Pollen + Grace is a London-based clean eating food delivery service who make healthy lunches and delicious sweet treats. Founded by Stephanie Johnson, their ethos is to find the beauty in nature and apply that to their food. I met the team at Balance Festival earlier this year so I was very excited to try their delicious snacks!
Raw Beauty Bar
The Raw Beauty Bar features antioxidant-rich superfoods like acai and acerola superfruits. Acai berries have more antioxidants than any other berries and boast health benefits such as fighting disease and promoting healthy skin. The acerola fruit is a type of cherry and is rich in vitamins C and A as well as riboflavin and niacin which are often artificially added to foods because of their fantastic health benefits.
The bar itself is very attractive and features a crumbed based made out of cashews, sesame seeds, tahini, and coconut. The base has a great sticky sweet texture and the bar itself is delicious. The berry top adds a lovely tang and there's a subtle crunch from the seeds. I love this little bar and knowing how many health benefits it has!
The Mojo Bar
The Mojo Bar was the treat that I was most looking forward to as I had tried a nibble at Balance Festival and was immediately hooked! This salted caramel fudge bar is totally vegan and is enriched with superfoods like maca and cornflower petals. Maca contains numerous minerals which promote a healthy immune system and it also contains 20 amino acids which aid protein synthesis and promote healthy muscle repair.
This bar tastes absolutely incredible! I couldn't get enough! I previously went on a bit of a rant about products claiming to be 'salted caramel' flavour when they're not, but this bar has the absolutely perfect taste and is just delicious! Knowing that it's vegan means it is a guilt-free treat and is perfect for after a demanding cardio session when you need a sugar-hit to feel better.
Sweet Potato + Peanut Butter Flapjack
The sweet potato and peanut butter flapjack comes in a very generous 100g portion and boasts 10.4g of protein. This flapjack is also vegan (if you don't mind consuming honey) and contains lots of great ingredients. The bulk of the flapjack is made with sweet potato and also features organic peanut butter, pumpkin seeds, and pecans which add a beautiful depth of flavour.
The bar itself is super crunchy thanks to the seeds and it is really filling! It's not very sweet but in this case, that's a good thing, as sometimes flapjacks can be way too sugary and buttery. This has a really nice earthy feel to it from the sweet potato and it's almost like a savoury snack.
Raw Cacao Protein Bar
This gooey vegan cacao bar is protein-packed thanks to pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, hemp protein, and chia seeds. All of these are fantastic super foods which boast numerous health benefits. As with the flapjack, this bar is quite hefty and definitely super filling! It tastes delicious and isn't too dense or chewy like most protein bars! It has such an authentic taste and texture, rather than some which feel like they've just been mass produced in a factory.
VerdictI absolutely love this brand. I love the ethos and their raw treats are not only delicious but they're healthy too! The food delivery service is a great idea and hopefully they'll be able to expand further in the future! It's definitely a 10 from me for these goodies.
The Protein Ball Co have two new delicious flavours made with plant protein, making them some of the most exciting vegan and gluten-free protein snacks on the market! We were lucky enough to have a taste test and give our verdict.
The Peanut butter + Jam flavour protein balls contain 7g of fat, 20g of carbs, 18g of sugar, and 7g of protein. The sugar and carbohydrate content seems rather high at first, but the sugar is all naturally occurring as there are no artificial sweeteners or sugars in any Protein Ball Co products so this is a big bonus.
The Raspberry Brownie flavour protein balls contain 4g of fat, 22g of carbs, 18g of sugar, and 5g of protein. They feature a little less protein as they have no peanut butter in them, but this is still a decent amount for such a small, tasty snack.
The Peanut butter + Jam protein balls only contain a few ingredients, such as dates, peanuts, fruit juice, pea protein and brown rice protein, blueberries and strawberries. These are all whole and natural foods so there are no nasty surprises and you can eat this snack knowing there are no harsh chemicals. The Raspberry Brownie flavour also only contains a few ingredients, including dates, cashews, cacao powder, fruit juice, pea protein, and freeze-dried raspberry powder. Again, all very healthy, natural ingredients which you could find in your kitchen at home and have not been manufactured in a laboratory. The use of dates as the base of the recipe is very common in a lot of healthy snack brands and this is where most of the sugar comes from.
For those who follow a free-from diet, these tasty protein balls are gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, wheat-free, natural, GMO-free, no soy, and contain no added sugar. Phew!
My first impression of these protein balls was that they aren't super sweet, but then again brownies aren't supposed to be overly sweet. The raspberry flavour comes through amazingly and tastes real and authentic. The freeze-dried raspberry gives an awesome tang and there's a pleasant crunch from the seeds. There is a little taste from the cacao but it is overpowered somewhat by the raspberry which is very fruity and sharp. What's great about these protein balls is they are not too moreish, so you're left feeling satisfied without wanting to binge.
Peanut Butter + Jam:
As soon as you take a bite of the Peanut Butter + Jam protein balls, the genuine peanut flavour comes through straight away with a lovely earthy taste. The fruity flavour is much more muted in the Peanut Butter + Jam protein balls compared to the Raspberry Brownie flavour and they have a more savoury taste. In fact, the strawberry is subtle in a good way, meaning it's not overpowering but is just about there in the background. The real peanut pieces add a fantastic crunch and texture to the protein balls. The overall texture is absolutely spot on; not dense at all and very easy to chew. They are really light and almost fluffy, although this flavour is very moreish and you are left wanting to devour more!
I absolutely love the appearance of these protein balls. The electric red colour from the freeze-dried raspberry powder makes the Raspberry Brownie protein balls look absolutely amazing and really inviting. It makes my mouth water just looking at them! The Peanut Butter + Jam flavour also look fantastic and the most striking thing is that they look home-made, which really hammers home the fact that they are a natural, healthy snack.
I think the fact that The Protein Ball Co have managed to create natural, healthy protein balls which are suitable for so many people from vegans to those with Coeliac disease is fantastic. They taste sublime and really look amazing too. They make the perfect grab-and-go snack and would be ideal in a child's school lunchbox or to take to work with you to satisfy those pre-lunch hunger pangs. They are a completely guilt-free treat and really fill a niche. The only thing I'd say is it's a shame they are not suitable for those with a nut allergy, however there are plenty of healthy snacks on the market which fill that gap. It's a 10 from me!
Mindful Bites was founded by Stephanie Peritore in 2014 with the intention of changing the way people think about snacking. Stephanie uses the practice of mindfulness to encourage people to think more about what they're eating and why in an attempt to become healthier. The products that Mindful Bites produce include snacks and nut butters which are made with superfoods and exotic fruits which boast natural health benefits and taste fabulous. I was lucky enough to be able to try a selection of their nut butters and give my verdict.
Cashew and Baobab
Baobab is a superfood that we previously visited in our Oppo Ice Cream review. It is a superfruit native to Africa and Asia and boasts such health benefits as strengthening the immune system, releasing energy, and promoting healthy, glowing skin. I am a recent convert to loving cashew butter and Mindful Bites definitely cemented my opinion. Its decadent, creamy texture is very luxurious and it spreads really well. The sachets that Mindful Bites sell their nut butters in are well designed and are guaranteed not to spill or leak in your bag so you can have one on-the-go. This flavour has somewhat of a sweet undertone which may not be to everyone's liking, but I couldn't get enough!
Almond and Maca
Maca is another superfruit and it contains over 20 amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. It also contains lots of minerals including potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, and zinc. All of these minerals are great for your health and boast lots of different benefits. The almond butter is very nutty and has a slightly deeper flavour than the cashew butter. Again, it has a lovely texture and the smoothness means it spreads very easily. This flavour is not as sweet as the cashew and baobab and instead has a more earthy flavour which tasted great on a bagel topped with sliced banana!
Hazelnut and Berries
I wasn't sure what to expect from this flavour as I wondered if there would be whole pieces of berry and I've never had berries in nut butter before! In fact, the berries are just part of the flavour and this creation was as smooth and luxurious as the others. The berry flavour is not strong or overpowering but sits in the background, adding depth. The hazelnut base is rich and tastes fantastic!
Brazil Nuts and Cacao Nibs
If you like Nutella, then this flavour will immediately excite you! The lovely smooth texture spreads really well and it looks like a tasty chocolate spread. The flavour of the cacao nibs comes through beautifully and gives a very deep flavour. I've never tried a nut butter made from brazil nuts before but it works really well. It tastes slightly different from peanut or cashew butter and again has quite a deep flavour so it pairs very well with the cacao nibs.
I love the ethos behind this brand because it's fresh and I haven't seen a company get so involved in the wellbeing of its customers before. Mindful Bites promotes not only healthy eating but healthy thinking and their tasty snacks and nut butters are perfect for the mid-afternoon slump or as a post-workout energy boost. All the products are plant-based, high fibre, and contain no palm oil so they are sustainable and ethical too. It's got to be a 10!
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!
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!
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!
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!
Pulsin is a homegrown UK brand developed by three friends who met at university in Bristol. They started making their homemade protein balls in their own kitchen in 2005 and business boomed from there. They even still make the first ever flavour that they developed, the goji burst. I was delighted to try some of their delicious vegan protein bars, especially with their exciting new look!
Pulsin's bars are a lot lower in sugar than other protein and energy bars on the market which is a great start. They only use natural sweeteners like agave nectar from the cactus plant and xylitol from tree bark. This means that you don't end up having a sugar crash after eating one of their bars! They also share Sundried's ethics for protecting the planet and being passionate about sustainability. They use minimal packaging and they even power their business with 100% renewable energy! This is something that Sundried can really get behind.
Peanut Choc Chip Raw Brownie
Well, the name sounds very inviting so I couldn't wait to try this bar! It has a lovely thick outer chocolate coating and a deep taste of peanuts throughout. The bar has a great chocolate taste without being too bitter and it is very moreish! Even though it is chocolate flavoured it is still vegan which is fantastic and it packs a powerful blend of magnesium, fibre, vitamins and minerals so you know you're getting a health boost too. It is very decadent and delicious so would be great as a healthy dessert option.
Vanilla Choc Chip Protein Booster
This was my absolute favourite bar. It has the exact taste and texture of cookie dough! It's unbelievably tasty and I could eat these every day! Each bar packs 13g of protein which is great for a vegan snack. The high protein and fibre content means you stay fuller for longer after eating it and don't end up with sugar cravings.
Maple and Whey Crisp
The maple and whey crisp bar is not vegan as it contains whey for protein content, however it is vegetarian and gluten-free so still has some good health benefits. Pulsin uses real Canadian maple syrup in this bar which adds a touch of luxury and provides a subtle sweet taste without the aid of nasty artificial sweeteners. There is 15g of protein in each bar and only 9g of sugar which is very good compared to many other energy bars which can easily contain in excess of 20g of sugar.
I love that Pulsin shares the same ethical values as Sundried and that they feel so strongly about providing healthy, nutritious products which are still high in protein and low in sugar. Their bars have competitive nutritional value compared to others on the market and the taste is unbelievable! I was blown away by how delicious these bars are and they're so palatable. I can't fault them, it's a 10!