Category Archives: Reviews

Snack Attack: Wellaby’s review

The snack market is huge and every expanding, but often snacks can be laded in calories, saturated fat and less than nutritious. I am always on the look out for new, nutritious snacks that I can eat and recommend to others. 

Wellaby’s Simple Bakes are gluten, dairy and nut free. This of course does not make them any healthier in my eyes, but it does mean they could be a worthwhile addition to the free-from snack market. Many snacks in the free-from aisle have one food group removed and replaced with fat/sugar in order to help boost the taste. 

These baked snacks are less than 100kcals per serving – however this is for a 24g serving and they come in a 120g packet. So I doubt that many people would stick to this serving size.  As well as being low in calories per portion they are low in saturated fat and sugars.

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They are marketed as being a wholegrain snack. Looking at the nutrition label they contain 4.2 g fibre per 100g, equivalent to a medium apple, this comes from the wholegrain rice flour and oats. A high fibre food is 6g/100g so I would put these as a mid-range fibre food.

I found these snacks really tasty. I sometimes find the flavouring in snack foods can be overpowering or too artificial tasting, but these were a good balance. I also enjoyed the crunch. 

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It would be great to see these in smaller, portion controlled packets, I particularly like the fibre content and the fact they are gluten, dairy and nut free.

Disclaimer: All views are my own, I was sent these 3 packets to review.

Umami, Uvuvu, a review.

Umami is firstly such a fabulous word, it reminds me of that televison programme Shooting Stars – anyone know what I mean? The phrase I’m thinking of was “Uvavu” I digress. Umami is a Japanese word for “savoury taste” and together with saltiness, bitterness, sweetness and sourness it is one of the 5 basic tastes. Think marmite, fermented foods and bone broths and seaweed – that kind of flavour. So you possibly love it or hate it! It comes from glutamates in food, mushrooms, cured meats, fish sauce and soy sauce all contain it. Much like a good stock, it is one of those tastes that adds to a food/meal rather than being something you eat in isolation.

I was sent some Clearspring Umami Paste to try out.

 

Dietitian UK: Umami Paste

 

The ginger paste contains soy sauce (wheat containing but only a little so I’m able to tolerate it), cultured rice, water and ginger. Initially I wasn’t too sure what to do with it and life was busy, so it sat eyeing me up on my worktop. Then when the sleep deprivation had leveled out and my creative brain cell had reared it’s head I went to work. I’m already a fan and I’ve not used half the packet. That’s not because I haven’t used it, but because a little does go a long way. With 6.3g of salt per 100g and a  family of young children I also am aware I don’t want to use much of it per meal anyway. 

I’ve been adding this flavour enhancer to stir fries, marinades and casseroles. It really did zing up our stir fry, a little spice from the ginger but mainly a lovely savoury deepness to the sauce. I’ve also found it makes a really quick, easy dressing for salads including my fav go-to noodle salad 

 

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A great staple for the store cupboard that will liven up your cooking.

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me free of charge to try out. All views expressed are my own.

Review: Goldhill Organics Vegetable Box

Fruit and vegetables is something I am passionate about and something we eat a lot of in our house. In fact I must admit I start to panic when I can see the bottom of the fruit bowl and when the veggie supply is low but there was no plan to go shopping that day – what am I going to feed the family on? In those moments I fall back on my freezer stash!

Years ago I had a vegetable box once a fortnight. I had been married a couple of years and had just completed my dietitian training. The veggie box was so exciting. Firstly there was the excitement of opening it (I love parcels and post), discovering what was in the brown box of goodies.

Dietitian UK: Goldhill Vegetable Box Review 1

Then there was the rush of creativity in my head – what recipes jumped out at me, what different foods were in there that I wouldn’t usually have bought but love and what the hell was I meant to do with the Jerusalem artichokes (substitute sprouts, beetroot, turnip or marrow in here). Then came the little booklet with ideas and recipes. I am a complete recipe-a-holic. Give me a magazine and you will find me snaffling through for the food section and tearing out bits for my recipe book – used for those “unpinable to Pinterest moments” 

When we moved house and ended up with a mortgage as huge as the pyramids my vegetable box was something I had to give up. That was a sad moment. Then with a family of 4, soon to be 5 eating mouths I would now need one huge box. The small box we were sent would not last us long and did not contain enough “throw a meal together style veggies” for my family. We would need the large box each week which is £20.95. I eat around 7 portions of fruit and veg a day, the husband probably only 4 but I’m working on him, the 2 eating kidlets 5 portions each. So that is 11 adult and 10 child’s portions a day. Woah! 

Shortly after having baby 3, in need of a helping hand with food, Goldhill Organics, the Dorset-based veg and meat box home delivery business sent me a vegetable box to try out. What was perfect about the box they sent me is, it being May, they sent me a lot of salad bits. Wham bam, on the table quick and easy. It has actually reignited our love of salad. When I say our, I mean mainly mine and Miss K 😉

We received a small vegetable box costing £13.95 that was in a sealed box divided into compartments containing:

A large lettuce

6 radishes

1 bunch of spring onions

2 medium turnips

2 large beetroot

3 large onions

1 bag of potatoes

1 pak choi 

Dietitian UK: Goldhill Vegetable Box Review 3

Unexpectedly the radishes were devoured by my “not that keen on vegetables but will eat them if mummy says I should” boy. Why? Because Peter rabbit eats them. DOH! Hilariously he kept eating too many radish slices and had a mouth on fire! But it didn’t stop him going back for more. So now we are planting radish seeds. Miss K has never been a fab of lettuce, but having salad on the table more led to her trying a small amount at each meal and she now is acquiring the taste. Both the children lapped up the spring onions too, which is something I don’t often buy. The pak choi falls into the category of “veg I rarely buy but I love” so that is going into an stir fry. Having lived in Hong Kong for a few years a stir fry is something I love.

The beetroot I am saving for the weekend… why? Because I am cooking up tonight as I want to make my beetroot chocolate brownies! It has to be done and surely is a necessity when breastfeeding a newborn? That is my excuse anyway. 

The vegetables were all very fresh, in great condition and tasty. I could not fault the quality. Would I go back to a vegetable box? I would love to, but I just find it a bit too expensive for our family. Instead we try and grow as much of our own as we can and shop around for the rest. We have fruit trees and bushes and freeze down the excess for the winter months. Recent Soil Association research showed that organic box schemes and independent organic enterprises grew by 8.2% in 2015. Great news. I do love the vegetables box schemes and think they are a great way to entice people to experiment more, try new veggies and cook from fresh more. However there are also other ways to get your veggies: buying from the local greengrocer, using the supermarket and growing your own for example.

Goldhill is run by husband and wife team Jane and Nick Somper. The company offers home deliveries of organic fruit and vegetable boxes, produce is sourced mainly from its home farm, Goldhill Organic Farm with vegetables picked and delivered the same day. They also supply grass fed meat and local artisan produce.

Disclaimer: I was sent this box free of charge to review. All views are my own and I was not financially compensated for this post.

Adagio Tea Review

My love of tea is well known, especially loose leaf tea. For me loose leaf tea provides a far superior  flavour and it the whole brewing process is something that I love. If you haven’t tried loose leaf tea then you really must. For me it is like comparing instant to fresh coffee.

Having been pregnant or breastfeeding for a large part of the past 5 years and now pregnant again I’ve had to reduce my loose leaf tea consumption and turn to decaffeinated tea. Yes herbal and fruit teas are nice, but nothing quite hits the spot as well as an Earl Grey or Orange Pekoe. So I was overjoyed when Adagio Tea’s sent me some of their loose leaf decaff tea to try. 

The decaff Earl grey was the tea that I was most excited about, fortunately I was not disappointed. It makes a lovely light, fragrant tea that is perfect in the mornings for me with my porridge. Finally a nice decaff loose leaf tea that I can drink without feeling bad about baby.

Dietitian UK: Adagio Tea Review 2

The blood orange tea literally filled my kitchen with the scent of Spain. Really lovely to have a loose leaf herbal tea with whole chunks of fruit. Like pot pourri in a tea! 

Dietitian UK: Adagio Tea Review 1

My biggest like was the IngenuiTEA. This is a genius product! I love my teapot but am not so keen on the cleaning out. I love the fact I can carry this to the table, take my tea to the table and pour it without a tea strainer. As soon as you place it on top of the mug the tea magically drips through. My children have loved watching. It is easy to clean and goes in the dishwasher. Perfect for busy mums like myself.

Dietitian UK: Adagio Tea Review 3

 

These teas were sent to me free to review. No money was paid for this post. All views are 100% my own. Read my disclaimer here.

 

Rawnola Review

 I love granola. There is something that just hits the spot when you combine the crunch with  some yoghurt and fruit. For me it’s not really a breakfast food as I find it too sweet first thing in the morning. I like to save my sweet hit for late in the evening, once I’ve taught my Pilates classes and have sleeping children. Then I can savour it in peace, no-one to pinch any from my bowl and no rush to eat it. If you are a parent you will likely know what I mean!

Rawnola is gluten free, dairy free, wheat free, egg free, years free and free from artificial chemicals. So what exactly does it have in it? It’s a mix of cashews, almonds and walnut with pumpkin and sunflower seeds, coconut and dried cranberry. All of this is baked in spices (cinnamon, star anise, fennel, pepper, cloves, lime juice) with maple syrup for sweetness. I’m into my spices so this flavour combo really rocked my boat. Nutritionally it isn’t low in sugar but if you need some spice and sweetness to get you eating more nuts and seeds then that’s ok in my book.

Dietitian UK: Rawnola 1

This is also not granola. The lack of oats makes it definitely not granola.  In my opinion it brings a welcome addition to the granola-like market. 

Disclaimer: All views are my own, I was given a free sample for the purposes of this post.

 

WIN: A years supply of Green Tea!

Green tea is something I really need to get into the habit of drinking more. It is supercharged with antioxidants and flavanoids which are known to confer health benefits on the body. These fighting nutrients can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the body and may protect against some cancers.

Clipper use #unbleachedbags for their tea, taking out another step of processing. They are also using unbleached paper for the labels on the tea bags. Do you really need a white tea bag  when it is just going in your cup to brew? When drinking tea in a bag, I would prefer the most natural, chemical free version possible. So unbleached bags get a thumbs up from me.

WIN a YEARS SUPPLY of GREEN TEA and Keep Cup from Clipper:

To enter, pop over to Twitter:

1. Follow me @dietitianuk

2. Answer the following in a tweet: “My favourite Clipper Green Tea is…… #unbleachedbags” I want to win a years supply of Green Tea @clipperteas

3. or RT my tweet about the competition

You have 24 hours (ends Tues 5th May 8.30pm)

Dietitian UK: Win a years suppler of Tea - Clipper prize

Green tea leaves come from the plant Camellia sinensis. The difference between green and black tea is the fermentation process, green tea is not fermented but black tea is.

I like to drink mine in the morning, the clearness of it feels refreshing and it is hydrating. I’ve been drinking green tea for years. My favourites from the Clipper range are the Green Tea with Lemon and the Original Green Tea. I love the fact they also have a decaff version.

T&C’s:
All entrants must be in the UK.
The winner will be picked by random by Clipper.
The prize will be posted out by Clipper.
One entry per person. 
There are no alternative prizes.
Competition ends Tuesday 5th May 8.30pm

 

 

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this Giveaway and all views are my own.

Upbeat Drinks Review

I love the name of this brand. We all need something to make our day more Upbeat from time to time. So let’s take a look at the drinks…

Dietitian UK: Upbeat Drinks Review

Upbeat make protein drinks, but these are marketed as a drink for everyone, not just body builders and athletes. They are a dairy drink with 20g protein, 11-12g sugar (mainly from the milk) and less than 150kcals per bottle. They also have sucralose added as an extra sweetener.

PER 100g this works out as:
249 kcals
0.8g fat
0.5g saturates
5g carbs
4.7g sugars
8g protein
52mg calcium

So they are lower in sugar than a lot of other drinks, containing about the same amount of sugar as milk does. I like the fact that they contain calcium as many people I work with need a calcium boost. These are not high in calcium but it all adds up.

They taste good, not thick like a milkshake and not as sweet as a smoothie. I particularly like the Mango and Passionfruit.

Working with clients who have eating disorders I would suggest these drinks to clients who need to boost their calories but do not want to take a supplement. They are a good alternative to a smoothie as they contain less sugar and have the added calcium.

 

Disclaimer: All views are my own. I received free product for the review as well as product for an event.

My Favourite Cookery Books

I have a lot of cookery books. Well over 50, I try hard to justify this as “I need them for work purposes” or “I cook a lot” but I will admit to it being a slight obsession. I just love to sit down and read recipes! Every now and again I try and have a cull, which rarely works that well. There are some I rarely used but I keep thinking that I may need them. Send help please!

So whilst sifting through my shelves for a recipe I thought I would do a quick post on my favourite cookery books.

Dietitian UK: My Favourite Cookery Books

1. The Dairy Book of Home Cookery: this had to have a place as it is my oldest cookery book. My mum bought this from the milkman many years ago and I learnt to cook from it. So when I went to Uni, this book went with me. It was known as the cookery Bible for many years and I still refer to it now for basic classic recipes such as souffles, fairy cakes, scones and sauces.

2. The Womens Weekly Indian Step by Step Book: I have quite a few of this range of books and love them all. The Chinese and the Thai ones are well used in my house too. Although I cook curry frequently I like variety, this book provides really good curry recipes that are simple to follow but taste amazing.

3. Healthy Gluten Free Eating: If you are looking for a good starter gluten free cookbook then I would highly recommend this one. I dip into it for inspiration and ideas, mainly the baking section. I wouldn’t call the cakes “healthy” but they are delicious treats!

4. Seriously Good Gluten-Free Cooking: This book was a gift from a lodger who was Coeliac. I’ve used lots of the savoury recipes from it and the birthday cake. In fact I must go back into it and find more recipes to use! We regularly cook the leek risotto for family meals and there are some lovely ideas for entertaining, great salads and accompaniments such as dips, sauces and relishes.

5. Jamies’s 30 Minute Meals: I bought this for hubby to give to me for Christmas 😉 Now I must admit to never making a whole meal from the book from start to finish, but it is one of those books I dip into and take recipes from different pages to create a meal. I love the concept but with 2 small children this is more of a book I use when people come for dinner or for weekend cookery.

6. My Daddy Cooks: I love this book. I’ve worked my way through a lot of the recipes and there are a number that are now firm family favourites. Nick Coffer has hit the nail on the head with recipes that are family friendly in terms of being able to cook them with the kids, around the kids and the kids enjoy eating them. We love the Sticky baked Salmon noodles and the Jambalaya. This is a recipe book that I should really get my husband to start using as it is simple, well written and some of the recipes really are fool-proof!

What are your favourite cookery books? I’d love to hear. I’m off to read a few more recipes now I have all the books out 🙂

Review: Healthy Snack Foods

Due to my lifestyle  (busy mum, running 2 businesses as a dietitian and a Pilates teacher) I tend to eat a good breakfast and dinner with my children. Lunchtime is quite variable. Sometimes I’m teaching classes, sometimes I am with clients and sometimes I am eating with the children. Either way it is busy so I tend to have a small lunch and snack mid morning and mid afternoon to top myself up. So healthy snacks are essential for me.

I was recently sent some snack foods for the launch of our new Pilates, nutrition and Wellness studio…. which meant I got to try them all, yay!

Lizi’s Granola:

I tend to eat porridge for breakfast or make my own version of a muesli. Oats are my mainstay. So I was quite excited to try out this granola. I was sent the Low Sugar Granola to review. 

This provides 3.8g sugar per 100g so is classed as low sugar. Looking at the ingredients there is some sugar added in the way of fructose and black treacle, but these are the last ingredients on the list, each making up only 1.6% of the product. 

The granola contains oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts plus coconut. It’s low in Glycamic Load which means when you eat a portion of this it will help maintain your blood sugar levels within a normal range rather than leading to a large rise in blood sugars. So eating this granola should help keep your energy levels up and keep you satiated.

So we know it is a healthy granola but is it tasty? YES. I still like my porridge or oats for breakfast but this has become a big hit in my family as a topping on yoghurt. I find it a great post-pilates snack in the evening after classes and my children are having some after tea on their yoghurt too.

 Dietitian UK: Lizi's Low Sugar Granola Review

 Munchy Seeds:

A very versatile snack. I was really surprised by how many people liked these at our launch. Sometimes seeds can be seen as too fiddly to eat, not that tasty and in my husbands words “rabbit food”. However these seeds seemed to be a hit with our clients.

I like them as a snack, grabbing a handful as I’m on the way to a class. I find them a little salty for my palette…. 

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Emily’s  Fruit Crisps:

I’ve been a fan of these for a while so it was fabulous to introduce others to these amazing fruit crisps. They are rather addictive and were the first thing on our table to go.

Perfect to keep in your bag as a snack or mix with nuts/seeds to make your own Grazing snack box.

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California Prunes:

Dried fruit is always a go to snack for me. I tend to keep it in large Kilner jars on a shelf in my kitchen so it’s easy to access and on view. If healthy snacks are visible you are more likely to eat those and not grab a biscuit 😉

Prunes can help you absorb iron, due to their content of Vitamin C. So if you are worried about your iron or are pregnant these could be a great thing to eat. They also contain soluble fibre which can help stabilise blod sugar levels and help keep you fuller for longer. Prunes are also well know for their effect on helping to keep the bowels regular, this is due to the insoluble fibre they contain, which passes into the large intestine where it feeds the “good” bacteria.

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These prunes are sweet and juicy. A word of caution would be to make sure you watch your portion control! 

Disclaimer: All these products were sent to me for free, I was not paid financially for this post. All views are my own.

Good Friday Mess.

This Easter Miss K is 4. Already she is telling me that the Easter bunny will be coming with chocolate eggs – which is not something she has picked up from home… so today we took full advantage of our local churches and descended into the full on Mess of Messy Church.

Good Friday morning we went to Highfield church, which was quite literally full of children. A room filled with about 10 tables of activities to choose from. My hardest job was trying to keep an eye on the toddler boy who was running around as if he had never seen a huge room before… and trying to help Miss K do various crafts. We made an Easter card using Hama beads, we decorated a stone, we played with clay (Miss K made a caterpillar!), made a palm leaf and used biscuits to make a tomb. All very creative and Easter like, giving us a good talking point later on at home.

Dietitian UK: Good Friday Mess 2

The church service was well thought out for mums of small ones as it was full of stations to move around and journey through the Easter story, this gave us time to reflect as parents and time for me to explain a little of what was going on. Finally a lunch of pasta, tomato sauce, cheese and ham. Minus the veggies sadly, but mine had veggies as a snack later that day to make up for it 😉 This led to a messy J-boy. A wonderful event that I would certainly not have been able to recreate at home. 

Then later in the day we went to Citylife Church, a place where we frequent for playgroup and other groups. This meant I could let the boy off to run around a little more. In fact by the time I had taken off my coat he was sat at a table looking at decorating a cake! I distracted him with paint. Here we decorated Easter cakes, made daffodil Easter cards, made an Easter garden and my favourite – used shaving foam and paint to decorate a paper Easter egg.

Dietitian UK: Good Friday Mess

 

Dietitian UK: Good Friday Mess 3

This truly was “Messy” church. The service part was very suitable for my small ones and led to Miss K really grasping the Easter story through a video. My boy sat on my lap on the floor and simple pointed to the screen asking for “More”. Bless him.

Coming home tonight in the car Miss K tells me “Mummy it must have hurt Jesus’ hands to be nailed to a cross”. At 4 years old this girl speaks volumes.

Easter in our house does involve Chocolate but it’s more about remembering the man who gave his all for us.

Happy Easter.