January is a time for healthy new resolutions so it's become a tradition that the first Degustabox of the year is full of healthy products (with a few naughty treats thrown in for good measure !). This was actually December's box, delivered a bit later than usual to avoid the Christmas period, but January's box is on its way as I type. As soon as we opened the box, I could see some brand names peeking out and, as usual, it was a good mix of well-known brands and ones I'd never heard of before - just the way I like it ! We quickly set to work unpacking everything.
Hip Pops (2 x £1) - Hip Pops are soya and potato snacks that are healthier than most fried or baked snack products - they typically contain 50% less fat than standard potato crisps. They contain less than 11% fat, are low in saturates, a 25g bag comes in at just under 100 calories and four of the six flavours are gluten-free. The concept and the product reminded us of Popchips. We got Cheese & Onion and Sweet Chilli flavours, both of which got a unanimous thumbs up.
Nothing But (2 x £1.69) - Nothing But is another healthy snack option that is available in a variety of dehydrated fruit and vegetable options. The Madhouse kids have tried them before and turned their noses up at the veggie options but they did like the sweeter fruit ones, so the two bags in the box (Strawberry & Banana/Pineapple & Grape) got an enthusiastic reception. I love the fact that they are under 80 calories a bag and contain no hidden nasties.
Crabbie's Alcoholic Light Ginger Beer (£1.49) - Given the "light" label, I was expecting this to be lower in calories or alcohol but it's actually got half the amount of ginger in it for a less fiery taste. Very nice but not exactly healthy !
Red Square Toffee Mini (£1.99) - Made with seven times distilled vodka, whatever that means (!), with a lovely sweet, rich toffee flavour. Yum !
The Fabulous Bakers Mango & Pineapple Bars (£1.80) - The blurb says : "Made with all natural, honest ingredients, our bars contain no nasties or added sugar. They’re made with real fruit, slow release energy oats and they’re high in fibre too." Forget all that though - all you need to know is that they are delicious fruity cake bars that the whole family will love. We did anyway !
Betavivo Crispy Oat Heart Cereal (2 x £1) - One daily serving of Betavivo provides the required 3g of beta-glucan from oats needed to reduce your blood cholesterol, as well as helping to reduce the amount of blood glucose your body produces. This is good news if you need to lower your blood cholesterol, if you have impaired glucose tolerance (such as metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes) or you wish to maintain normal blood cholesterol levels and a healthy heart. You do need to eat it daily over a period of a few months to see results though. It's not unpleasant but is quite bland so you might want to add dried or fresh fruit to jazz it up or sprinkle it over yogurt.
Barilla Mediterranean Vegetable Sauce and Integrale Fusilli (£2 & £1.50) - An easy way to give a family fave meal a healthy twist : switch to Barilla wholewheat pasta and serve it with their vegetable sauce, packed with chunks of Mediterranean vegetables. Just as tasty as our usual pasta dishes using regular pasta so it's a swap I'd be happy to make permanently.
Koko Dairy Free Original (£1.79) - A dairy free alternative to cows milk, made from coconut milk, that can be used in cooking, on cereal or in hot drinks. It's lower in calories than skimmed milk and is cholesterol free. On its own, it doesn't taste the same as cows milk, but in drinks or cooking, you can't taste the difference.
Tree Vitalise (£2.79) - TreeVitalise is a range of all-natural birch waters from the Carpathian Mountains. Containing only 10 kcal per bottle and packed with micronutrients, the range is ideal for active hydration. Wild harvested and sustainable, the products are also organic, vegan, sugar-, gluten- and dairy free. I was fascinated to read all about birch water, which I'd never heard of, over on Chez Maximka. I think it's an acquired taste - Galina loves it and remembers it from her Russian childhood, whereas we weren't too keen. It's definitely a healthier option than many soft drinks though.
Compete Energy (£1.99) - We had coffee ones in a previous Degustabox but these ones are lemon-flavoured so they appealed to me slightly more. They contain the amount of caffeine that you'd get in a large coffee so they're ideal if you need a quick energy boost, maybe before a workout or if your energy levels are flagging. I prefer the format to liquid energy drinks, but I'm still not too keen on the idea of pumping my body full of caffeine.
Drink Me Chai Latte (gift) - I don't really drink hot drinks so I passed this on to a friend. It makes a nice exotic change from the usual tea, coffee or hot chocolate options.
This month's recipe card had two suggestions - the rather obvious pasta with sauce from the box and Crabbie's Toffee Mule, a cocktail combining the alcoholic ginger beer and the toffee vodka.
A subscription to Degustabox costs £12.99 per month including delivery, with each box having a value of much more than that (£22.73 this month, not counting the gifts), but the great news is, I have a discount coupon code for you which gives you a whopping £6 off the price of your box - just enter code BLDEG15 at the checkout.
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Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.