While it makes sense for many people to begin a new year with a series of resolutions, I'm in the grumpy old women's club, thinking January is miserable enough without giving up nice food and drink.
I looked today at a row of healthy kale and chia seeds smoothies at Waitrose, and found them very depressing. For me that would be like a punishment.
I'm all for healthy food, but it has to taste good.
When you are feeling peckish, it is not easy to resist temptation, and reach for the tin of biscuits or a box of chocolates, open a bag of crisps or salted nuts.
Itsu Crispy Seaweed Thins are my latest addiction. I have first come across them last July, when there were a couple of seaweed thins in Degustabox food box. Since then, I've been buying them regularly (found in Waitrose, Sainbury's, Tesco etc) .
They are tasty, and they are healthy. Hallelujah! I'm happy to eat them any time of the year, not just January when people are encouraged to eat healthy meals and snacks.
Itsu Crispy Seaweed Thins which come in three flavours - sea salt, sweet soy & sea salt and wasabi - are new vegetable crisps. One pack provides 22-24 kcal which makes it an ideal snack for anyone on a diet.
Seaweed is set to be the superfood of 2017. As Jamie Oliver says, seaweed is "like dynamite - fibre, nutrients, all the minerals, aids digestion - unbelievable!"
While I'm not sure about the dynamite reference, I'm a big fan of seaweed. When I was a child, my Mum used to buy tinned seaweed salad, and I loved it. I have never been able to find anything like that in the UK.
Seaweed, the green superfood is naturally packed with nutrients, zinc, iron and B vitamins. It's a great source of iodine. The seaweed for this snack is harvested from the crystal clear seas around South Korea.
The thins melt on the tongue, leaving a flavour of the sea in your mouth.
These snacks are low calorie (22-24), so basically guilt-free. And they are highly addictive. I can easily eat the whole packet of 3 mini boxes in one go, so have to limit my intake at one 5g packet per day.
I have tried all three flavours, and sea salt is my top favourite.
Nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed helped to create an Eat Beautiful Report for itsu. According to the report, 31% of the UK's new year's resolutions in 2017 will be eat healthier.
"Japanese life expectancy is currently one of the longest in the world and their dietary habits are often heralded as part of the reaso for this long lifespan", says Charlotte.
The traditional Japanese diet features plenty of nutrient-dense foods particularly seaweed and miso.
Itsu miso soup is an instant miso made from soya paste with seaweed and soy sauce. It contains 42-44 calories per serving.
Miso soup is a great lunch option. Itsu miso soups come in convenient pouches. All you need is squeeze the paste in a mug and pour boiling hot water, stir it and the soup is ready.
Miso soup is a fermented food and a great boost of protein (especially important for people on vegetarian and vegan diets).
Charlotte says: "Many people are unaware that although low in calories and fat, miso soup is also high in protein, which is important for muscle and bone health. As well as containing protein, soya beans are a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals".
I do enjoy miso in a mug, though I am not going to swap a cup of coffee for miso. When I want a coffee, I want a coffee, and miso soup is not a substitute. As a lunch meal, it's perfectly fine.
Itsu miso is a paste rather than powder (like some other brands of miso soup), which gives it a much fuller flavour and lovely texture. I love the seaweed pieces floating in the soup. Add a little bit of shrimps which are naturally low in calories, some shredded Chinese leaf or Savoy cabbage, and you get quite a substantial meal.
Two years ago, when I was on a 5:2 diet, I often had miso soup for lunch, with shredded cabbage and chopped quorn sausages and a sprinkling of chopped spring onions. Add a rice cake (28kcal), and the total lunch would be less than 150kcal.
|Miso soup with shredded Chinese leaf|
You can also use these pouches of miso soup as ingredients for cooking.
Cheryl from Madhouse Family Reviews has recently cooked a stir-fried miso turkey breast with bok choi. It is a healthy and tasty recipe. Inspired by Cheryl, I am going to cook chicken stir fry with miso tonight.
|Miso chicken stir fry with Chinese leaf and rice noodles|
To learn more about the itsu range, visit Itsugrocery.
Disclosure: I received a selection of itsu products for the purposes of testing and reviewing. All opinions are my own.