There are some people who seem to have no snacking needs, which is definitely admirable. I am, however, a habitual grazer. When I started dieting, it rapidly became clear that it was going to be quite difficult to fit snacks into a 1200 calorie diet. The thing about dieting is that you do tend to feel hungry.
However, I’m no longer confined by these shackles and have started reintroducing snacks into my day. I’m now in pursuit of between-meals nibbles which are satisfying but better for me than a chocolate chip biscuit or six (there are an alarming number of biscuits available in the office at any one time owing to the large number of catered events we hold). The general ‘healthy snacking’ advice out there is to have some unsweetened yoghurt; a handful of nuts; maybe some rice cakes and low-fat hummus. However, I still occasional crave a sweet snackerel, and indeed, sometimes only a buttery cookie will do. I’ve been trialling some slightly more ‘natural’ fruit-based snacks which I thought would provide some interest and sweetness when I really need to avoid the office biscuit tin but want something more exciting than an apple, and thought it might be fun to share my ‘findings’. The verdict is below.
Taste: Because they are called strawberry ‘crisps’, I expected the packet to yield freeze-dried slices of strawberry; instead, whole, perfect, albeit dried, strawberries tumbled out. They were very sweet, very pure, the most perfectly concentrated hit of strawberry flavour. They were also quite hard and some of the larger specimens a little difficult to bite through. But I really enjoyed them! You can also let them dissolve on the tongue, which is fun.
Claims: one of your ‘five a day’
Availability: These were a Holland and Barrett find for me, but they’re available through Ocado, Whole Foods, Planet Organic, Selfridges and at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Barbecoa (very random since Barbecoa is a steakhouse), according to their website.
Taste: Really nice! They’re not like soft, chewy apple rings but are quite hard, almost glassy-textured, paper-thin slices of red apple (the skin is still on) which provide exceptional crunch. As you might expect, they are quite sweet. I found them surprisingly substantial and filling: they kept me full for around two hours.
Claims: ‘No guilt, just love’. There’s also a slightly syrupy blurb about ‘starfruit-crossed lovers’ Alex and Emily, who met in the Far East (oh dear…and here I thought that Edward Said had won the day with ‘Orientalism’!) and there discovered a way of making fruit crisps, as well as a note from ‘Alex’ where he writes about naming the fruit crisps after Emily ‘so I could see your name wherever I went’. Um, okay.
Ingredients: Apples, non-hydrogenated vegetable oil
Nutritional information: a 30g pack is 124 calories and, as you might expect, provides quite a lot of sugar: 19.2g, in fact (out of a total 25.6g of carbohydrate). There’s also 2.3g of fat, but also a good amount of fibre: 3.7g.
Availability: I bought mine at Holland and Barrett but they’re also available through Ocado, Whole Foods and Selfridges in the UK…and also apparently Topshop? They also seem to be distributed in Singapore…perhaps this is the ‘Far Eastern’ connection, which brings a very different picture to my mind than the brand’s story of love and serendipity.
Taste: This little snackette is aimed as children and tastes as you might expect it to: sweet, strawberryish and not very challenging. However, it’s certainly not extremely sugary – there’s a little bit of tartness and it doesn’t make my jaw clench by any means. Although mimicking a fruit roll-up, these are much less sweet and the texture is more leathery, and it doesn’t melt. The flavour also tastes authentic rather than something cooked up in a lab. While each ‘yo yo’ is small, a bit of chewing is required which makes it feel quite satisfying. The texture of the fruit strips is not entirely smooth – there’s a little granularity, almost grittiness, which I quite like: it makes it toothsome and more interesting.
Claims: Not from concentrate. Made using whole fresh fruit, so they are high in fibre and contain the sugar of a small apple.
Nutritional information: 27 calories per 10g ‘yoyo’ (there are two per pack, so 54 in total if you eat both – I have never managed to stop at the one); 6.3g of carbohydrates, of which 3.78g is sugars (though not added sugar); 0.8g fibre, which is lower than the ‘high in fibre’ claim led me to expet. As you might expect, they have a tiny amount, but very little, protein and fat.
Availability: These are not esoteric by any means. In the UK, you can find them at any major supermarket – Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, the Co-op, Asda. Also others shops like Holland and Barrett, Boots and Wilkinson’s. You will rarely be far from a Bear Yo Yo, should you so choose.