• Kettle Bites Lentil and Wholegrain Snacks Review

    Kettle Bites Healthy Wholegrain Snacks Review Sundried

    Kettle Foods was founded in 1978 in the USA and are now an international manufacturer of several savoury snack brands, n 2006 becoming the largest natural potato chip brand in the US. In this modern world of eating clean and healthy foods, Kettle Foods have brought themselves into the 21st century by producing lighter, healthier snack food options. Their latest development, Kettle Bites, are lentil and whole grain crisps and I was lucky enough to get to try them.

    Sweet Chilli Lentil Curls

    Kettle Bites only have 94 calories per pack meaning that if you're looking for a light, under 100 calorie snack, you need look no further. They also boast containing 50% less fat than standard ready salted crisps meaning they are a healthy snack which doesn't compromise on taste. 

    Being made from lentils, the shape and texture of these crisps are really quite unique. They are very light but the seasoning is plentiful meaning the taste is fantastic. The sweet chilli flavoured variation is delicious, and you can really taste the lime flavour shining through. The nutrition values are as follows: 

    Typical Values Per 100g
    Energy (kilojoules) 1807 kJ
    Energy (kilocalories) 428 kcal
    Fat 11.9 g
    - of which saturates 1.6 g
    Carbohydrate 65.0 g
    - of which sugars 5.0 g
    Fibre 4.0 g
    Protein 13.2 g
    Salt

    2.1 g

     

    Maple Barbecue Wholegrain Waves

    The Maple Barbeque wholegrain waves stay true to their description in bringing together the sweet tang of maple syrup and the deep, rich flavour or tomato and paprika. As with the lentil curls, these are not like classic crisps and the wave shape holds the flavouring wonderfully and provides a fantastic crunch. The flavour is fairly moreish and they are absolutely delicious!

    Verdict

    I'm so pleased that a brand as huge and well-established as Kettle Foods are bringing healthy snacks to the mass market. Finding healthy alternatives to well-loved foods is a great secret to changing to a healthier lifestyle and brands like this make it more accessible to the wider public. The lentil curls are really unique and the flavour is unlike any I've tasted before. The maple barbeque waves are also pretty unusual and they taste fantastic. I really hope that snacks like this become more widely appreciated as more people make healthy food choices on a day-to-day basis. It's a 10 from me!
    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!

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    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Metcalfe's Skinny Popcorn Review

    Metcalfe's Skinny Popcorn Salted Caramel Sundried Review

    Metcalfe's Skinny was founded in 2009 by Julian Metcalfe at a time when the nation was beginning to wake up to the need for lighter, healthier snacks. They were the first company to sell sweet & salted popcorn together as a flavour combination, which is now one of the most popular on the market. They now offer a wide range of light snacks including rice cakes and popcorn thins and at the beginning of 2016 announced their business partnership with Kettle Foods. Ashley Hicks, Managing Director of Kettle Chips UK, described Metcalfe's Skinny as "an incredibly innovative, dynamic, fast-growing, premium brand appealing to ‘foodie’ consumers looking for lighter great tasting snacks.” They launched their newest flavour, salted caramel, a few weeks ago and I was lucky enough to get a chance to taste test.

    Flavour

    Salted Caramel is still a very trendy flavour, with everything from brownies to protein bites being available in this flavour. I was pretty excited to try a popcorn variation, especially as the flavours of salt and caramel are pretty classic in the popcorn world so surely it was bound to work!

    The flavour is a little artificial-tasting and I wouldn't particularly describe it as 'salted caramel'. There are certainly hints of caramel, but the spark of salt was lacking a little. However, all that being said, salted caramel is a very difficult flavour to get right if you are not literally pouring the real thing onto something fresh, like a brownie, so to that end I would commend Metcalfe's on a good effort. I have tried other 'salted caramel' flavour products in the past which, upon reading the ingredients, don't even contain salt or caramel or anything resembling the two!

    Not taking into account what the flavour is or is not supposed to be, the actual popcorn tastes great and is incredibly moreish! I love that it's now possible to buy popcorn in flavours other than just sweet and salt and that it is becoming more of a popular snack, following in the footsteps of crisps. I wonder how long it'll be before we have cheese and onion popcorn!

    Nutrition

    The ingredients in this product are largely natural which is a big plus for me. There is added sugar and a fair few dairy derivatives, but the nutrition could be worse. With only 114 calories per 25g bag, it certainly is a light snack. Popcorn itself is fantastically healthy and boasts numerous health benefits, so by making it more accessible and widely available Metcalfe's are definitely promoting a more healthy lifestyle to the general public.

    Verdict

    I wasn't really sure what to expect when I first tried this product, as I have a long and complicated love/hate relationship with products that claim to be salted caramel flavour. I do think that sometimes it's just a marketing ploy, but in this case, it pays off. There is indeed salt and caramel in the flavouring, but it's not an authentic taste. This popcorn is hugely moreish and I managed to polish it off with no complaints! Popcorn is a light, healthy snack no matter what, so by adding light flavourings it appeals to more people who may end up choosing this snack over a heavier, more oil- and fat-laden snack like crisps. I'm a big fan of the Metcalfe's skinny brand, especially as I compared their ingredients and nutrition information to other popcorn brands and they are miles ahead. It's a 7 from me for their salted caramel popcorn.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Protein Ball Co Product Review

    The Protein Ball Co Sundried Review

    The Protein Ball Co was founded in 2015 by husband and wife team Matt and Hayley Hunt after they struggled to find clean, healthy, protein-related grab-and-go snacks. They set out with the goal of making protein snacks more widely accessible to the population, rather than just bodybuilders and gym buffs! I was super excited to try their products as the packaging is so cute and attractive and I love tasty protein snacks!

    Coconut & Macadamia

    The coconut and macadamia flavour balls are made with whey protein making them a great protein source for a quick snack. The coconut flavour is really powerful and fresh, with the macadamia nuts hiding in the middle adding a lovely crunch to the texture. These are really tasty!

    Cherry & Almond

    This flavour tastes exactly like Cherry Bakewell - delicious! I absolutely loved these ones, and I think I would've been even more excited about them if the flavour was actually named Cherry Bakewell. These are dairy-free as the protein source is egg-white and they provide a hearty 9g of protein per pack! I was really impressed by this flavour as I usually go for chocolate-flavoured snacks but these were superb.

    Cacao & Orange

    The cacao and orange protein balls are also made with whey protein meaning they have a 22% protein content! The cacao provides a lovely deep flavour; it's nice and chocolatey meaning it'll kerb any chocolate cravings, but it's not so moreish that you end up just wanting more!

    Goji & Coconut

    I love that The Protein Ball Co offer such a diverse range of protein sources and that they have 2 flavours which are vegan-friendly, one of which being the goji and coconut flavour. 

    Peanut Butter

    The peanut butter protein balls are to die for! They taste so authentic, almost as if I had just whipped them up in my own kitchen. They were extremely fresh with a lovely moist texture, and the peanut butter is definitely the star flavour. They are moreish without being addictive and perfect for a post-workout snack!

    Lemon & Pistachio

    The lemon and pistachio balls also contain vegan protein meaning there's plenty of choice for vegans. This flavour is lovely and fresh thanks to the lemon.

    Verdict

    These handy protein snacks are absolutely perfect for all number of occasions, from lunchboxes to gym bags. They make the perfect pre- or post-workout snack or just something to cure that sweet tooth craving. All the flavours are absolutely delicious and they really taste authentic; you don't feel like you're eating some mass produced chemical-laden franken-snack. I love the packaging, especially as I feel that kids would be attracted to it which would encourage them to eat healthier snacks. Finally, I love that the different flavours are made from different protein sources so there's something for everyone. It's a 10 from me! Buy yours now from their website! http://theproteinballco.com/

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    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Oppo Healthy Ice Cream Review

    Oppo Ice Cream Sundried Review

    The Oppo brothers have an incredible story behind their brand and their ethos of providing affordable, healthy food to the nation is really inspiring. I was really excited to try their healthy ice cream as I had heard wonderful things about it!

    Oppo was developed in 2011 by brothers Charlie and Harry after an adventure in exotic Brazil. They set themselves the challenge of breaking the world record for travelling by kite on land by using kite buggies to travel 1000km from the airport to a popular kitesurfing destination. During this challenge, the brothers lost a lot of their body weight through malnutrition but they stayed alive by eating the foods that grow naturally on Brazil's coastline, such as coconuts and wild super-fruits. This incredible experience inspired the brothers to create their own food using these ingredients and to make it indulgent and healthy all at the same time. 

    Their hard work and determination paid off, and they soon found that their product - low sugar healthy ice cream - was in high demand! They are now stocked in over 1,000 stores nationwide and they have even had investment from tennis champion Andy Murray! Oppo comes in three delicious flavours - Madagascan Vanilla, Salted Caramel, and Mint Choc Swirl.

    Oppo Healthy Ice Cream Nutritional Value Information

    Madagascan Vanilla

    Each oppo ice cream flavour is made from fresh milk, cold pressed virgin coconut oil, and stevia leaf for sweetness. Stevia is a healthy, plant-based sweetener which is becoming a popular replacement for sugar. Stevia has several scientifically proven health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and stabilising blood sugar levels. The Madagascan vanilla flavour includes a hint of the African baobab fruit which also has many health benefits! Not only does it add a subtle tang to the flavour, it is also a rich source of vitamin C which boosts the immune system and contributes to better energy levels. This simple flavour is the perfect accompaniment to a raw cacao brownie.

    Salted Caramel

    Salted caramel is enjoying huge popularity in the food industry at the moment, so it's great that Oppo has developed a healthy option for this great flavour! 100ml (2 scoops) of this flavour contains only 75 calories which is fantastically low for an ice cream, along with 3.9g of fat, 6.6g of carbs, and 3g of protein, meaning the macro split is fantastic. The secret to Oppo's Salted Caramel flavour is the Peruvian lucuma fruit, which is rich in nutrients such as beta-carotene, iron, zinc, vitamin B3, calcium, and protein. It has a maple-like taste which makes it perfect for this flavour combination in ice cream.

    Mint Choc Swirl

    The mint choc swirl was definitely my favourite flavour! It's always been my favourite ice cream flavour, and now that there's a healthy version it's ideal! The secret ingredient in this flavour is spirulina, which is big in the fitness world as it provides such a high percentage of protein per 100g. Oppo source their spirulina from the South China Sea continuing the theme of interesting and exotic ingredients.

    Verdict

    I am incredibly impressed by Oppo's history and ethos. They are hugely concerned with the obesity crisis in the UK and believe it is partly down to low sugar foods being too expensive, which is why they are petitioning the government to lower the VAT on healthy foods from the usual 20% to only 5%. I am personally in total agreement with this, and I love their selfless ethos. The boys have developed three fantastic ice cream flavours which can confidently boast being not only healthy but delicious too! They make great accompaniments for other tasty desserts, or just to be eaten on their own. The only thing I would say is that the flavours are fairly plain (I like my ice cream to have different ingredient textures and various sauces and crunchy bits running throughout). It's a 9 from me!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren