20 Foods That I Wish Would Make a Comeback

I’m feeling very nostalgic (and hungry) today, so I thought I’d share this list: a collection of foods which are no longer available and which I miss dearly. (The original article which I wrote on Buzzfeed can be found here, but I thought I’d recreate it on my blog for all you foodies.)

1. Citrus Polos

enhanced-buzz-23356-1412830008-21
robchapman.tv

These were so sharp they made your tongue hurt and turned your mouth a horrific yellow/green colour (especially if you ate a whole packet in one go like I did). But they were so good.

2. Mint Skittles

sp4.fotolog.com
sp4.fotolog.com

The best mints ever. I seem to remember that the blue colours were the best, and the green the worst. Way better than chewing-gum.

3. 3D Doritos

clashofthedragons.com
clashofthedragons.com

3D crisps just makes things more fun. And they were obviously delicious too- they’re Doritos after all.

4. Mini Hoola-Hoops

enhanced-buzz-24811-1412830507-15
foodengineeringmag.com

I don’t know why mini hoola-hoops were so much better than the regular kind, but they were, and they had so much more flavour. But you couldn’t stick them on your fingers like rings, as you can with the regular kind, which is a negative I suppose…

5. Shakey Jake Milkshake

thestudentroom.co.uk
thestudentroom.co.uk

Shakey Jake milkshakes were delicious, and they came in cute bottles. Double the goodness.

6. Campino Sweets

thepartypredicament.blogspot.kr
thepartypredicament.blogspot.kr

Hard-boiled sweets aren’t usually that exciting, but Campinos were so good. I actually got given something very similar in Korea last week and was beyond excited.

7. Panda Pops

wrestlingforum.com
wrestlingforum.com

The classic kid’s fizzy drink- I used to buy these everyday from school for about 20 pence. Just amazing flavours, the ‘strawberry jelly’ I remember was particularly good… Probably full of artificial sugars and E numbers, but we didn’t care.

8. Cadbury’s Marble

thestudentroom.co.uk
thestudentroom.co.uk

A mix of white chocolate, milk chocolate, and praline is clearly a match made in heaven- why did Cadbury’s ever stop making these bars?

9. Ben and Jerry’s Fossil Fuel

caloriecount.about.com
caloriecount.about.com

Fudge swirls, sweet-cream ice cream, cookie pieces and fudge dinosaurs to make it unique- I wish Ben and Jerry’s would bring back Fossil Fuel…please.

10. Ice Cream Flavour Chewits

someonesinthewolf.files.wordpress.com
someonesinthewolf.files.wordpress.com

The best flavour of Chewits out there, hands down.

11. Baked Bean Pizza

johntomsett.files.wordpress.com
johntomsett.files.wordpress.com

It might sound weird, but this pizza was so yummy. I would kill to be able to have one of these again.

12. Starburst Joosters

singletrackworld.com
singletrackworld.com

Similar to Jelly Beans, and so good. Please Starburst, bring back Joosters!

13. Cadbury Snaps

www.pinterest.com
http://www.pinterest.com

Pretty much chocolate in the shape of Pringles- addictive and delicious. The only downside was accidently eating a whole box in one go…

14. Fruit Allsorts

pinterest.com
pinterest.com

Allsorts without the liquorice- just amazing.

15. Flake Snow

blogs.telegraph.co.uk
blogs.telegraph.co.uk

Anything with white chocolate is always amazing, and this was no exception. It was like a regular Flake, only better.

16. Cadbury’s Dream Egg

media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com
media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com

White chocolate egg filled with creamy white chocolate. The sweetest, sickliest, and best mini-Easter egg ever. And way better than ordinary Dream bars.

17. Bisc &…

abload.de
abload.de

Biscuit topped with your favourite chocolate bar? Yes please.

18. Cadbury’s Fuse Bar

chocablog.com
chocablog.com

A chocolate bar filled with nuts, fudge, raisins and cereal bits- it’s no surprise that there have been campaigns to bring these bars back to the shelves!

19. Flavoured Coke

en.wikipedia.org
en.wikipedia.org

Coke and lime… coke and lemon… vanilla coke… Sometimes you can find one of these flavours but they’re so rare. So much better than plain old coke.

20. Lucky Charms

4.bp.blogspot.com
4.bp.blogspot.com

Ok, I know you can find Lucky Charms in some shops these days, but they’re always hugely overpriced- I don’t want to pay £6 for a box of cereal… Please bring them back properly, and for a normal price!

There are many more foods which I miss and wish would make a comeback, but these in particular would go down a treat! If you can think of any more forgotten gems, please leave a comment below…

The Coolest Ice Creams In Korea

Koreans can be pretty creative and original when it comes to snacking, as I wrote about here. And there is no better example of their innovative ideas than looking at their amazing ice lollies: exciting flavours, imaginative designs, and a huge selection at every store. And, most importantly, they’re (on the whole) delicious.

Let’s have a look at some of the best Korean ice lollies, and exactly why they’re so great:

Frozen Milkshakes

A half-ice-cream half-milkshake, creamy, sweet and delicious. It’s way cheaper than going to your local cafe for a milkshake, and tastes just as good.

Jaws Ice Lolly

IMG_1313

Top marks for originality with this one. Not only named after ‘Jaws’ but actually made to resemble a shark’s mouth. Pretty random, but it’s fun and it tastes nice too, so you can’t go too wrong with it!

Corn Ice Cream

Another creative design with these lollies- not only corn-flavoured, but made to look like a real piece of corn on the cob and filled with cream. Why you would associate ice cream and corn is anyone’s guess, but at least it’s unique!

Watermelon Ice Lolly

IMG_1305

Another replica, this one a bit more normal than corn on the cob! It’s a cool design, and the makers have even gone so far as to recreate little watermelon pips inside the ice lolly. And it doesn’t just look good, it’s also yummy and refreshing- the whole package.

Melon Ice Lolly

I love melon, so I was so excited to see all the melon-flavoured things in Korea. And the ice lollies are as good as expected! This one has an almost creamy texture, which I found an unexpected, but pleasant surprise.

Disney’s Frozen Ice Cream

bustle.com
bustle.com

Because who doesn’t love ‘Frozen’? (Especially in Korea where the majority of children are borderline obsessed). It’s certainly a way to ensure that children beg their parents for this ice cream over the others. Who cares what’s inside, when Elsa is on the packaging?!

Chelsea FC Ice Cream

Another branded ice-cream, this one a bit more random as I’m sure there aren’t too many Chelsea FC supporters living in Korea. You can also find other teams like Manchester United and Arsenal. Maybe there’s the hope that children will enjoy the ice-cream and start supporting the football team on the wrapper…

Squeezy Ice Lollies

A lot of the ice lollies come in these plastic tubes, and you have to kind of squeeze them up. While it might not be the easiest way to eat an ice lolly, it does have the advantage that the thing doesn’t melt all over you within seconds during the hot summer months. And, it’s a better invention than cardboard tubes, which get all soggy and wet from melted ice-lolly.

Fudge Ice Lolly

If you’ve never had one of these, try one now. They are so creamy and taste exactly like liquid fudge. Definitely one of the best ice lollies I’ve ever had, and not too sinful either. These need to start being exported to England before I go home…

Choco Fudge Ice Lolly

Not quite as good as the fudge ice lolly, but good all the same. A nice chocolate exterior, with a yummy fudge filling. It has a consistency somewhere between an ice lolly and an ice cream (much like the fudge version), and it’s a good medium. Another win.

Fish-Shaped Ice Cream

IMG_1303

The fact that you have an ice cream which is made to look like a fish doesn’t surprise me any more, which might be a sign that I’ve lived in Korea quite a while. A wafer exterior, filled with ice-cream and red-bean filling, I quite like this ice cream. But that is probably because I’m a big fan of red-bean; if you’re not, then this isn’t the choice for you (and stay away from the other, many, red-bean-flavoured ice lollies too!)

Mojito Ice Lolly

This is one of my favourites. It isn’t alcoholic, unsurprisingly, but I love it (nearly) as much as I love a real mojito. Flavoured with lemon and lime, it’s so refreshing in summer. The best cocktail-replica I’ve ever tasted, for sure.

 

There are so many more ice lollies which could be added to this list: coffee-flavoured, every fruit-flavour under the sun, weird  flavours like cheese, and endless shapes, sizes and designs. I think it’s fair to say that there’s an ice cream to suit everyone, and I’m very happy to say that there are many to suit me…

Sin-Free Stewed Apples

When it’s cold in the evening, there’s nothing better than a warming dessert. Well, actually, perhaps the best thing is a guilt-free warming dessert. I’m a huge fan of apple pie, apple crumble, apple strudel, basically anything apple-flavoured. But, it wouldn’t be too healthy to eat these every night. And let’s face it- the best part of these puddings is the sweet apple filling. So I decided to recreate my favourite apple desserts, minus the unhealthy pastry part.

What was I left with? A completely innocent apple treat, which you can enjoy any night of the week. After all, according to that famous saying, an apple a day keeps the doctor away…

Here is the recipe for my sin-free stewed apples. Simple, quick and delicious (I apologize for the lack of photos, I got too excited whilst cooking/ eating to remember to take any).

Ingredients (for 2 or 3 servings):

Apples- 4 large

Water- 150 ml

Cinnamon- 2 large tablespoons

Brown sugar/ Honey/ Sweetener- 2 large tablespoons.

Directions

1) Peel the apples and chop them into small chunks

2) Put them in a large pan, and sprinkle on the cinnamon and sugar/ sweetener/ honey.

3) Pour on the water- it doesn’t look like a lot, but it is enough once it has started cooking. If you need, you can always add more later.

4) Turn the heat on high until the water is boiling high up the pan and covering the apples.

5) Turn down the heat slightly, but make sure the water is still bubbling enough to cook all of the apples. Cook at this temperature for about 15 minutes, or until your apples are soft.

6) Take the apples off the heat. You can serve as they are, or if you prefer a softer texture (as I do), mash with a fork or potato masher, until they are at the consistency you desire.

7) Enjoy!

If you want to make the dessert a little naughtier, add a topping like custard, ice cream, peanut butter, whatever you desire! Or, eat alone for the perfect, warming, healthy dessert. It couldn’t be easier. 

Saying Goodbye To Sugar

en.wikipedia
en.wikipedia

There’s been a big change in nutritional advice over the past few years; while before, fatty foods were seen as the worst thing for your diet, evil options which instantly add inches to your waist and clog your arteries, nowadays it’s sugar which is viewed as the enemy. Things with a higher fat content like eggs are suddenly ‘superfoods’, and nutritionists are advising increased consumption of such foods, advising people to restrict their sugar intake instead. (This isn’t to say that your entire diet should be made up from fats- it isn’t an excuse to eat unlimited amounts of cheese, unfortunately).

I’d read a lot of negative things about sugar, without really taking much notice. That is, until I read Nicole Mowbray’s Sweet Nothing which made me re-think things and make the effort to decrease my sugar intake. The reason? I simply didn’t realise how much sugar I was consuming; I am a healthy eater, and am not one to snack on sweets, cakes or to drink full-sugar drinks, and therefore didn’t for a second think I ate much sugar at all. As it turns out, I was eating sugar that I didn’t even realise existed in the foods I was eating, and my diet was in fact a lot-less varied than I thought.

The foods I’d eat daily would be things like: cereal, bread, fruit, low-fat yoghurts, crackers and cereal bars, dried fruit, noodles or rice with shop-bought sauces. All healthy options- or so I thought. After all, my diet wasn’t full of takeaways, fatty foods or sweets, and I’d choose a low-fat option over the ‘unhealthy’ alternative. But in reality, I was actually eating a relatively unbalanced diet  which was high in sugar.

Here are some of the worst foods for being deceptively high in sugar (and which my old diet consisted mainly of):

  •  Granola/ Muesli/ Cereal

    en.wikipedia
    en.wikipedia

Even the healthier-looking cereals contain a fair amount of sugar: Dorset Cereals Honey Granola has over 11 grams of sugar in one portion- more sugar than you’d find in a Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut. Even Bran Flakes which are regarded as the plainest, healthiest of cereals have 12 grams of sugar in one portion- almost twice that of a Krispy Kreme. It turns out that cereal doesn’t have to be chocolate-flavoured or brightly coloured to be full of sugar.

  • Refined Carbohydrates- The ‘White’ Stuff

White bread, pasta, rice, etc. These refined carbohydrates turn into sugar very quickly in the body, causing your blood sugar level to rise sharply and then drop, leaving you feeling hungry after only a short amount of time. If you eat a lot of white carbs you might not think you’re eating a lot of sugar, but the effect on the body is similar. Plus, quite often sugar is added to things, especially to baked foods like breads/ bagels; this could lead to you eating sugar you’re unaware of.

  •  Low-fat Yoghurts

    KS_California_strawberry_yogurt
    BrokenSphere via Wikimedia Commons

Another one of my mistakes- always choosing the ‘low-fat’ or ‘low-calorie’ choice. In reality, these aren’t the healthy option, as they are packed with added sugar. Fat-free yoghurts have up to 14 grams of sugar in one serving, more than you’d find in a chocolate mousse and the same amount as in a portion of Haribo jelly sweets.

  • Fruit Juices/ Smoothies

Orange juice contains around  9 grams of sugar per 100 ml, while Coke has 10 grams per 100 ml. Would you drink coke with your breakfast? Obviously not. Orange juice, on the other hand, is largely marketed as healthy, despite their almost identical sugar content. If you have a glass of around 300 ml orange juice, you’re drinking almost 30 grams of sugar and a third of your recommended daily intake.

Smoothies are no better; they’re largely marketed as being super-healthy, a way to get your daily portion of fruit along with numerous vitamins and minerals. In reality, they contain more sugar than anything else. Take Innocent smoothies, branded for being completely natural and, well, innocent.Well, they contain up to 12 grams of sugar in only 100 ml- more sugar than coke. It might be natural sugars, but it is still an exceedingly high amount.

  • Low-Fat Products

Another thing I’m guilty of; thinking I’m being healthy by choosing low-fat desserts or ready-meals. But while they may be low in fat, there is a ton of added sugar in such foods: one Weight Watched Chilli and Wedges ready-meal has nearly 13 grams of sugar, while their desserts have over 23 grams of sugar- the same amount as a bar of Galaxy chocolate. It could be better to have a full-fat treat once in a while, than frequent ‘healthy’ treats, it seems!

  • Alcohol

    en.wikipedia
    en.wikipedia

It’s easy for forget that you’re consuming calories and consequently, sugar, when you’re drinking alcohol, when in fact alcohol is brimming-full of sugar. Beer can contain up to 20 grams of sugar in one pint and a glass of wine can have around 10 grams of sugar. Not to mention cocktails, which are loaded with sugary fruit juice…

  • Packaged Soup and Sauces

Another way you could be eating far more sugar than you realise. Even in savoury sauces and soups, there is a fair amount of added sugar. When looking at many different brands of sweet chilli sauce, one thing is the same: ‘sugar’ is the first thing written on the ingredient list. There is over 6 grams of sugar in one serving, and over 40 grams in 100 grams. In pasta sauces, you can see around 10 grams of sugar in one serving, even in the ‘healthy living’ version.

And then there’s soup- not something you’d think of as sugary. Well, in one can of tomato soup, there are, in fact 20 grams of sugar, and even in the ‘diet’ version there are nearly 10 grams.

  • Cereal Bars

I used to eat tons of cereal bars, thinking they were so healthy, when in fact, some bars have around 20 grams of sugar in them, double that of something like a Kit-Kat. Pretty shocking for something marketed as the ‘healthy’ alternative to a chocolate bar. Plus, if you look at the ingredients list, sugar (and alternatives to sugar: syrup, glucose etc) is always present high-up the list.

tips.stayhealth.xyz
tips.stayhealth.xyz

There are a few easy swaps you can make to your diet to dramatically decrease your sugar intake. Here are some foods which have become a staple in my diet:

  • Oats and oatcakes
  • Rye bread
  • Eggs (mainly for breakfasts to replace sugary cereals)
  • Grains- quinoa, oats, buckwheat, rye, brown rice
  • Protein- chicken, fish, eggs, tofu
  • Avocado
  • Vegetables in the place of fruit.

I have spoken before about easy, healthy food swaps here. It only takes a few smalls changes to make a big difference: swap white for brown, swap fruit for vegetables, swap processed for natural. If you’re like me, you’ll actually find that your diet becomes a lot more varied and interesting; my meals consist of much more flavour-full food now that I’ve replaced the refined carbohydrates with other, more tasty things.

I have found the benefits to be worth the effort; I used to get sharp hunger pangs a couple of hours after breakfast, even feeling shaky if I hadn’t eaten for a little while. This has now changed, and I feel fuller for longer, which is great! And you are safe in the knowledge that you’re filling your body with good stuff; I thought I was already pretty healthy, but it turned out I wasn’t. Now, I honestly feel better for the changes that I’ve made.

Obviously, you still need some sugar in your diet, and it is almost impossible to cut it completely from your diet. But what is important is to make sure the majority of your sugar intake is natural sugars, those found in fruit and vegetables, and to not eat too many processed/ unnatural sugars.

So, if you want to feel healthier, trying making a few small changes and cutting the levels of the sinful white stuff in your diet… even if you’re not chomping down on tons of sweets every day, your diet still might be a lot sweeter than you thought…

ilmonitodelgiardino.it
ilmonitodelgiardino.it

 

 

 

 

Too Much Of A Good Thing

Recently there has been a huge rise in ‘clean eating’; people discarding processed foods for fresh, healthy produce, in the hope of living a much healthier lifestyle. The benefits advertised certainly sound promising; weight loss, more energy, shiny hair, clear skin, even improvement in your mood. Indeed, it is definitely a beneficial lifestyle change to cut the rubbish out of your diet and embark upon a new, healthy eating regime.

But, as with everything in life, there has to be balance. We all know that broccoli is good for you, but do we eat 10 broccolis everyday? No, that would lead to intense digestive problems. The same goes for the healthy foods which we are all encouraged to eat as part of a clean diet; yes, they have numerous health benefits, but if we eat too much because we believe them to be  the cure to all our ailments, we won’t end up any better off. In fact, we could end up heavier than before.

Let’s have a look at the trendy foods which we have to be wary not to overdose in:

  •  Avocado
JJ Harrison Wikimedia Commons
JJ Harrison Wikimedia Commons

Avocados are a great source of healthy fats and are full of fiber; they are therefore good to include in your diet.

But be careful- they are much higher in calories than other fruits, having around 180 kcal in 100 grams: double that of a banana which has 90 kcal per 100 grams, and much higher than the 50 kcal in 100 grams of apple and  30 kcal in 100 grams of strawberries.

So while it is good to eat avocados, make sure you’re not eating them as ‘little extras’ without being aware of the calories they pack- eating a whole avocado isn’t the same as eating a whole apple and could have a negative impact on your waistline.

  • Nuts
en.wikipedia
en.wikipedia

Nuts have numerous health benefits- they’re a good source of protein, healthy fats and fiber.

However, they are deceptively high in calories: 100 grams of nuts typically contains just under 600 kcal and 50 grams of fat. What’s worse is that because nuts are so small, it’s easy to be eating a much bigger portion than you realise; eat just 20 nuts? That’s around 200 calories added to your daily intake. So be careful that you don’t eat a whole bag as if they were crisps!

  • Healthy Oils
Selinarif Wikimedia Commons
Selinarif Wikimedia Commons

There are many ‘healthy’ oils around these days, coconut oil being the current favourite. And it’s true that they are a much better option to cook with, but there is still no excuse to use too much of them.

For example, coconut oil has become the new ‘super food’, with promises of how it helps your skin and hair, lowers cholesterol and can aid weight loss. However, coconut has close to 90% saturated fat and has just under a whopping 900 kcal per 100 grams. Other types such as olive oil have around 800 kcal in 100 grams.

Therefore although they are better to use than their unhealthy alternatives, it doesn’t mean that you should choose to cook with oil if you can avoid it. If you can, choose to grill, poach or steam food to save adding unnecessary calories.

  • Seeds
en.wikipedia
en.wikipedia

It is common for people to add seeds to food to make their food extra-healthy. And it’s true that seeds are abundant in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, healthy fats and fiber. The list of positives in endless.

But the same problem arises as with nuts; be careful how many seeds you’re consuming. There are around 500 calories and 30 grams of fat in 100 grams of seeds. And even more so than with nuts, it is easy to eat a huge portion without realising it.

So, by all means add some seeds to your cereal or yoghurt. But it would be advisable to take notice of how much you’re adding, because you could easily be adding a good couple-hundred calories or more, without being aware of it.

  • Greek Yoghurt
en.wikipedia
en.wikipedia

Greek yoghurt is hailed as one of the healthiest yoghurts because it has almost twice as much protein as other yoghurts and is naturally low in sugar. It’s a good choice for an afternoon or evening snack.

The reason why you shouldn’t eat too much? It is relatively high in saturated fat, having 6 grams per 100 grams (just under a third of your recommended daily intake). So while it is a healthy option, be careful not to have too large a portion, or you might unwittingly be taking in too much fat.

  • Coconut Water
en.wikipedia
en.wikipedia

Another new health craze is coconut water. Hailed for being high in potassium, low in calories and extremely hydrating, it isn’t surprising why. It’s definitely a better choice as a pre or post workout drink than the usual energy drinks.

However, while it is beneficial in small amounts, be careful not to drink too much. 100 ml contains around 5 grams of sugar- drink a 500 ml bottle and you’ll be taking in 25 grams of sugar. It’s therefore fine to have as one drink, but make sure you don’t over-do it and drink it as though it were pure water!

Oh, and if you’re buying coconut water from a shop, check the ingredients- some may not be as natural as others and contain added sugar, which will pretty much equal out the health benefits!

  • Dried Fruit
Alex Proimos Wikimedia Commons
Alex Proimos Wikimedia Commons

Would you eat 5 apricots in a row? No. Would you eat 5 dried apricots? Yes, quite easily. Here is the first problem with dried fruit- it’s easy to eat a lot because it looks like a much smaller amount than the fresh-fruit version.

This leads to you eating far more calories than you would with fresh fruit. As an example, there are only about 60 calories in 100 grams of fresh mango. There are about 300 calories in 100 grams of dried mango.

Dried fruit is therefore fine in small quantities; it’s a good source of fiber and a good way to satisfy any sweet cravings you have. Just be careful not to unknowingly eat the equivalent of 5 mangoes in one sitting.

  • Honey
en.wikipedia
en.wikipedia

Honey is often seen as the ‘healthier’ alternative to sugar. For adding to your cereal or drink, it’s thought to be the better option because it is less refined than white sugar, and therefore a more ‘natural’ sweetener.

Honey does have more beneficial nutrients than white sugar, but the level of the nutrients are so low that you’d have to be eating a huge amount of honey to benefit from them. In addition, honey actually contains more calories and sugar per spoonful than regular white sugar.

So if you like a bit of added sweetness to your food or drink, it’s not a crime to add something to it. But be aware that honey isn’t really a super ‘healthy’ option, though it might be promoted as one!

  • Fruit
en.wikipedia
en.wikipedia

Of course fruit is healthy, we all know that. But, not all fruit is equal and we have to be careful about how much we eat in a day. Why? Mainly because of it’s sugar content.

The fruits with the highest levels of sugar are: figs, grapes, mangoes, cherries and bananas. Figs and grapes contain around 16 grams of sugar in 100 grams. The fruits with the lowest levels are the berries: blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries. Strawberries only have around 5 grams of sugar in 100 grams.

It’s advised to eat 5 portions or fruit and vegetables a day, but nutritionists generally agree that the majority of this should come from vegetables, as they are much lower in sugar.

Fruit is obviously a good addition to your diet, but that doesn’t mean that you should be eating it in limitless amounts!

  • Kimchi
en.wikipedia
en.wikipedia

Koreans, please don’t hate me! I love Kimchi too, but just like the other foods, there is a limit to how much we should eat.

The benefits of kimchi are widely known; it is low in calories and fat, high in vitamins, and full of healthy bacteria which can lead to healthy digestion.

However, the main problem with kimchi is the high salt content, with around 670 milligrams in 100 grams, about a third of your recommended daily intake. Another problem is that too much fermented food such as kimchi can lead to digestive problems if eaten in too high quantities.

So by all means add kimchi to your meal, but don’t go overboard or it could be bad for your health.

All of the above foods are good choices to include in your diet, but not in high quantities. Imagine, for example, that you decide to go on a health kick, so add 50 grams of nuts, 50 grams of seeds, 2 extra pieces of fruit and an avocado to your daily intake: you will be upping your calories by about 800 calories and increasing your sugar intake. Suddenly that health kick doesn’t sound so good, does it?

Food Swaps- Small Changes To Make A Big Difference

I am a total foodie- I love cooking, going out for meals and trying new things. I also care about being healthy and putting good, clean, fresh food into my body. But despite trying to be healthy the majority of the time, I also hate to deprive myself of things which I love. For this reason, I try to make small changes to make so called ‘naughty’ foods that much healthier.

Here are some of my favourite food alterations which make a big difference, so that  you can enjoy delicious foods completely guilt-free!

  • Spaghetti → Vegetable-etti
4617278380_bd6e02b499_z
Picture: Jessica Mullen flickr

I swear, the spiralizer must be one of the best inventions ever (for food lovers that is).

The most popular vegetable to spiralize is courgette (zucchini) but you can use most other vegetables if you’d prefer. It is so quick and easy to make, and if you don’t have a spiralizer you can simply cut the vegetable julienne style, or use a peeler to get a similar effect.

This simple food swap makes for a much lower-calorie, low-carb meal, but you can still have the fun of twirling your food onto your fork like spaghetti!

Let’s be honest, most of the taste in a pasta meal comes from the sauce and toppings anyway, right? This way, you can get the same taste for a fraction of the calories. Sounds good to me!

  • Rice → Quinoa
Picture: flickr
Picture: Geoff Peters flickr

Rice is by no means unhealthy, but white rice has a very high GI, meaning that it can causes your sugar levels to rise quickly, but then to crash to a low level, leaving you feeling hungry shortly after you’ve eaten.

The solution? Eat quinoa. Not only does it have a much lower GI, but it also contains more fibre than other grains and up to 8 grams of protein, meaning that it will keep you fuller for much longer.

It is also high in amino acids and it’s gluten free- really, you should be asking why you don’t eat quinoa.

  • Potato → Sweet Potato (and Chips → Sweet Potato Chips)
2246081241_8ebd02e75f_b
Picture: John Blyberg flickr

For me, this is another no-brainer.  Sweet potatoes not only have much more flavour than plain potatoes, but they have many added health benefits.  They’re high in Vitamins (200 grams of sweet potato has more than twice your daily recommended intake for Vitamin A and half of your Vitamin C) and contain high levels of iron, magnesium and potassium.

Oh and despite having more taste than regular potatoes, sweet potatoes actually contain fewer calories and lower levels of carbs. Plus, as they are high in fibre, they will keep you fuller longer.

So next time you’re buying potatoes, go for the sweet version- you won’t regret it!

  • Burgers/ Sandwich Wraps → Lettuce Wraps
5639486398_8b768d5b17_z
Picture:  Steven Depolo flickr

This is one of my favourite methods to make a meal instantly healthier while saving the taste: it is the easiest way to save on hundreds of calories and to make your meal carb-free at the same time.

By taking away the bread part of the meal, you lose none of the delicious taste of the filling, and you’ll lose that bloated feeling you get afterwards. Plus you still get the feeling of eating a real burger/sandwich because it’s still wrapped up nicely in lettuce.

Try it and believe me, you won’t regret it.

  • Crisps → Vegetable Crisps
2228891323_d415d2396a_z
Picture: rjp flickr

If you are a snacker and can’t resist the temptation of crisps, this is another easy substitution to save calories and load up on nutrients.

Veggie crisps are lower calorie, lower fat versions of the classic potato snack, but they still give you the same satisfaction.

The most popular version at the moment is Kale Crisps, which contain as few as 100 calories per bag, are gluten free and of course, full of vitamins and minerals.

To make this snack even healthier, make it yourself! Simply slice up your favourite veggies thinly, drizzle them with olive oil, add any seasoning (although watch it with the salt!) and then bake them in the oven until they’re crispy. Adding chilli is a favourite of mine because it gives the crisps a little kick. Mmmm.

  • Fizzy Drinks → Sparkling Water + Fruit
Lemonade_(Lime_version)
Picture:  Michael Fludkov common.wikimedia

Ok, so we all know how unhealthy fizzy drinks are- full of added sugar, artificial sweeteners, too much caffeine and additives- and the sugar-free versions are just as bad for you.

I used to be a diet-coke addict, until I realised that it was giving me headaches and wreaking havoc with my sugar levels. So, I  made a change.

I know that sparkling water on it’s own isn’t the most pleasant thing, but honestly once I got used to it, I began to enjoy it. Plus, adding some lemon, lime or any other fruit of your choice adds so much flavour that it actually becomes pleasant to drink!

Top tip- chop up the fruit/s of your choice and put them in a pitcher of sparkling water for about an hour for the flavour to fully develop. Keep the pitcher in the fridge so it’s nice and cool when you drink it.

Whether you want to cut out the empty calories from drinking too much soda, or avoid the unhealthy additives, this is the easy solution for you.

  • Tuna + Mayonnaise → Tuna + Avocado
Picture: nomnompaleo
Picture: nomnompaleo

Regular mayonnaise is full of unhealthy fats- nearly 80 g per 100 grams and high in calories- over 700 kcal in 100 grams.

Avocado on the other hand has less than 200 kcal in 100 grams and less than 20 g of fat. If this doesn’t already persuade you, then you should know that avocados are full of healthy fats, a good source of protein and fibre, and are low in sugar.

So how about next time you fancy tuna mayonnaise, mix the tuna with some avocado instead- you will get the same creamy texture and rich taste, but minus the unwanted fat and calories.

  • Tuna + Mayonnaise → Tuna + Natural/ Greek Yoghurt
Picture: en.wikipedia
Picture: en.wikipedia

For anyone who doesn’t like avocados, here is another easy substitution for the dreaded mayonnaise.

Find a natural/ Greek yoghurt to mix with your tuna instead. Yoghurt contains less than 130 kcal per 100 grams but will still provide the same texture that mayonnaise does.

Just make sure you don’t buy a yoghurt which has too much added sugar; go for as natural as you can!

  • Deep-fried Spring Rolls → Rice Wrap Rolls
Picture:
Picture: Vanessa Do flickr

There’s no denying that spring rolls are delicious, but because they’re deep-fried the calorie value automatically increases.

An easy way to counter this? Go for rice-wrap rolls instead. This way, you can still enjoy the taste and delightful fillings but for half the calories (and less fat content too).

Finally, a way to enjoy takeaway guilt-free!

  • Ice Cream → Banana Ice Cream
Picture: en.wikipedia
Picture: en.wikipedia

Ok, this takes a little effort, but only a little, I promise. And the easy subsitution means that you can enjoy ice cream which is low-calorie, low-fat and low-sugar, which is pretty amazing in my opinion.

All you have to do is cut up some bananas and freeze them. When they’re frozen, blend them- this can take a little time, but persevere, it’s worth it in the end! When they have blended into a creamy mix, simply mix in whatever other ingredients you like! Peanut butter, cacao powder, cinnamon, fruit, honey, nutella (if you’re feeling a bit naughty).

Voilla! Healthy ice cream… who would’ve thought it!

  • Flavoured Yoghurt → Plain/ Greek Yoghurt with Fruit/ Cinnamon/ Cacao
Picture: en.wikipedia
Picture: en.wikipedia

Shop-bought yoghurt can be full of sugar, artificial flavourings, additives, etc. So, why not buy natural yoghurt and flavour it yourself? It couldn’t be easier.

Buy some natural yoghurt (as I said before, make sure there isn’t loads of added sugar) and then simply add what you like. If you’re a cinnamon lover like myself, I would recommend this for a start! It adds delicious flavour to the yoghurt, but it’s much healthier and lower in calories.

If you have the time, you can also add fruit a little in advance so that the flavour properly sinks in. Another quick, easy option for a healthy dessert.

  • Milkshakes → Yoghurt/ Fruit Shakes
Picture: en.wikipedia
Picture: en.wikipedia

Yes, it’s tempting sometimes when you walk past a McDonald’s or a cafe and you really fancy a refreshing milkshake, but you just know how calorific and full of sugar and fat they are.

So, why don’t you make your own healthy version? Use yoghurt or milk instead of ice cream, real fruit instead of flavoured syrups, and you can even add your own touches such as honey or peanut butter if you wish.

This way, not only do you avoid the rubbish, but you can actually increase your fruit intake. It’d be a crime not to…

These are some of my favourite ways to avoid over-indulging and to still enjoy my favourite foods.

And I have one last tip which works in numerous different recipes to substitute sugar- use my favourite new ingredient, the increasingly popular Stevia. While I’ve found that in it’s powder form it can have a bit of an odd after-taste, there is a liquid version which is just amazing.

now_foods_stevia_drops
Picture: bh.steviadomain

I mainly use this to add to my porridge but you can use it however you like- add it to baking, coffee, smoothies, whatever you like. It’s available from www.iherb.com, and comes in many different flavours. In case you were wondering, vanilla and cinnamon is my favourite!

I hope this has given you some ideas of how to make your food healthier and cut back on calories, but not on flavour. Happy eating! 

20 Weird and Wonderful Korean Snacks

When we left home to move to Korea, there was one huge worry on my mind- we were leaving behind England, and with it all the comfort of delicious British food. No more roast dinners, no afternoon teas, no proper English puddings. And to our horror when we arrived, no proper chocolate (apart from the dreaded Hershey’s which, in my opinion, is a poor excuse for chocolate and tastes like it’s a year past its sell-by-date).

So, we were leaving yummy old England to live somewhere which the only foods we knew people ate were rice, one of the most boring foods known to man, and ‘Kimchi’- something which we had never heard of and had only seen described as ‘fermented cabbage’… um, yum?

Not having the greatest expectations, we were pretty happy when we discovered that Korean food is actually pretty delicious. The Koreans have certainly been creative when coming up with new snack ideas and in many ways they’ve succeeded in producing good food. But it isn’t without a weirdness which leaves us Westerners interested, amused… and sometimes disgusted.

So here they are- the top 20 weird, and sometimes wonderful, Korean snacks which we have discovered:

1) Gimbap- The Best

kimbap
Picture: Maangchi

These rolls of heaven are pretty much the same as futomaki sushi rolls- rice and seaweed wrapped around a delicious filling. In Korea, Gimbap is everywhere- it was actually the first thing I ever bought when we arrived in Korea at the airport, overcome with excitement at finding sushi for only 60 p.

The reason it’s so good is the variety of fillings- everything from tuna mayonnaise to spicy beef to ham to tofu. Along with the main ingredient, the rolls are filled with things like spinach, grated carrot, cucumber, egg, yellow radish, the list goes on…

Good as a snack or a lunch, you can buy Gimbap from fast food outlets, street food stalls, or 24 hour convenience stores. The best thing about it? A whole roll can have as few as 300 calories, so it has the added benefit of being healthy!

Best. thing. ever.

 

2) Sweet Garlic Bread- A Deceptive Loaf

SOURDOUGH-GARLIC-BREAD
Picture: Fransico Bread

This is one of Korea’s weirder taste combinations- garlic bread sprinkled with sugar (cheese pizza dressed with honey is a similar Korean oddity which I have so far avoided). I was excited for a taste of home when  I bought some from a local bakery thinking that it was normal garlic bread. Needless to say I was confused when I bit into it expecting to taste something savoury and instead got a mouthful of sugar. What was this strange thing? Should I have it for dinner, or dessert?

It isn’t completely unpleasant, just more of a shock for unsuspecting Westerners. Still, if you’re the kind of person who likes your garlic with a bit of sweetness, this is the snack for you! If not, I’d avoid it.

 

3) Novelty Ice Lollies- The Most Imaginative Snack

Picture: thingsaboutkorea tumblr
ice cream 001
Picture: vegging in chungju

Whoever thinks up ideas for Korean ice lollies deserves a medal for creativity. Take the watermelon ice lolly – it actually has chocolate pieces inside to look like Watermelon seeds, pretty impressive level of accuracy there. Or the corn ice lolly, made to look exactly like a corn on the cob and filled with cream.

Other designs include: ice lollies  moulded like sharks and ice cream sandwiches made to look like fish. Endless fun, and even better- they actually taste good too. Win for Korea!

 

4) Flavoured Sausage Snack- The Babybel/ Cheese-string Hybrid which no-one asked for

fishncheese6
Picture: fishncheese6

I don’t know how to describe these, apart from as a cross between a Babybel and a Cheese-string. They come in different flavours such as cheese, which isn’t so bad, and fish… which is just too weird and which I wouldn’t advise trying. Ever.

But to make it clear for anyone about to try them, this rubbery, bendy snack doesn’t taste at all like a sausage, so don’t get your hopes up.

 

5) Sandwiches- The Worst Example of Fusion

10188_10151843185684305_1435281740_n
Picture: Olly Purvis

Sandwiches aren’t massively popular in Korea- they don’t dominate shelves in the supermarkets or in cafes. But even if they are on the menu, the filling isn’t exactly what we Brits would expect.

No, the Koreans take a normal sandwich: chicken, ham or cheese, and add so many other ingredients that it ends up tasting like there’s a whole buffet of sandwiches in your mouth at once (and that’s not a good thing).

Take the pictured example above, which is  a sandwich at our school lunch. We were initially delighted to see sandwiches- but then we took a closer look and saw that it wasn’t your ordinary cheese-and-coleslaw filling… some genius had decided to add jam to the mix. And from the happy faces of students and colleagues alike munching away happily, this is obviously a hit combination in Korea.

I, however, remain unconvinced.

 

6) Dried Ramen- The Kids Favourite

Instantnoodles
Picture: Wikipedia

This one is quite easy to try at home: get a packet of instant ramen, sprinkle on the flavouring, shake it all together in the packet… and eat. No cooking involved. Goodness knows what raw ramen does to your digestive system, but the people here don’t seem to mind.

I have to admit I haven’t tried it, preferring my noodles cooked. But you can try it with a packet of super-noodles and make your own mind up.

 

7) Spiral Potato Stick (Tornado Potato)- The evolution of the Curly Fry

images
Picture: rustandsunshine

This street-food snack is pretty similar to curly fries, only more fun to eat. Deep-fried, salty, delicious potato goodness- you can’t really go wrong!

 

 8) Imitation Crisps- Another Creative Snack 

zwiebel-ringe
Picture: trueller-snacks

Here we see the same pattern as with the imaginative ice lollies: Koreans imitating real foods, only this time in crisp versions. You can find french fry crisps, onion ring crisps, even fried chicken crisps.

Combine a bag of the fried chicken and a packet of the french fries with some vegetable crisps, and you can make an entire meal. Pretty tasty (although probably not the most balanced dinner).

 

9) Red Bean Bun- The Crowd Divider

Bean-jam-bun,anpan,katori-city,japan
Picture: wikipedia

This is similar to marmite- most people love or hate red bean. It takes some getting used to, admittedly, a sweet bean paste with a texture similar to peanut butter.

The first time I picked up a red bean bun, I thought it was actually going to be chocolate inside, and similarly to my garlic bread experience was confused when I bit into it. Luckily for me I fall into the ‘love’ category so wasn’t disgusted unlike some people I know who’ve made the same mistake!

And for those who like red bean- it’s much healthier than chocolate, so you can finally have a good excuse to hit the bakery, guilt free. Definite positive!

 

10) Rice Cakes- A Poor Excuse for Cake

rice-cake (1)
Picture: Maangchi
Market outside of Osan, Korea
Picture: wikipedia

I was quite excited to try Korean cakes… that is until I ate some and realised that they aren’t cakes at all.

It’s quite hard to describe Korean rice cakes- try to imagine chewing on a congealed lump of rice, (sometimes lukewarm, most of the time cold), with little taste and which leaves you with an uncomfortable bloating feeling in your stomach. Sometimes there might be a few raisins or beans in the cake, but that doesn’t make it much better.

Unfortunately Koreans love the things and they are everywhere. They’re also a very popular gift to exchange, especially for national holidays- the equivalent of mince pies or Easter eggs- but sadly without any of the deliciousness.

 

11) Fish Jerky- The Unexpected Delight

1622823_10152306765414305_1742287639_n
Picture: Olly Purvis

This is the beef jerky equivalent, and a popular snack. It’s tasty and healthy and even more delicious when heated- a good way to do this is to barbecue the fish (pictured) so that it ends up warm and crispy.

This snack is a definite winner for me. Just one piece of advice- skip the dried squid. Not only does it look unpleasant, but chewing on a rubbery tentacle isn’t the most appealing thing, as you can see in the picture below.

1044451_10151843182959305_1920971583_n
Picture: Olly Purvis

 

 12) Jollypong- The Breakfast Cereal Snack

Picture: orientalmart

This is basically a bag of sugar puffs (although they do also come in chocolate flavour). If you like dry cereal (which luckily I do), then this is for you. If not, they are at least useful to keep in the house as an emergency cereal back up in case you unexpectedly run out.

 

13) Cheesecake- Same Name, Very Different

3299209316_487dd1b4b5_z
Picture: Foodista flickr

This is another Korean food which shouldn’t fool you by it’s normal name. Because this snack does not in any way resemble Western cheesecake with its lovely biscuit base and sweet, creamy topping.

No, this is literally cheese cake. As in, cake which tastes like cheese. Cheddar cheese in fact.

It’s about the same level in weirdness as Sweet Garlic Bread, but a lower level on taste. You’ve been warned.

 

14) Bappingsu- The Summertime Favourite

Picture
Picture: caffebene

This refreshing treat tastes a whole lot better than it looks. It consists of a pile of ice shavings, topped with different things- milk, ice cream, syrup, fruit, sweets, cereal to name a few. The toppings mix with the ice to make a sweet mixture of yumminess, and it’s mainly ice, so it has to be healthy, right?

Warning- beware red bean. If you are a hater of red bean, make sure you get one with a different topping, as among Koreans the bean paste is probably the most popular flavour.

 

15) Pepero- The Most Addictive Snack since Pringles

P
Picture: alimentacioncoreana

These chocolate sticks of heaven are so good that there is actually a ‘Pepero Day’ in Korea, where you give packets of them to loved ones. Seriously.

They come in different flavours- dark, white, almond, strawberry, cookie, and different sizes- for a special gift you can buy huge Peperos in a special gift box.

The only bad thing about them is that it’s too easy to eat a whole box (or two) without thinking. Oops.

 

16) Tteokbokki – Korean Comfort Food

Picture: kimchimari
Picture: kimchimari

Made from rice, these are savoury versions of the previously mentioned rice cakes. Apart from that in this form, they are delicious. Similar to Gnocchi in texture, the rice cakes are served warm and in sauce (usually tomato flavoured and spicy, although it depends what type you buy). You can even buy cheese-filled Tteokbokki, which is just amazing.

Most popular as a street food, Tteokbokki is comforting, wholesome and also incredibly cheap to buy.  Pretty much everything you could ever want in a snack.

 

 17) Silkworm Pupae- The One Which even Koreans Hate

Picture
Picture: trekearth

If you’ve ever wanted to try boiled silkworm, Korea is the place to come. Not only is this snack served as street food, but you can also buy the silkworm snack in cans at convenience stores- very handy if you have a quick craving!

I can’t honestly say I’ve tried eating this as even Koreans have warned me against it- 99% of those I’ve spoken to don’t like it, but it’s still sold in abundance in food markets so someone must be eating it. As for me, I think I’ll continue to avoid it.

 

18) Choco Pies- More a cake than a Pie

Picture: commons.wikipedia
Picture: ProjectManhattan, commons.wikipedia

This is a favourite among adults and children alike. Imagine a more cake-like Wagon Wheel and you’ve got it. Sweet and full of marshmallow, this is one sweet treat which is good in Korea. Just don’t be fooled by the word ‘Pie’- this is a cake, plain and simple.

 

19) Chocolate Rocks- Smarties from the Stone Age

Picture: modernseoul
Picture: modernseoul

Chocolates which look like stones? Why not?

Whatever the inventor of these chocolates was thinking, we don’t care- they taste good, which is frankly the only thing we care about when eating chocolate.

 

20) Seaweed Crisps

Korean Seaweed
Picture: cheungstrading

Korea was way ahead of the kale crisp trend, with their own Seaweed Crisps. These thin strips of roasted, seasoned seaweed are full of salty, delicious flavour and are a great alternative to potato crisps.

With as few as 20 calories in a pack, Seaweed crisps are a completely guilt-free snack which is packed with antioxidants, and a good source of potassium too.. it would be a crime not to eat!

 

So there you have it- a select group of Korean snacks, from the delicious to the disgusting. That’s not to say there are many more foods which could be on the list: if you ever fancy a waffle-on-a-stick (a ‘long-ffle’), a rice burger or some chicken feet, Korea is the place to be.

Oh, and when you’ve finished eating your snack, you can clean your teeth with pine-tree flavoured tooth paste… sound good?