* Prices may differ from that shown
I managed to lose a stone earlier this year through a combination of healthy eating and using the wii fit but my sweet tooth means the pounds are slowly creeping back on again. Instead of my usual chocolate or cola I decided to pick one of these packs up in the co-op.
The you are what you eat label put me off a bit as images of Gillian Mckeith poking around in the nations poo popped into my head. She has a reputation of selling loads of faddy foods like spirulena which probably have no effect but this is good old fashioned healthy eating.
My 160g pack contained a large portion of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. Berries are known to be low glycemic load foods and blueberries were last years fashionable superfood before the acai berry came along.
I thought the mix of fruits was fairly good but only had one blackberry in my pot. I didnt like the fact that the strawberries were ready chopped as they went a bit mushy round the edges and will have lost some of their nutrition due to oxidation and a lot of their juice had escaped to the bottom of the bowl, dont get strawberry juice on your clothes like I did it's a nightmare to get off.
The fruit all tasted fresh and sweet and juicy apart from the strawberries which had lost a lot of their taste due to being sliced before being put into the bowl.
I split my pot of fruit with my daughter and we had some plain yoghurt with it which made a perfect light pudding but the fact that the bowl contains a fork means that it is easy to eat on the go.
I like the idea of a ready prepared fruit bowl, I always tend to grab junk food when I'm out. The massive portion is enough for a snack for two or breakfast for one and you will feel good about eating it.
The price was 1.99 for my bowl of fruit from the co-op. It's expensive but not excessively so when you consider the high price of blueberries and raspberries. I would buy again if they started putting whole strawberries into the bowl as it is an enjoyable mix to eat but mushy ready cut fruit did let the whole thing down a bit.
When it comes to breakfast, I'm absolutely rubbish, particularly when I'm out and about. At home, I'm not too bad, although my fondness for breakfast cereals is rather offset by a weakness for fresh croissants. If I'm not at home, it's not that I don't eat; far from it. It's more the case that I eat the wrong things. If I'm in a hotel, I can't resist cooked breakfasts. If I'm on the move, I end up with sandwiches, biscuits, pastries or all three. Come mid-morning, I always complain that I feel bloated and heavy, as those heavy breakfasts and pastries weigh me down in a truly nauseous fashion. It's a bit of a cliché, but the main reason that breakfast is so abused is simply a lack of time. In the morning, it takes a while for my appetite to kick in, so I rarely want to eat anything before I leave home. It's not until I sit down at 8.30, way away from the convenience of a home kitchen and fridge, that my system starts to fancy something; and by then, I'm at the mercy of vending machines, corporate hospitality and local supermarkets.
I'm discovering some convenient alternatives, however, that my daily schedule can accommodate - and one of these is a relatively new breakfast pot sold under the You Are What You Eat label.
I've only seen them in my local Co-operative stores and it's quite hard to track down where else they might be stocked. The packs are produced under franchise by a company called AMS Marketing but their web site doesn't indicate stockists, I'm afraid, so it may just be the one chain of stores that sells them. The You Are What You Eat label is owned by Celador, the company that makes the TV show with Gillian McKeith, and I've also seen some fresh salads and other products sporting this banner. AMS only make the fresh fruit products.
The Berry Good Breakfast is available as a full breakfast pot (250g) and in a smaller snack pot that only contains the berry bits (shown here(. In the breakfast pot, you get a selection of fresh strawberry pieces, whole blueberries, whole blackberries and whole raspberries. You also get a sachet of natural yoghurt and a sachet of muesli. They even throw in one of those "spork" things (a combination of a spoon and fork) so you can literally pick it up on the go and have everything you need.
The idea is that you serve the breakfast in the pot by pouring the yoghurt over the fruit and then chucking the muesli on top. It's fairly straightforward to do this, although I always find that the muesli sachet tears too easily (firing bits of nut everywhere) whereas the yoghurt sachet is too tough, usually resulting in another, creamy accident. I'd recommend using scissors for a more controlled breakfast experience.
I'm very wary of prepared fruit products; the quality around varies enormously. Certainly, Tesco fresh fruit salads, for example, always seem very poor quality to me. The fruit tends to be rather unripe, badly presented and they never seem very fresh when they get to the shelves. This is the first thing that I noticed when I bought the Berry Good Breakfast; the berries all smelt gorgeously fresh, they looked good (none of that battered, unkempt look) and they were at an optimum level of ripeness, so as not to be too soft but not too hard either. I always judge a strawberry by its smell, and when you open the pack the sweet strawberry aroma is really, really good.
The combination of fruit, yoghurt and muesli works surprisingly well. I've never been a huge fan of natural yoghurt, given that it seems to taste unpleasantly sour to me. Of course, here, it works well, because the slightly sour yoghurt taste is offset by the tangy sweetness of not just the fresh fruit, but the pieces of dried fruit in the muesli. It's biotic yoghurt too, which means that it has healthy bacteria in it and I have to say I've acquired a taste for it. It's smoother than other yoghurts that I've tasted, and has a clean, freshness to it. The muesli isn't your tasteless rubbish other, with a good balance of oats, seeds, flakes and dried fruit. All in, the breakfast is around half fruit, 15% muesli and 35% yoghurt, so there's a good mixture in there.
Since I've been trying to have these Berry Good Breakfasts, I have to say that I've noticed a difference in my dietary habits. I no longer find myself picking at things during the morning, with my appetite nicely fulfilled until lunch time. They definitely wake me up, too. After a more traditional cooked breakfast, I very often feel more inclined to doze than anything else, but after one of these I feel kind of invigorated. They've also inspired me to think more carefully about what I'm eating during the day, as it seems a bit daft to have a healthy breakfast and then go and eat a heavy lunch. The breakfast contains around a fifth of the daily recommended protein allowance, has only about 5% of your recommended fat intake and a quarter of your daily fibre requirement. It's got more than 100% of your daily Vitamin C intake and accounts for about one and a half of your five-a-day fruit quota. Not bad for one little pot, I reckon.
They're not cheap; no convenience food ever is, after all. They retail at around £2.50, which for the ingredients is almost certainly an expensive way to do things and I don't need to be told that I could assemble the ingredients for most of a week for that amount if I did it myself. One of these days, I may try and do that, but the logistics of preparing it all, having something to put everything in, carrying it around and then carrying the empties home simply doesn't appeal and I'm happy to pay for the convenience. It's reasonably ethical too; all the fruit is produced in Britain and the plastic container can be recycled. I'd gladly pay a bit more for an organic option, and I'm surprised that the company hasn't looked to do this. (The snack pot is about 50p less, but I like the additional muesli and yoghurt better.
All in, I'm impressed and single-handedly keeping the business afloat, I reckon. For anyone who's busy, out and about but still concerned about what they're eating, this is ideal but if you've got the time and inclination to do it yourself, then clearly you will.
Fresh fruit on the go!