down. Overall I really enjoyed these and the gluten free etc is just a bonus because they are tasty in their own right.

Nutrition per rice cake: 83 calories, 4.1g fat, 2.5g sat fat, 4.9g sugars, 0.04g salt
Score: 7.5/10

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Cuckoo Bircher Muesli - Mango and Coconut with a twist of Ginger and Lime Review

Bircher muesli is a regular summer breakfast for me - lovely creamy oats, soaked usually in almond r coconut milk and topped with seeds, nuts and fruit - it's a lovely refreshing way to start a hot day  -like a summer version of porridge.

I also enjoy ready made pots of bircher muesli although I tend to eat them as a snack/ yogurt substitute as these little pots would be nowhere near enough to fuel my day. I've always been a fan of the Moma muesli, which are really fresh tasting and creamy and make a great healthy dessert. I saw this bircher muesli on Ocado and had to try it due to the really unsual and exotic combination of mango, coconut, ginger and lime. I absolutely love all these on trend flavours and it sounded so summery and vibrant - a really interesting change to the usual berry or apple bircher mueslis I've had.

The packaging is loud, colourful and vibrant and just made me feel uplifted looking at it. It's a pretty nutritious little pot of yogurt, oats and linseeds with no refined sugars - just naturally sweetened from apple juice, some fruit extracts and the mango and lime.

Opening it up, the texture looked nice and thick and I loved just how many linseeds I could see dotted throughout. Again, this is a bit different to other bircher mueslis I've had which are solely oats. There were lots of juicy pieces of mango and the pot smelt so fragrant - I could detect the lime, ginger and coconut.

My first mouthful and I was taken away to the tropics. It was just delicious - the prominant flavour is sweet, juicy mango with a bit of a hit of coconut but in the aftertaste there are little bursts of zingy lime and a little spicy heat from ginger. For once a product that delivers every flavour it says! Every mouthful had a lovely mash up of all the tropical flavours and the texture was divine too - nice and thick and creamy and the linseeds and oats added lots of texture.

At 228 calories a pot, this would never be a breakfast for me but makes a brilliant snack - it's so much more interesting than a yoghurt and the flavour combination is just fantastic.

Price: £1.50
Bought at:Ocado
Nutrition per pot: 228 calories, 6.8g fat, 3.3g sat fat, 15.3g sugars, 6.9 protein

Score: 8.5/10

Friday, 20 May 2016

Urban Eat Better Falafel with Lemon and Coriander Houmous Sandwich

As it becomes easier and easier to get healthy options when out and about even shops with limited ranges like Whsmiths are now offering at least a few token healthy options. Amongst all the fattier options, I managed to get this falafel sandwich as part of a meal deal in Whsmiths. It is vegan and boasts ‘The Best Vegan Sandwich 2015’ which is apparently a prestigious title awarded by PETA.

The sandwich contains sweet potato falafel, lemon and coriander houmous with various veg like grated carrot and spinach leaves aln nestled between slices of seeded wholemeal bread. All sounded pretty good. Opening the packet, it looked a bit limp and lifeless with the bread feeling pretty thin and pappy and the two sandwiches sticking together.

I took my first bite and to be fair there's a fair bit of filling in here but somehow it just lacks some flavour. I could kind of taste the houmous and the salad but the sweet potato falafel was lost. I got the texture, which was crumbly and soft but it really didn't pack much flavour or add a lot to it. It was tasty enough but overall pretty underwhelming with the bread being the biggest taste in the mouth. The bread was okay and had a nice wholesome taste but was far too soft and wet.

Nutritionally, it's pretty good for a shop bought sandwich but salt is high at 25% of your daily limit. It was fine as part of the limited selection of sandwiches and lunches Whsmith had but compared to the likes of veggie sandwiches I've had in places like Pret or Marks and Spencer, it's pretty uninspiring and dull and I really fail to see how it won a best vegan sandwich award.

Bought at: Whsmiths
Nutrition per sandwich: 341 calories, 7.9g fat, 1.1g sat fat, 2.7g sugars, 1,5g salt
Score: 6.5/10

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Rebel Kitchen Organic Coffee Coconut Yogurt Review

After enjoying Tesco's own label coconut rice puddings, I decided to this coffee coconut yoghurt from Rebel Kitchen a go. It was a riduculously expensive purchase from Ocado (£2.49 for a single 125g pot) but I'm a sucker for something new and whilst there are more and more coconut yoghurts on the market, I've never seen a coffee one before.

Opening up my tiny little pot, I did get a rich sense of both coconut and coffee. It's actually a much thinner texture than I was expecting and fairly runny. Slightly thicker than maybe a dairy yogurt but definitely not a Greek style one and it almost reminded me of a runny caramel.

It had a smooth texture and although not particularly rich, it is extremely rich. And I mean rich. It tasted pretty indulgent and was very enjoyable but would definitely be on the sickly side if you ate too much. Even though it's a small pot, I couldn't finish a whole pot but luckily for a single serve product it comes with a lid so I was able to save the other half for another day.

The ingredients list is very clean and all organic - Raw Coconut Meat (57%)*, Water, Coconut Cream*, Coconut Blossom Nectar*, Coffee*, Live Vegan Yogurt Cultures

It's also pretty low in sugars at 7.1g per 100g although very high in saturated fat like a lot of coconut products at 7.4g per 100g. Again I'll say despite all the hype around coconut fat being good fat, the fact remains saturated fat isn't good for heart health if you're exceeding your daily limits. However, I have seen many coconut yogurts that are 20g per 100g so this is pretty good.

Really it's more a dessert proposition than a yoghurt. It actually tastes pretty sweet with a nice distinct but definitely not overpowering coffee taste. I think because of the richness and fat content, it tastes maybe sweeter than it is so as said it can get a bit sickly. However, half a pot was just right and made a lovely evening dessert. It's a bit too expensive and bit too fatty for an everyday dairy free yogurt so I'd probably stick to soya ones for day to day and then have these as a kind of dessert.

Price: £2.49
Bought at: Ocado
Nutrition per 100g: 118 calories, 8.4g fat, 7.4g sat, 7.1g sugars, 0.1g salt

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Nuva Spring Water with a kiss of ginger and lemon Review

Today is a review for bottle water. Not the most exciting stuff ever but thi spring water with ‘kiss of ginger and lemon’ and nuva caught my eye whilst out and about and it’s pretty good stuff actually. I don’t really drink fizzy drinks, I don’t drink cordials and tend to stick to water as it’s sugar free. But sometimes I want that flavour hit and for something a bit more refreshing, lively and interesting.

This is literally just still spring water with some natural flavourings and ginger extract – so sugar free, sweetener free and no calories. It’s a pretty subtle drink and is definitely first and foremost water. Others who tried it described it as being like filling a glass you’ve already had a drink in back up with water but I really liked it.

It’s not a big burst of flavour but both ginger and lemon are present as a subtle backtaste. The marketing blurb about it being a ‘kiss of’ is pretty accurate. It just adds a bit more interest to water but without any guilt as it is essentially just spring water. They also had a cucumber and mint and a watermelon and jasmine version in my Boots and I will definitely give them a try. Perfectly cooling and thirst quenching as we enter the warmer months.

Price: £1.29
Bought at: Boots
Score: 8/10

Monday, 16 May 2016

Tesco Freefrom Coconut Rice with Senga Senegana Strawberry

Tesco do tend to do some interesting own label products and whilst browsing the dairy free aisles, found these own label coconut rice with senga sengana strawberry pots. I love rice pudding (I have a bit of a weird love of all things old fashioned like custard, digestive biscuits and malt loaf) so was intrigued to try this modern and on trend variant to rice pudding. It's wheat, dairy and gluten free.

First thing I was really impressed with was how clean the ingredients were. It is literally just the following:
Coconut Milk (Coconut, Water) (62%), Senga Sengana Strawberry (20%), Caster Sugar, Rice (8%), Gelling Agent (Pectin)

All things I recognise, which is a really good sign. Sugar content is also ridiculously good – how many desserts contains under 5g a serving?! Although big watch out is that a pot contains 44% of your saturated fat for the day. Now I know there is a lot of hype around coconut fat being good fat and apparently saturated fat being okay now but I think it is best to advise caution with these fats. A bit of fat and a bit of sugar now and then seems more sensible than going all out on any one nutrient.

It actually feels like a slightly more premium product that the packaging suggests. The little desserts come in smart little pots that I initially mistook for glass but actually seem to be a good, thick high quality plastic. They feel nice to eat out of and I actually ended up washing the pots out and keeping them. Any dairy avoiding guest would be happy to be presented with one of these at a dinner party as they have that Gu like feel to them.

Pulling the lid I instantly got a nice sweet exotic smell of coconut. Digging the spoon I realised it was thick, very thick due to the high fat content. I tried  bit of the top half first and it tastes extremely decadent, very creamy and rich too. Coconut comes through nicely and it’s not too sweet. However, it is a fairly rich dessert and would be sickly if you had to consume it by itself.

Stirring in the fruit compote at the bottom really helps ligten it up. The strawberry isn’t jammy or sickly sweet but fresh and uplifting and when mixed with the coconut rice makes a really creamy, delicious pudding. 

The only negative aspect of the dessert for me was the rice – at just 8% it gets totally lost in the thick fatness of the coconut milk and bar the odd little bit of bite now and then isn’t noticeable. As a rice pudding I’d rather have a looser, less fatty texture with more rice in.
Overall it’s a very nice dessert and at £2 for the two pots seems quite well priced for what I  thought was a pretty premium dessert.

Price: £2
Bought at: Tesco
Nutrition per pot: 155 calories, 9.4g fat, 8.8g sat fat, 4.9g sugars, 0.1g salt

Score: 8/10

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Percy's Family Mix Review

Sugar is worse than smoking...blah, blah, blah. Okay we probably shouldn't eat too much sugar but sometimes we all need a treat and a packet of Percy Pigs is something that no one can resist. Generally I eat healthily but sometimes I want sweets and only Percy Pigs will do. Having said that I genuinely can't remember the last time I bought Percy Bigs - it must have been a few years - although I'm not sure why as they are utterly delicious and are worth trekking to M+S for them alone.

I had 20% off Colin the Caterpillar and Percy Pigs this week with my Sparks offer so thought it would be a good chance to go back to my teenage years when I practically lived off these. It seems over the year, Percy has expanded - there were rosy noses, fences and friends including jungle animals. In my day Penny Pig was the most exiting addition. Also were these brand new Percy Family Mix taking the piglet and penny additions that one step further.

Essentially it's a mixed bag of your standard Percy Pigs, the lemon penny pigs and then lots of smaller pieces which are the same texture as the parents but in a smaller size and in an assortment of fruit flavours. There isn't much else to say unless you've never had a percy pig before.

Frankly it was a little disappoinitng. The lemon penny pigs, though nice, are not as good as Percys (the cola cow and orange sheep in the farmyard mix are much better) and the piglets again were not as good. The flavours and textures were all there but I prefer the foam face to jelly ear ratio on the standard Percy's.

Don't get me wrong, they were delicious - sweet, fruity and chewy with that 'just one more' addictiveness. But a bog standard bag of Percy Pigs would have been as good, if not better. Maybe I should have got some Colin the caterpillars instead...

Price: £1.50
Bought at: M and S

Score: 7/10

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Marks and Spencer Spirit of Summer Sweetcorn Empanadas

Wow is all I can say about M&S at the moment. This weekend they've been running an event for their Spirit of Summer range with some sampling in store (the coconut and lime cake and the sweetcorn wraps in particular are gorgeous) and a 10% off extra for Sparks card holders. Needless to say I went mental in there and have bought a ridiculous amount. I just can't help it with M+S - everything always look so inviting and intriguing - so apologies as there will probably be a bit of glut of M+S reviews for a while!

One offer that was really good this weekend was the 4 deli picnic items and a bottle of wine or coolbag (let's be honest who would choose a coolbag over wine) for £10. The hard part for me was just picking four - there were just so many nice things and I love M+S' deli items. Theyre handy to make any old salad that bit more interesting or for nice savoury grazing straight from the fridge.

One of things I went for were these sweetcorn and blackbean empanadas - empanadas being very on trend with the Brazilian World cup. First thing I'll say is these are ridiculously over priced - £2.80 for four very small pieces but they did sound good with their coriander and chilli flavours and looked so dainty and nice.

Usually I just eat these types of product cold because I'm impatient and frankly they always taste delicious whether hot or cold but today I pushed the boat out and cooked them in the oven for 8 mintes as instructed to crisp up the pastry.

They smelt good when I got them out of the oven and the pastry was golden and crisp with no greasiness whatsoever. Biting in they had a decent amount of filling and the beany texture of sweetcorn and blackbeans worked well against the crunchy pastry, Chilli, coriander and turmeric added flavour albeit with no heat and little bits of pepper and spring onion add freshness.

Like all M+S products, the ingredients list is straighforward and recognisable and when you look in you can see real wholesome ingredients. They made very nice little snacks but are very overpriced as they are very nice without being mindblowing. I did very much enjoy them though and would buy them again,

Price: £2.80
Bought at: Marks and Spencer

Score: 7/10

Friday, 13 May 2016

Danone Light and Free Raspberry Review

I eat yogurt most days either as a sweet finish to lunch or dinner. Often it's simply plain yogurt or nowadays I eat lot of the really thick high protein pots like Skyr and Total as I love their thick texture. Danone look to try and jump on this trend although they seem to have come at it from a more female angle. These new Light and Free yogurts are very much aimed at the Slimming World and Special K girls. Each pot is around 60 calories and there's no fat but they promise a thick Greek style texture.

Although I am definitely not their target (just look how girly the packaging is), I was interested in by the 0 added sugars claim. If they were delicious and creamy, then a product with no added sugars, no fat and for such minimal calories can't be a bad thing.

Each pot is 115g but feels a bit more substantial for some reason as the pots feel quite weighty and big and seem a good portion size. I suppose the little female images on each pot are quite nice in design as well.

Opening it up I could smell the raspberry and there certainly seemed quite a few pieces mixed throughout. I put my spoon and gave it a stir. It was thinner than I was expecting. More Muller Light Greek Style as opposed to things like Danio or Skyr. It was thicker than normal yogurt but not so thick you can stand a spoon up it in it. This was a bit disappointing as I like my yogurts really thick as they feel more filling that way.

Nevertheless, it does have a pretty creamy texture but it doesn't have an indulgent feel. The flavour was pretty good but I think I could taste the sweetener in it. Although there's no added sugars, it did taste a little sweet to me due to this. I was also disappointed that it wasn't that high in protein. I think because it said greek style I assumed automatically it would be but like I said it seems to be more of a diet / Muller Light proposition than a satisfying, thick yogurt.

It's a pretty tasty yogurt and a reasonable sweet end to a meal. I wasn't overwhelmed particularly. I liked it and would eat them again although I don't think I would buy it over my Total, Skyr and Arla Protein. Muller Light buyers would probably love it though.

Price: £2.49
Bought at: Tesco (£1.25 special offer)
Nutrition per pot: 61 calories, 0.1g fat, less than 0.1g sat fat, 7.8g sugars, 0.24g salt

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Kettle Bites - Maple Barbecue Wholegrain Waves Review

Despite my love of snacks, I don’t tend to buy crisps that much. It’s not like I don’t enjoy them, I just don’t find them as interesting or exciting as a lot of the new innovations that come out. And for all their demonization, crisps can be relatively healthy as in the case of these Kettle Bites. Kettle Bites are a new range from Kettle, the premium handcooked crisps company. This new range is about lighter snacking made from lentil or wholegrains. There are two types available – lentil waves (in Mozarella and Pesto and sweet chilli) and whoegrain waves (in maple barbecue and the intriguing sounding coconut, lime and chilli).

My first try of this new range is the maple barbecue wholegrain waves. I’ve had similar types of snacks before M&S and have enjoyed them so figured I would like them. Each bag is 95 calories, they contain 50% less fat than standard crisps and are baked not fried so a pretty reasonably little treat for everyday.

The 22g bag did feel quite light and when I poured out the contents, it did looks a little skimpy. However, it’s nice to see all the waves were intact and they looked visually appealing. And as a lighter option you would expect there to be less in a pack. They certainly smelt really good, rich and smokey with a deep barbecue scent.

Each waves was very well coated in the seasoning and had a lot of flavour. Lighter bites like popcorn often are quite dry with pieces unevenly coated but these were pretty delicious. The barbecue was salty, tangy and accentuated by a real hit of sweetness from the maple for a nice well rounded flavour that ended on a sweet note.

My only criticism is sugar and salt are a little high. 12% of the ingredients is sugar and there’s 2.1g salt per 100g. Whilst the small 22g bag tones this down, it would be nice if these could be reduced although I do appreciate that maple flavoured snacks will have an element of sweet.

I’d buy these again and it’s nice to have an interesting , more modern alternative to crisps.

Price: £1.89 for 5x22g multipack

Bought at: Ocado

Nutrition per 22g bag: 95 calories, 2.9g fat, 0.4g sat fat, 2.6g sugars, 0.5 salt

Score: 7.5/10

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Marks and Spencer Rice, Aduki Bean, Mango and Coconut Salad Review (Spirit of Summer)

There is no question for me that M&S are the best place for packaged salads. They are just so much more tantalising, innovative and use tasty, fresh combos. Even the most salad dodging carnivore couldn't help but like their little £2.00 pots that are on a 2 for £3 mix and match. They make an ideal work lunch as they're self contained, healthy and uttetrly delicious. Though that's not to say they aren't also great spooned onto a plate as an accompaniment to all sorts of things.

Just the name and the beautifu vibrant colours of this rice, aduki bean, mango and coconut salad was enough to tempt me. So many contrasting colours and textures with nutty rice, wholesome beans, the sweetness of mango and the exoticness of on trend mango.

Frankly there isn't much more to say than this was perfect for me. I cam't fault it (except maybe a little more in there to make it a bit more filling and to justify the price tag). Everything just worked. The rice was sticky and creamy and soft through being infused with coconut cream, the beans had a melt in the mouth texture. The mango was soft and juicy and the little slivers of coconut added another hit of the summer in every moutthful. The little pot of zesty orange dressing complemented each element, tying it all together for a fresh, light and healthy feeling lunch.

I keep going back to this now that I've tried it. There's loads of other really interesting salad pots in the Spirit of Summer range but this is just so good, it's hard to not pick it every time!

Price: £2
Bought at: Marks and Spencer
Nutrition: 127 calories per half a pack

Score: 10/10!