Thursday, 1 September 2016
Stave off the munchies with Forest Feast and Acti-Snack
Summer holidays are rapidly coming to an end. I am sooo not looking forward to early hectic school mornings. I usually prepare children's lunchboxes in the evening to save those precious morning minutes. Sasha takes a lunchbox with him to school every day, Eddie once a week, as I want him to eat the school lunches. He is such a fussy eater, but is more inclined to try new foods when his friends are happily eating them. He refuses to eat any roast, so Wednesdays are his lunchbox days.
Parents sometimes struggle with the contents of their children's lunchboxes. On one hand, they have to be healthy, on the other, not too boring. There are perfect families of course, where children will happily eat kale crisps baked with pink Himalayan salt, broccoli quinoa hemp milk smoothie with spirulina and frogspawn aka chia pudding for dessert. Alas, mine would run a mile if I have offered any of the above superfoods.
Thankfully, they love dried seeds, nuts and fruit as well as freeze dried berries. For us, it's usually a mid-afternoon snack.
If your children enjoy seeds and nuts, then you might consider adding small bags of seeds, dried fruit and nuts to school lunchboxes. Forest Feast is a range of delicious, premium quality dried fruit and snacks, which are perfect for kid-friendly lunchboxes.
Their products include Snack Pot Berries & Raisins, Exotic Dried Mango, Whole Yogurt Cranberries. These products are available online and from most leading supermarkets including Waitrose, Tesco and Asda.
Forest Feast, the premium quality dried fruit and nut snack company is encouraging parents to fill their children's lunchboxes with healthier kid-friendly snacks this school term.
My younger son always takes an apple with him for a mid-morning snack, but on the days when I volunteer at school I have noticed a variety of foods children have at snack time - all kinds of fruit, whole or cut into slices, boxes of raisins and other dried fruit.
Last year we were asked not to send anything with nuts to school, as one of the children had a severe nut allergy. But after this child left school, the prohibition was lifted.
Snack time at school is an important chance for young minds to refuel for the rest of the day, at least until lunch time.
"Snacks can play a significant role in the diet of children as, due to their small size, they may only be able to eat a small amount of food at a time. However, it is important to choose the right snacks so that children are getting the nutrients they need to keep them going through the busy school day right through to their afterschool activities", said Ann Woods, Product Development Manager of Kestrel Foods Ltd, owners of the Forest Feast brand.
"Parents want to pack snacks for their children that are both nutritious and energising but also delicious enough that kids will eat it. Forest Feast has created a premium range of dried fruit and nut snacks that are made to enjoy on-the-go so our products are the perfect healthier snack option for busy parents".
We like individual packets of snacks, as they are handy to carry in a bag, whenever we're out and about. While I am not a strict dictator when it comes to eating, or rather not eating, sweets, I do prefer when Eddie eats healthy snacks like raisins or nuts.
Forest Feast Yogurt Cranberries are whole cranberries with a yogurt flavoured coating. They are juicy and quite sweet. Both my younger son and I liked the flavour of tangy cranberries in the creamy yogurt coating.
Calorie-wise, a 60g bag of cranberries comes at 281kcal or 469kcal per 100g. It's probably quite all right for an active kid, but if you're a grown-up and counting calories, an apple at an average 95kcal might be a better snack option.
A few other stats for comparison (I'm just looking at the bags of products which my older son likes in his lunchbox - not altogether, I hasten to add) - a 30g of Kettle Chips Cheddar flavour is 152kcal, Mini Cheddars is 128kcal, Original Hula hoops is 122kcal, Walkers Crisps Bacon Flavour is 130kcal.
Forest Feast Exotic Dried Mango is a PREDA Fairtrade product. It is naturally fat-free, free from any artificial additives and preservatives. Sweet pieces of dried mango are a delicious way of sneaking one of five-a-day into children's lunchboxes. They are available in five single portions at £2.99 per box or in a 130g share pack at £2.75.
Let's look at the calories: typical values are 332kcal per 100g. One single pouch is 25g, so comes at a very reasonable 83kcal per small bag.
Mango slices in a share pack are bigger dried cheeks of mango, while mango in Singles packs are of a chopped variety.
Mango is sourced from the Philippines through the Fair Trade partners.
Preda Fair Trade assists small scale farmers to improve production, encourages organic and chemical free farming, opposes genetic manipulation and guarantees a better deal for the farmers.
I'm very fond of dried mango, and this product didn't disappoint - the mango pieces were chewy soft, sweet and flavourful.
Acti-Snack is another brand which might be a contender as a lunchbox material. It was designed to meet a variety of sports nutrition requirements. They have developed five unique mixes - Sweet & Sour Mango, Fruit, Nut & Seed, Fruit & Nut, Nut & Soya and Nut Mix, all of which are gluten free, free from artificial additives and preservatives.
Products are available in slim-line, impulse pack - ideal for running belts or saddle packs - as well as re-sealable multiple serving packs. Single portion packs might be easily added to the lunchbox contents.
Acti-Snack Sweet & Sour Mango is an exotic dried mango with tender green mango slices. These delicious sweet snacks are gluten free, additive free, fat free and are a good source of vitamin C & fibre.
Vitamin C contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
I used one of the single pouches to add to the muffins I baked the other day - pear multiseed muffins.
Acti-Snack Fruit, Nut & Goji Berry is a mix of nuts and dried fruit. You will find whole almonds and pieces of walnuts here as well as dried sultanas and goji berries. It is gluten and additive free, high in Vitamin E which contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress, Biotin (good for normal energy-yielding metabolism) and Copper which contributes to maintenance of normal connective tissues.
It is a tasty mix, though perhaps more suitable for grown-ups' tastes. Eddie loves sultanas, but dislikes goji berries, and is not over keen on almonds either. It's all a matter of personal preference, of course.
He was more enthusiastic about Acti-Snack Fruit, Nut & Seed which contains dried apple juice infused cranberries and cherries with raisins and oven roasted hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds and cashew nuts.
Acti-Snack Fruit, Nut & Soya is a healthy mix of almonds, pumpkin seeds and soya beans with dried apple juice infused cranberries. I wasn't sure what dried soya (edamame) beans would taste like, but they are pleasantly crunchy. I probably would have preferred them to be salted, but then it would make them less healthy.
This mix is gluten & additive free, high in protein & fibre, vitamin E and biotin, there is no added sugar either.
25g or one small handful equates to a single portion.
For a supercharged breakfast add a handful as a topping to cereals or porridge.
What do you put into your children's lunchboxes?
Disclosure: We received a selection of healthy snacks for the purposes of testing and reviewing. All opinions are ours.