• Perkier Foods Plant-Based Snack Bars Review

    Perkier Foods healthy quinoa snack foods bars organic

    Perkier Foods was founded by Ann Perkins and Steve Turner with a mission of bringing the nation a healthy on-the-go snack made with the most nutritious ingredients. All Perkier bars are gluten-free and plant-based and never use palm oil. We were lucky enough to try a couple of the bars and give our verdict.

    Peanut Quinoa Bar

    I found the peanut quinoa bar to be really delicious and definitely moreish. The whole chunks of peanut were really satisfying and along with the quinoa and sticky peanut butter created a really tasty and delicious bar. Each of these 35g snack bars contains 150 calories, 10g of sugar, and a hefty 6g of protein meaning they are ideal as a grab-and-go healthy snack for fuelling while training or re-fuelling afterwards. 

    The Peanut Quinoa bar by Perkier is also high in fibre, rich in antioxidants, and vegan and gluten-free so it's suitable for people on free-from diets. 

    I really enjoyed this bar and found myself wanting more! It was perfect to take on long runs and was a delicious snack that I could look forward to after miles of running.

    Goji & Cranberry Quinoa Bar

    I was really impressed by the Goji and Cranberry bar. It was really tangy and refreshing thanks to the mixed fruit while the quinoa and soya crunchies added a delightful crunch. Goji berries have a whole host of health benefits such as boosting your mood and promoting healthy eyes, skin, and hair. Goji berries aren't an ingredient I would usually find in my diet and so having them present in this handy bar was a real bonus.

    The Goji and Cranberry Quinoa bar by Perkier contains 129 calories, 14g sugar and 5g protein. The low calorie content means it is perfect for those trying to lose weight as well as giving to children in their lunchbox or as an after-school snack. 

    Verdict

    I instantly fell in love with the Perkier bars as they are so tasty and moreish. The texture is really great and they taste a lot more unhealthy than they actually are! They serve several purposes as you could eat one before, during, or after exercise and they're ideal as a low-calorie snack to curb mid-morning hunger or to give children who are hungry before dinner. Each bar contains whole, organic ingredients that a lot of people usually wouldn't eat which not only makes them interesting but also very beneficial to your health. It's got to be a 10 from me for Perkier!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Nibble Brownie Bites Healthy Snack Review

    Nibble Protein Brownie Bites Review Sundried

    Nibble Brownie Bites are the second product to be launched by Nibble Protein, founded by Erin Moroney. They have been designed to appeal to those who want that super healthy, low sugar, protein-packed snack but with the taste of a naughty treat. Here at Sundried we were lucky enough to get to taste test and give our verdict.

    Choc Orange Brownie with 72% dark chocolate chips

    The choc orange brownie bites contain only 3.8g of sugar per bag which is great for people trying to lose weight while still enjoying delicious snacks.The secret ingredient is dried plum purée, which gives a beautiful sweet taste without all the sugar. 

    I absolutely love the small and convenient size of the pieces and I think the serving size is just right. The bites are super soft and gooey, just what you want in a brownie! The orange taste comes through beautifully without being overpowering and there's a real tang in the background.

    The overall taste is dark and decadent and the texture is perfect. This classic flavour pairing is a real winner!

    Nibble Protein Choc Orange Brownie Review

    Choc Walnut Brownie with walnut pieces

    The real walnut pieces in the choc walnut brownie add a wonderful depth of flavour and give them such an authentic taste. As with all the brownies in this range, these bites are dairy free, gluten free, and vegan which means they're perfect for anyone on a free-from diet due to a food intolerance or people following a vegan  lifestyle. 

    As with the choc orange brownie bites, these healthy treats are devilishly dark and moreish and are the perfect solution to a chocolate craving.

    Nibble Protein choc walnut brownie review

    Mint Choc Brownie with cacao nibs

     The mint choc brownie with cacao nibs was definitely my favourite of the three flavours on offer. I've always been a big fan of mint chocolate chip ice cream and as soon as I popped the delicious bite into my mouth, that's the feeling I got. The mint flavour is strong without being overpowering and is very refreshing. It really lightens the dark, chocolate brownie flavour and sticks around for some time after you finish the bite making it more satisfying.

    Again, the texture of the bite is absolutely perfect - brownies can be tough to master! This is the perfect treat if you're after something naughty but nice without ruining your diet. 

    Nibble Choc Orange Protein

    Verdict

    These bites really are the full package. They're vegan, dairy free, and gluten free meaning they can be enjoyed by just about anyone, and they are satisfying and nutritious too. They contain a generous helping of protein and have significantly less sugar than their competitors. At under 100 calories per bag, they're perfect for lunch boxes, gym bags, or to take to work and could be the answer to your healthy snack prayers!

    Nibble Brownie Bites are available from Ocado, Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Fenwick, Amazon, other health food outlets, or direct from nibbleprotein.com. They retail at £1.49 per bag. 

    Nibble Choc Brownie Protein healthy snack

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Mio Alpha 2 Heart Rate Activity Tracker Review

    Mio Alpha 2 Heart Rate Activity Tracker Review Sundried

    The Mio Alpha 2 is designed to give you all the benefits of heart rate training at your wrist without having to connect to an external heart rate monitor. Commit, connect, monitor and improve your training intensity with this heart rate sports watch.

    In the Box

    The watch comes in a small white box like all the rest of the Mio family and is equipped with the watch itself, your quickstart guide and foldable USB charger. You need to charge the battery before you can use your new watch, but this is very easy to do. The battery can last up to 24 hours in training mode or up to three months of life in regular mode. 

    Mio Alpha 2 Unboxing

    Mio Alpha 2 Boxed

    Appearance

    The Alpha 2 look is quite clearly a sports watch, with its digital face and silicone strap. Its chunky design can be a bit unsightly on your wrist, but the strap features breathing holes which double up as fasteners so you can adjust it as much as you want. The large LED screen is clear and easy to read at a glance during activity.

    Mio Alpha 2 Watch

    Getting Started

    Once it’s charged, you press and hold any button to activate your Mio Alpha 2.  Whilst this may seem simple enough, I feel it is important to mention that the buttons are so well integrated into the side of the watches design that I found them hard to find at first. I also had difficulty with the screen and button sensitivity. The buttons are quite hard to select, for example, the screen says it takes just two firm taps to activate its backlight, but it seemed to take multiple taps when I tried.

    Once your watch is activated, the user enters basic details such as age, weight, and gender in order for the watch to calculate your training zones. Once I got used to the watch's sensitivity, the integration of the buttons actually became one of the watch's strengths as there was no opportunity for me to accidentally start workouts or hit buttons while in the middle of training, which I have experienced with other trackers.

    Strapless Heart Rate Monitoring

    To enter into heart rate mode with the Alpha 2, Mio recommends you wear the watch slightly higher up your wrist than you usually would for regular wear. When you are ready to work out, you simply press and hold the timer button until the watch beeps and flashes ‘find’ and the watch then begins its heart rate hunt. In my experience, this hunt can last anywhere from 20 seconds up to a few minutes, so it's worth starting the find a few minutes before your warm up to ensure your watch is ready to track when you get started.

    Once you begin training, the watch automatically picks up your heart rate and shows you which training zone you are working in throughout your session. BPM is displayed throughout the workout in this setting and a small LED light flashes colour coded responses as you enter each of your different training zones. During training, users can read their heart rate with a simple glance, or select the mode button to scroll through their time, calories, pace, distance, heart rate and timer.

    Set-Up Screens of Mio Alpha 2

    Alpha 2 Set-Up Screens

    I was impressed by the accuracy of the heart rate for a wrist-based watch. The heart rate seemed to keep up with me and match my level of exertion throughout training. The second way the Alpha 2 can be used for heart rate recognition is in single zone mode. Here the user sets up their desired heart rate target zone using the app and then begins training. If their heart rate goes above or below the desired zone, the watch gives a vibration alert, so the user can move back on target.

    Mio Alpha 2 Heart Rate Zones

    Mio 2 Heart Rate Zones

    Lap Timer, Pace, and Distance

    Despite its lack of a GPS tracker, the Mio Alpha 2 does have a distance tracking feature.The watch also has a lap timer and pace monitor, great for tracking the average speed of your run or challenging yourself to beat the last lap. A single press of the heart rate button during training marks ‘go’ and commences your first lap, pushing it again will start lap 2 and so on. The watch is also waterproof to 30m, so you can take your laps to the pool, or run without a worry in the rain.

    Mio Alpha 2 Searching for Heart Rate

    Mio Alpha 2 Searching for Heart Rate

    Verdict

    With 24 hours' worth of workout data stored on the watch itself and your week's training easily accessible on the app, this watch is sure to enhance your training. I would recommend this watch as a first heart rate tracker for runners, or for those who don’t want to sift through lots of data as the watch's feedback is simple and precise. Though the watch may not do as much as what other fitness watches, that's what makes it perfect as a beginner's training watch. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Body weight Training

    Body Weight Exercises

    You don't need a gym membership to get fit! Bodyweight exercises can be done anywhere and with no equipment, so there are no excuses.

    What are body weight exercises?

    There are two types of body weight exercises. Callisthenics refers to gymnastic-style exercises which are often performed with bars, gym rings, or parallets. These exercises include pull ups, muscle ups, triceps dips etc. These exercises work on the principle of using your body weight to perform a high-intensity move and to push your body to develop new skills including balance and power.

    The second type of body weight exercises is low-impact exercises which don't use weights, such as air squats and press ups. These exercises do not use any equipment whatsoever and therefore can be performed anywhere. They are not quite as effective as callisthenics as there is no external force causing the body to need to adapt and get stronger, but you can maintain a decent level of fitness with these low-impact moves.

    Are body weight exercises effective?

    Body weight exercises are hugely effective in helping to build muscle and burn fat. A lot of calisthenic moves are highly challenging and physically demanding and require a lot of balance and coordination.

    Examples of body weight exercises

    Handstands

    Handstands are a classic gymnastics move and require a lot of core strength and balance. It takes a lot of time and patience to master the handstand, but once you do, you can work your shoulders and core to the max. Increase the intensity by performing handstand push ups or handstand walks.

    Chin-ups

    Chin ups differ from pull-ups due to the position of the hands. You work the biceps and back as well as the core. They are very tough and you may need assistance before you can do one with full body weight. Most gyms have assisted chin up machines or you can ask a friend to hold your feet.

    Triceps Dips

    Triceps Dips are the perfect exercise for targeting the triceps and can easily be adapted to make the move easier or harder. Add weight for an extra kick or perform bench dips to lift less of your body weight.

    Press Ups

    Another classic exercise, this move works the chest, shoulders, and core. Perform chest and shoulder workouts in order to improve your press ups and try adding these as a superset to increase the burn during at upper body workout.

    Squats

    Basic squats, sumo squats, split leg squats and perhaps the toughest of them all pistol squats are all body weight exercises which focus on developing leg strength.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Boost Ball Protein Ball Review

    Boost Ball High Protein Sundried

    Boostball is a homegrown UK brand whose ethos is to provide the nation with 'less ingredients, more protein'. Their high protein balls contain all natural ingredients which have various health benefits. The high protein content is conducive to muscle growth and they only contain natural sugars found in fruits and plants. I was excited to try their products as they sound as delicious as they look!

    Maple & Cinnamon Roll

    The balls are raw and cold-pressed which means they don't lose any vitamins or other nutrients during the production process. The Maple & Cinnamon Roll flavour balls have a looser texture than the others which makes them easier to chew. They're nice and light with just the right amount of cinnamon flavouring without it being over-powering. There are three balls in each pack and together they provide 11g of protein which is impressive for such a light snack!

    Chocolate Orange Mud Cake

    The chocolate orange mud cake was definitely my favourite flavour! So chocolatey and moreish, I could've eaten them all day! They are lovely and sweet without the help of artificial additives and the orange flavour shines through really well. This flavour feels so decadent and indulgent, you could eat them to cure a sweet tooth or chocolate craving without having to feel guilty, winner! 

    Peanut Butter Cookie Dough

    The peanut butter cookie dough flavour was a personal highlight too. After spotting peanut butter listed on the ingredients, I confirmed with Boost Ball's 'Chief Roller' Dan Chambers that no palm oil is ever used in any of their products, which is a really important point. Palm oil is not only bad for our health but it's bad for the environment too, yet it is a really common ingredient in many processed foods, including peanut butter. So the fact that Boost Ball steer clear of it is a big tick from me. 

    Coconut Fudge Cake Boost Ball High Protein Sundried

    Coconut Fudge Cake

     The coconut fudge cake balls are covered in flaky desiccated coconut which I love, although it did make a bit of a mess on my desk! The texture is quite hard, I decided that eating each ball whole was the best option rather than trying to bite into it. But this is definitely not a negative quality; they are not so hard that they are difficult to chew. They are perfectly sweet without any added sugar or artificial sweetener which is great. 

    Verdict

    Boost Balls are the perfect snack whether it's to satisfy a craving for something sweet or just something to get you through the mid-afternoon slump at work. It's so great knowing you can have something healthy to snack on that won't taste awful and has lots of protein in it as an added benefit. I love the branding and packaging on these and they're perfectly pocket-sized so you could even take them on a run or a bike ride. It's got to be a 10 from me!

    Boost Ball on Social 

    Boost Ball on Facebook

    Instagram @boostballs

    Twitter @boost_ball

    Posted by Alexandra Parren