• GATO & Co Healthy Desserts Review

    GATO & Co healthy dessert review Sundried

    GATO & Co is a young company developed by friends Charlotte and Kim. Charlotte was born in the south of France and was inspired by her experience studying patisserie at the renowned Cordon Bleu cookery school to develop delicious healthy puddings. Kim joined her a year later after falling in love with the brand and they've gone from strength to strength ever since, now stocking their free-from confections in several nationwide stores. I was thrilled to be sent a selection of their 'feel good puds' to put to the test.

    Gooey Chocolate & Coconut Brownie

    The first pud that I tried was the chocolate and coconut brownie. These puds are best eaten warm and there are heating instructions on the packaging.

    Once the dessert was successfully warmed, I got stuck in. It was absolutely delicious! The melting chocolate topping makes this pudding so decadent and the coconut accents mean the indulgent chocolate isn't too overpowering. It's incredible to think that this gorgeously gooey brownie has no butter, sugar or flour in its recipe, and is instead sweetened with creamed coconut and honey. The fact it has 50% less sugar than similar products is a real winner as it's just as delicious (if not more) than other brownies that I've had. I couldn't get enough!

    GATO healthy chocolate brownie healthy pudding review

    Velvety Chocolate Fondant

    After sampling the coconut and chocolate brownie, the bar was set pretty high and I wasn't sure what to expect from the velvety chocolate fondant. I've had experience with health food brands before where the reduced sugar and alternative ingredients sadly compromise the flavour and enjoyment of the product. Well, that definitely wasn't the case here. Charlotte's expertise from Le Cordon Bleu school really shines through in this fondant as it is absolutely perfect! The texture is thick without being too dense or rich and the flavour is exceptional. It's truly velvety and tastes very luxurious. I could eat it all day, especially as it's so much healthier than other chocolate fondants. 

    It's so clever of the girls to have developed a recipe using aubergine instead of butter and ground almonds instead of flour so those on a gluten-free diet can enjoy it. This dessert is another winner for me!

     GATO & Co velvety chocolate fondant healthy dessert

    Sticky Toffee Pudding

    The final flavour that I tried was the sticky toffee pudding. I'm a fan of this classic dessert any day of the week but I would go so far as to say this was the best sticky toffee pudding I've ever had! It has a very complex flavour profile and the use of real maple syrup puts a sophisticated twist on a classic. Sticky toffee pudding has a tendency to be too sweet and sickly but this pud was just right thanks to the whole, healthy ingredients. I could've happily eaten this all day and still can't believe it contains no refined sugar, flour, or butter and is somewhat healthy. What a winner!

    sticky toffee pudding review GATO & Co Sundried

    Verdict

    I've been completely blown away by the products that the girls behind GATO & Co have developed. Charlotte's incredibly impressive cookery skills really shine through and her professional training has clearly had a huge impact on these recipes. To find a range of delicious puddings that are also healthy is a rare find and I think GATO & Co should be very proud of themselves. A resounding 10 out of 10 from me for these feel-good puds!

    Buy your own delicious healthy desserts on the GATO & Co website.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Vifit Sport High Protein Recovery Bar Review

    Vifit high protein recovery bar review sundried

    Vifit Sport is a new subsidiary of the huge Dutch dairy conglomerate FrieslandCampina which was formed through a merger in 2008. Vifit Sport offers a range of sport recovery products including protein bars, protein drinks, and protein powder containing 20g of protein as well as vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin D, potassium, and magnesium. We put their high protein recovery bar to the test and give our review.

    Nutrition

    We tried the Peach Yogurt flavour high protein recovery bar. This bar also comes in Lemon Yogurt and Cranberry flavour.

    Each 55g bar contains 208 calories, 6.3g of fat, 18g of carbs, 14g of sugar, and 20g of protein. The sugar appears to come primarily from fructose syrup which is a common ingredient in junk foods and is not great for your health if you have too much. 

    The main ingredient is milk protein (whey) with white chocolate coming up second. It also includes freeze-dried peaches, fructose syrup, and chemicals such as glycerine (which is a by-product of soap production) and potassium citrate. It also contains palm fat which is a pretty controversial ingredient due to its effect on the environment as well as its negative effect on our waistlines. It also contains collagen hydrolysate which is a type of gelatin thought to have health benefits such as anti-ageing properties. However, it's unlikely that the small amount in this bar would have any of these effects on the body and it is in fact used to set the bar as a solid.

    Overall, the nutrition of this bar isn't great. It's not 100% natural and is not vegan-friendly nor is it dairy-free. However, the high protein content is its main selling point, and 20g of protein for a bar of this size is very admirable. You'd probably be better off eating a chicken breast, though.  

    Vifit sport how is whey made

    Taste

    The smell of peach hits you as soon as you take this bar out of the packet and it's quite pleasant. Upon first bite, the taste of peach is really nice, but the more you eat the more artificial the taste becomes. The texture is fairly dense and chewy; not as bad as some protein bars I've had in the past, but definitely not natural-feeling. It's not particularly sweet and the white chocolate topping doesn't taste overly indulgent or chocolatey. The protein crispies on the top are quite nice but can be a bit messy as they keep falling off!

    Price

    I'm sure I must be dreaming as the price on Vifit's website appears to state that this bar costs £26.95!? I'm not sure whether this is a mistake, if it actually means perhaps for a box of 12, or if it's just an astronomically expensive bar! If it does mean for a box of 12 which is common for protein bars, that would mean the bar is actually roughly £2.25 which puts it in the same price bracket as the Grenade Carb Killa bar. Considering the Grenade high protein bar tastes incredible and has much better nutrition information, I'd say that this price is a little unjustified. 

    Vifit high protein recovery bar price

    Nowhere on Vifit's website does it say that this price is for a box of 12 bars. It appears to be for a single bar! 

    Verdict

    I was pretty disappointed by this bar, unfortunately. Having only recently reviewed the incredible "too good to be true" Grenade Carb Killa bars, it paled in comparison. It doesn't taste that great and has a dense, chewy texture. Apart from the high protein content, it isn't really a 'healthy' bar and there seems to be some confusion regarding the price. It's a 5 out of 10 from me. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Nibble Protein Bites Review

    Nibble Protein Bites promise to be different from all the other protein balls, bites, and bars on the market by having less sugar and more protein than the competition. Founded by Erin Moroney, Nibble Group Ltd has the mission of standing out from the crowd and being different. We were excited to try these inviting bites!

    Made with low GI ingredients, Nibble Protein Bites avoid the usual sugary suspects of dates and brown rice syrup which are a common ingredient in 'healthy' protein snack foods. Using dried plum puree as a base, Erin has found a way to keep the sugar content of her protein bites low while maintaining a delicious flavour and texture. Using pea protein to enhance the protein content means they are vegan-friendly and also allergen-free making them more accessible for more people. 

    Lemon

    Thanks to the plum puree base, the flavours of Nibble Bites really pop. Lemon is a strong flavour at best and overly tart at worst, but Nibble Bites have got the balance perfect. The character is beautifully authentic thanks to the Sicilian lemon juice and oil, it almost transports you to a balcony in Italy! The sprinkle of coconut flakes on top really grounds the flavour and adds a lovely texture. 

    Mocha

    The all-natural ingredients provide a really genuine flavour and the mocha bite is no different. The mocha nibbles are made with real coffee and Dutch cocoa powder to add a touch of class and sophistication. Again, this has the potential to be an overpowering flavour, but the balance is perfect and the rich, deep flavour just floats through effortlessly without being overbearing. Cacao nibs and a dash of cinnamon are also added to the nibble to give it an extra flavour boost and element of luxury. These bites are definitely more sophisticated than your standard protein ball or bar!

    Sour Cherry

    The super tart sour cherry nibbles have a hint of orange and a pinch of allspice to give them a unique taste. I'm a huge fan of sour cherry flavour anyway so this was always going to be a hit with me! Another sophisticated, strong flavour, these bites stay true to their ethos with the low sugar content and the gluten-free oats mean they can be enjoyed by those on a free-from diet. 

    Choc Chip Cookie

    Choc chip cookie was the flavour I was looking forward to the most; it certainly looks like a cute little chocolate chip cookie bite! The little bites are very tempting and inviting and the flavour doesn't let them down. This flavour is made with 72% dark chocolate and also has toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds added to it for an exciting texture and added crunch. The low GI ingredients mean it's not overly sweet or sickly and the lack of dates and syrup means it's not horribly gooey or sticky. Just a perfect snack for on-the-go or after training.

    Verdict

    I absolutely love the ethos behind this brand as too many protein food companies lack finesse and decent flavour. Eating a sticky ball chocked full of dates and rice syrup is hardly healthy and the protein content is usually modest at best. Nibble Protein Bites have hit the nail on the head with this gap in the market and I'm sure it'll be a huge hit! The choice of sophisticated flavours really stands out from the crowd and they've hit a real niche with their honest mission. It's a winner for me!

    You can buy your own Nibble Protein Bites from their website at £18 for an 8-pack (RRP £2.39 each, here £2.25).

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • getbuzzing Nut Free Flapjack Review

    Get Buzzing Nut Free Snack Healthy bars

    getbuzzing was founded by Kate Wallace in 2009 when she realised there was no product on the market which was made with natural ingredients, tasted amazing, and was completely nut-free. With a mission to create a snack that everyone - including nut allergy sufferers - could enjoy, she created getbuzzing. We got the chance to try a few of these exciting bars and taste for ourselves to see if the taste really is 100%!

    Flavours Nut Free Healthy bars

    Banana

    The USP of getbuzzing is that they only use natural ingredients. The Banana Nut Free Flapjack contains oats, dried banana, golden syrup, sugar, butter, honey, and apricots.  Flapjack is a very energy-dense food and so would be perfect after a very long and tough training session where you've burnt upwards of 1,000 calories and need to replenish with simple sugars. This bar tastes absolutely delicious! The organic dried banana comes through really well and the texture is sticky and dense, just how a good flapjack should be. It's definitely impressive that it's made with ingredients you could find in your own kitchen, as more often than not I'll check the ingredients on a snack bar and can't even pronounce half the ingredients used.

    Wowbutter

    The other USP of getbuzzing is that they're products are all nut-free, meaning they are accessible for those on a free-from diet and those suffering a nut allergy. getbuzzing state that their Wowbutter flavour "tastes just like peanut butter!" which is a revelation for those who can't eat nuts and are missing out on the joys of peanut butter! Their nut-free 'Wowbutter' is made using toasted soya and soy oil which is fantastic. This bar only has 13g of sugar in it which really impressive for such a deliciously decadent bar. It's thick and gooey and very satisfying!

    Date & Seed

    I really loved the texture of the seeds in this bar and the dates give a luxuriously sticky texture. It's not overly sweet like other bars of this type and the dense texture is really moreish. It's a hefty bar and makes a really satisfying snack. Definitely my go-to when I'm feeling peckish between meals!

    Protein Crisp & Cherry

    I absolutely love the sour cherry flavour in this bar. The cherry pieces are really authentic (thanks to the all-natural ingredients) and it's a really refreshing and unique flavour that I haven't tasted in this type of bar before. The protein crisps add a great texture and the stickiness of the other bars is still present here. With 15g of protein per bar, it's perfect for post-workout, especially a particularly tough session. It's a really great grab-and-go snack and you know you're getting a great protein boost too.

    Mixed Berries

    Before I even took my first bite, the tartness from the freeze dried berries made my mouth tingle and water! This bar is very buttery and indulgent, and with nearly 25g of sugar per bar it's definitely a sweet treat. The berries provide a gorgeous flavour and the tangy edge makes it really exciting. The oats make the bar very dense and it's super satisfying and filling. This would be perfect as fuel for an ultra run or a long hike. One of these bad boys would give you enough energy to last all day! 

    Mint Chocolate High Protein

    This flavour was my absolute favourite! The mint flavour is perfect - I am a big fan of mint-flavoured-anything, but I am aware that a lot of people tend to avoid it lest it taste of toothpaste. This getbuzzing bar, however, managed to stick with the mint choc chip ice cream type of flavour which was refreshing and delicious. The chocolate chips add an interesting texture and the overall taste is very indulgent with its sticky composition. This bar only has 16g of sugar (compared to 20g in the banana flavour) and it packs an impressive 13g of protein. I often get annoyed when health foods claim to be 'high protein' and then only contain a measly 5g or so. 13g of protein is a decent amount for a bar like this so I was really impressed. What's more impressive is that this bar has recently won a Q Award! It won the Grab & Go Sweet Category at the Food Service Q Awards.

    Verdict

    It's incredibly refreshing to find a snack brand that is completely nut-free and getbuzzing really have found a niche in the market. Flapjack is always going to be a winner as it's so delicious, so having flavoured versions in a ready-to-go bar is perfect for fuelling a tough training session, re-fuelling post-race, or just to take to work or school. I love that the ingredients are truly natural without compromising on taste and I think getbuzzing are on to a real winner!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Emily Fruit Crisps and Vegetable Crisps Review

    Emily Fruit Crisps Vegetable Crisps Review Sundried

    Emily Fruit Crisps was launched in 2014 by Emily Wong and her partner Alex Ascani, after they travelled to the Far East and discovered a way of cooking fruit and vegetable crisps in a vacuum with RSPO-sustainable palm oil. RSPO is the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and has the mission of making responsible and sustainable palm oil the norm on the mass market. At the moment, palm oil is not only bad for our health but it's bad for the environment and human rights, as Indigenous peoples are often forcefully removed from their land to make room for palm oil production and shockingly, slavery still exists on some palm oil plantations. By supporting the RSPO, Emily Fruit Crisps are paving the way for a change in this industry and setting a fantastic example to other companies.

    Crunchy Banana Crisps

    I've always been a big fan of banana chips, but they often contain lots of added sugar and artificial nastiness. So it was great to discover that with the Emily Banana Crisps it literally is just banana and a little RSPO palm oil! No added sugar, salt, or anything artificial. It's a great way to increase your daily intake of fruit, especially as bananas can be difficult to transport to the office or gym as they bruise so easily and go overripe so quickly.

    Crunchy Pineapple Crisps

    The pineapple crisps were a really nice surprise. I've never actually tried dried pineapple before and I wasn't sure what to expect, but it's delicious! Raw pineapple hurts the roof of my mouth sometimes, so eating the dried version is a great way to get all the taste and health benefits without that super tangy after taste! I know that plenty of people reading this might be thinking 'but that's the best thing about eating pineapple!' but it's nice to have a change.

    Crunchy Apple Crisps

    The crunchy apple crisps were my absolute favourite! It looks like Emily has used red delicious apples in this and they're so tasty! Lovely and sweet, nice and crunchy, and devilishly moreish. What a great way of getting more fruit into your diet; this would be so perfect to go into a children's lunchbox instead of a packet of crisps, especially the little 30g bags that Emily makes.

    Crunchy French Beans, Sugar Snap Peas, and Black Edamame

    I won't lie, these were a bit scary when I first opened the bag! I'm not sure what I expected, but I didn't expect to see an actual bag of green beans! It's not something I've tried before; usually, you know what to expect when you open a snack food. But these were so surprisingly good! The perfect amount of salt has been added - a very minimal amount - so that you're not left with a furry mouth afterwards, but it takes the edge off the raw veg. This really is an amazing way of getting more veg into your diet: Im a nightmare for not eating enough vegetables, and when I do eat them, I just shove them in because I have to, not because I want to. But having a bag of french beans and sugar snap peas in a super attractive packet sitting on my desk made me want to eat them! Fantastic.

    Crunchy Sweet Potato, Carrot, and Beetroot

    The packaging on these is so colourful and inviting and so is the veg inside! There's the wonderful orange colour of the carrot and deep purple of the beetroot which makes them look fantastic. They have a really subtle salty taste, again, not too overpowering at all. If I were to close my eyes I could probably trick myself into thinking I was just eating ready salted crisps! If you are a crisp addict like me, these are the perfect solution! And there are so few ingredients that Emily can fit the ingredient list on the packet in 7 different languages!

    Verdict

    It's so refreshing to find a company who care about the environment and planet as much as Sundried with an equally ethical ethos. I feel really passionately about this brand because they have the potential to change the way we think about snacking. Putting these little packets into a child's lunchbox could mean they grow up loving fruit and veg instead of fat- and salt-laden potato crisps and other unhealthy snacks. It's also a great way for us adults to get more fruit and veg into our diets without even having to think about it because the attractive packaging and moreish tastes will make you want to eat it rather than it being a chore! It's absolutely a 10 from me for Emily! 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren