Earlier in the week, the postie dropped off the January Degustabox. So what would be hiding in this month's mystery box of delights? Would it have a healthy eating theme going on for New Year? Without further ado, it was time to find out !
The first thing that I spotted when I peeked in the box was the bags of snacks and sweets, so I didn't immediately think it was a box full of healthy eating options. However, on closer inspection, they are healthier alternatives to the usual crisps and treats, and the rest of the products did confirm my suspicions that this would be heavy on the more health conscious products that many people favour in January after all the festive over-indulgence. Here's the lowdown on this month's products :
Popchips Ridges (Crazy Hot) (£1.99) - we've tried and loved many of the Popchips range and the ridges are particularly nice, with a robust flavour and lovely crunchy texture. These ones were slightly too robust for us though - they weren't kidding when they labelled them crazy hot and they were a bit too full-on for our tastebuds. They are popped, not fried, making them a healthier alternative to crisps, and a serving comes in under 100 calories.
Yushoi Snapea Rice Sticks (Coconut & Chilli) (£1.79) - This is another brand that we've discovered in a past Degustabox. They are a baked snack made with green peas but the lovely airy, crispy texture makes them just as tasty as regular crisps. Last time we tried the Lightly Salted variety. This time, the kids weren't keen on the Coconut & Chilli flavour but the grown-ups liked them.
Finn Crisp Snacks (Seeds & Sea Salt) (£1.89) - We've tried Finn Crisp Crispbreads before but the Seeds & Sea Salt Snacks are a new addition to the range. They are baked with 100 % wholegrain rye and have a high fibre content (19g per 100g). They have no added fat and they have a satisfyingly crunchy texture. You get the virtuous feeling of eating a healthy snack, but we did find them quite bland so I'd suggest eating them with a dip (which may well counteract the healthier credentials if you're not careful).
Pip's Real Hot Chocolate - What I love about Degustaboxes is discovering brands and products that we've never heard of and would probably never have discovered if they hadn't turned up in a box. Pip's Real Hot Chocolate is one such product - it's a solid chocolate coin, handmade in Wales, that you heat in a pan with cold milk to make delicious, old-fashioned hot chocolate. The Madhouse kids had only ever tasted hot chocolate made from supermarket powdered cocoa so they were very enthusiastic. We got the Classic flavour but looking on their website, they have everything from Black Forest, Orange and Mint to Pure White and Fiery Spice. I know it's too late for this year but this would be a great addition to a Christmas Eve box (which is a tradition that seems to have become massively popular in recent years).
Fruit-tella Strawberry 30% Less Sugar (£1.25) - We all love these chewy, fruity sweets and if it hadn't said so on the pack, we'd never have realised that they contain 30% less sugar. A unanimous hit !
Quinola Mothergrain (£2.49) - Ready cooked organic and fairtrade pearl quinoa with split peas. 100% organic, full of nutrients and can be eaten hot or cold. I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of quinoa, but I do like the simplicity of the ready-to-heat pouch.
Chia shots (2 x 66p) - This is another thing that, like the quinoa, I haven't really bought into. I know it's supposed to be ultra-healthy because they're packed with fibre, omega 3 and protein, but I've never been won over by the various chia products we've tried in the past. Chia Shots can be sprinkled into salads, cereal, muesli, smoothies or baking and here we get a black one and a white one.
Aspire drinks (2 x £1.45) - I wrote a complete review of Aspire Drinks a few years ago. They are supposed to give you a burst of natural, healthy energy from green tea and help with reducing body fat. They are sugar free and calorie free and both the Cranberry and the Mango & Lemonade have a pleasant, refreshing taste. I love them as a healthy and tasty soft drinks option but I'm very sceptical about the energy and weight loss claims.
Natvia (£4.99) - Natvia is a natural sweetener made from stevia and plant nectar and no hidden nasties. It is diabetic friendly and only contains 0.4 calories per serving. You can use it just like sugar, on cereal, in baking and hot drinks. I don't buy sweeteners because they are so expensive but this is a good swap for sugar as you really can't taste the difference.
We are Little's French vanilla-infused coffee (£2.99) - Super high quality Arabica coffee infused with natural Madagascan Bourbon vanilla. I don't drink coffee but I passed this over to Madhouse Daddy who said it was very nice, even though he doesn't usually drink instant coffee. We are Little's call themselves the flavour enthusiasts and I was stunned to see just how many different flavoured coffees they make : Café Amaretto, Chocolate Caramel, Chocolate Orange, Christmas Spirit, Havana Rum, Irish Cream, Spicy Cardamom, Island Coconut, Maple Walnut, Rich Hazelnut, Swiss Chocolate ... They're sure to have a flavour to appeal to your tastes.
Chosan By Nature Hibiscus drink - I remember drinking hibiscus flavoured juice in Turkey so I was looking forward to trying this. The Fiery Ginger flavour was a bit too full on for us but I'd be interested in trying out the other flavours (pure, mint, mild ginger and baobab). It's low in calories and contains no refined sugar (only coconut sugar is added), it's organic and high in vitamin C and potassium.
Crabbies Alcoholic Ginger Beer (£1.39) - I'm not sure how this fits into the healthy box, especially as many people partake in Dry January (although to be fair, Degustabox don't say that this is supposed to be a healthy box, that's just my assumption given the products and the date !), but I'm not complaining because I love Crabbies. (Another brand that I discovered through Degustabox.) This one has a Scottish Raspberry flavour which is delicious and very refreshing.
Protein Boost (£1.29) - We got a strawberry one but they are also available in chocolate flavour. Protein is well-known for helping with weight loss because it fills you up for longer and this bottle contains 20g of protein. It tastes very nice and I drank this for breakfast on the way to work.
The Collective luxury yogurt (£2) - There is a voucher in the box to go and pick this up - I love their yogurts so I'm expecting to love this.
This month's recipe suggestions are for Chia Cranberry Peanut Butter Slice and Chia Mocha, which I probably won't be making because they don't really appeal to me. It's an interesting box, with a few instant hits and several "not sure until we try them" products, which is what a foodie subscription box is all about.
As a Degustabox blogger, I got to sample all of the products that went into this month's boxes but subscribers received a slightly different combination of products depending on their preferences when they signed up.
A subscription to Degustabox costs £12.99 per month including delivery, with each box having a value of much more than that, but the great news is, I have a discount coupon code for you which now gives you a whopping £7 off the price of your first box, so you'll get it for just £5.99 - just enter code 0BS6T at the checkout.
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Disclosure : We received the box in order to write an honest review. As a Degustabox blogger, I receive all of the products that go into the monthly boxes, but subscribers may not get exactly the same selection.