* Prices may differ from that shown
I think the Lime and Cracked Black Pepper Tuna Salad is fresh and natural tasting, it's not peppery so the black pepper has been added as a seasoning to the salad instead of as an actual flavour. You can taste it enough that if you don't like the taste of pepper then you might not like this but for people who don't mind a small taste of pepper then you should be ok with the flavour. I like pepper so having it added does not bother me at all, I think it gives the tuna and pasta a delicious taste but sometimes if I bite into a piece of sweetcorn that has got more pepper than usual on it then that can be quite a funny combination of flavours.
The pasta lets this meal down for me because I think it has a very oily texture as I'm eating and sometimes if I eat too quickly and don't chew my food properly I swallow a piece of pasta whole and that feels horrible as it goes down my throat. This could be personal tastes because I like my pasta to be dry or creamy, not oily, and no one I've spoken to about this Light Lunch has ever had the same opinion as me about the pasta. A friend who also likes these meal pots always says that the tuna has got a non fresh taste but I think it tastes just like the tuna you buy in tins, I think it's the slight vinegary flavour that spoils it for her but she always says she can't quite work out how she feels about this flavour even though she's a big lover of the Light Lunch pots in general.
The sweetcorn and peppers taste nice and fresh but I wish the water chestnuts were a bit crunchier because that would add an interesting texture, they're a bit too soft to taste fresh and in my opinion they should have been left out because they don't add anything to the flavour or the texture. The onions don't have a crunch either but I'm glad I can only taste those when I bite into one because the taste of some of them are quite strong.
There are 4 varieties to choose from; French style, mediterranean, tomato salsa and lime and cracked black pepper. I've tried all 4, I find the tomato salsa a bit too rich and sickly but the others are really nice.
My favourite is the French style. Tuna, pasta, potato, sweetcorn, red pepper and french dressing all for less than 90 calories and under 2g of saturated fat. It really is a light lunch! You can't go wrong!
They are suprisingly filling and obviously healthy so are great for dieters, health concious people and everyone else! Especially if you are in a rush. The pots do resemble something you'd give your dog or cat but they fortunately don't taste like it!
Each pot comes with a plastic fork meaning you can eat it on the go and theres absolutely no washing up involved! Make sure you check that your pot has a plastic fork enclosed (it's visibly tucked into the cardboard cover so if you cannot see it, it's because it isn't there).
They did start out fairly decently priced (around £1.50) but have recently rocketed to £1.99 each. I have seen them for £1.89 and they are often on offer. The last time I purchased them they were on 2 for £3.00.
I picked the French Style John West Tuna Light Lunch up last week whilst doing the weekly shop, I bought it for something quick to have at work as it would make a light change from the usual ready meals and I thought this would be more filling than a sandwich. The French Style Light Lunch has tuna, pasta, red pepper, sweetcorn, potato and french style dressing.
Price: At Sainsbury's I got this for £1.99 and this is for a 240g pot, I thought this was quite expensive but I thought I'd give it a try, especially seen as it saved messing around and it had ingrediants in it which really appealed to me.
Packaging: This comes in a little plastic pot a peeling lid which is then covered by a cardboard sleeve. The sleeve has an appetising picture of the tuna salad , the John West logo and the promise of an included fork which I didn't get and that it was under 250 calories. The pot isn't that big so this put me off abit but I thought that if it wasn't enough I would be able to bulk it out with abit of extra salad and this wouldn't mean alot of added extra calories.
Taste: On opening the pot my initial reation was that it looked abit like dog or cat food, when I flaked it up with a fork though it did look better and exactly like the picture on the front of the box. There isn't much in here but there's a good mix of the ingrediants, I'd say there was about a third of a tin of tuna in the pot. There a little cubes of soft boiled potatoes which are okay but a little nothingy, the same goes for the tiny pasta shells, neither of these are big enough to have any impact on the meal. The tuna had a nice flavour and so did the red pepper and sweetcorn and although there was no really intense flavour in the pot it all worked quite well together. I was glad that the French Style dressing wasn't too over powering and it mixed with all the flavours well and topped the dish off nicely. I did serve this on a bed of salad which I think is needed, it isn't enough on it's own as a meal even if it's only intended as a light lunch.
Nutritional Information: Now I aren't sure of all the nutritional information but this meal only has 221kcal in it which I think is really good. However it does make you wonder just how much tuna is in it as there are nearly 200kcal in just over a half a tin of tuna.
Overall: I think I would buy these again but might wait to see if they are offer as £2 for one of these little pots is quite expensive. The flavours work really well together and creates something abit different, but there just isn't enough of it and eating this on it's own you'd be hungry again pretty quickly. There wasn't a fork in my pot which isn't a big issue as I work in a restaurant but if you take this to work and don't have a fork then you're likely to go hungry!
Recently I noticed that a little weight had started creeping on due to my sedentary unemployed life of present, and decided to cut back a little more to get rid of it. (Which I did!) I was also getting really bored of food - it would come to lunch time and despite being hungry nothing seemed good. So I went off to the supermarket to pick out some things for a bit of variation.
There are four Tuna Light Lunch options, and one Salmon, but this review is for the "Lime and cracked black pepper" version. I have in the past tried one, I believe Tomato Salsa, which was revolting, so bear in mind that although I enjoy the lime version, I'm not condoning it's yucky shelf-neighbour!
A tuna light lunch is basically a metal package with a peel-back lid, containing tuna (surprisingly) along with, in this case, pasta pieces, sweetcorn, chick peas, water chestnuts and peppers. I chose this version because I'm particularly averse to dressings of any kind - vinegrette or mayo - which seem to be slathered on practically every prepackaged sandwich, salad or meal out there.
Personally I can't actually detect the lime and pepper dressing on this, apart from the fact that it keeps the ingredients moist. There isn't loads of it swimming around in the container when I'm done, and the fact someone has finally made an acceptable dressing (by my fussy standards) gives it two huge thumbs up already.
There is a good amount of tuna, I'd say equal to that of a small, ringpull-style can, although I wish it was stirred in a bit better, rather than huge sporadic chunks. Still nothing I can't do myself with the handy provided spork, which is pretty decent and great for if you are bringing the lunch along with you as it requires no dishes.
There isn't so much pasta, but the mix of sweetcorn and chick peas is surprisingly tasty. I love water chestnuts, and was pretty disappointed that there are hardly any. In fact I forgot there were even supposed to be any until right at the end I found a chunk of three slices stuck together. Even when I did find them, the environment among the tuna and dressing meant that they were a bit soggy which in my opinion sort of defeats the purpose of water chestnuts!
While find these very tasty, I don't find them especially filling, definitely the "light lunch" that they claim to be. Which is why I find it a bit steep to pay just under £2 each, considering I have to supplement them with a yoghurt or some fruit to have a satisfying lunch.
And although I find the packaging handy and sturdy enough to carry around, I can't help but feel like I'm eating dog or cat food when forking its contents out!
Nutritionally, these are less than 250 calories and very low in fat. For this reason I will probably continue to buy one a week or so, for if I'm in a hurry, but their price means they wont become a staple lunch for me. I'd much rather buy a tin of tuna, save some pennies and make them myself!
~*~ Tuna Light Lunch ~*~
I am a big tuna fan, and my favourite lunch choices are tuna and sweetcorn sandwiches or a tuna pasta salad. When I recently found my self absolutely starving in Sainsbury's with no low calorie sandwiches or salads left on the shelves, I therefore decided to give John West's version a go...
~*~ The packaging ~*~
The product comes in an octagonal packet which kind of reminds me of a large cat food tray. It definitely doesn't have a prestigious feel to it. The product is sealed within the pack (it has quite a long shelf life for a fish product) and it is not possible to see what you are getting until you open it.
~*~ The range ~*~
Other light lunches in the range include tuna pasta with lime and black pepper, salmon and cous cous and Mediterranean tuna.
~*~ The product ~*~
The product I am reviewing is the John West French style tuna light lunch, which consists of tuna, pasta, potato and sweetcorn as well as red peppers and onion - this is the only one in the range I have tried.
On opening the pack, you instantly get a very strong scent of tuna, and also the pepper. The dressing which is on the meal is very evident. The pasta shells are tiny, like the size you see in baby food. There is a good amount of tuna and potato included however, which is nice to see in such a meal.
On first taste I was very disappointed. I was starving and had high hopes for a product. The tuna was overpowered by the dressing and tasted quite sickly. The dressing also overpowered the peppers. The pasta shells were too tiny to fill me up, and the potato was definitely below average standard. Overall, I was very disappointed, and even in my ravenous state managed to eat barely a quarter of this before binning it!
~*~ The price ~*~
This particular product costs around the £2 mark (currently £1.99 in Tesco) and is rarely on offer. Others in the range sell for a little less - from around £1.68. It is readily available in supermarkets such as Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's.
~*~ The nutritional information ~*~
Each pack contains just 221 calories, which is very good going for a meal. Also included are 18.9g of protein. So pretty ideal for a low calorie, healthy meal... if you can bear to eat it.
~*~ The verdict ~*~
I definitely wont be purchasing this product again! I am quite tempted to purchase another in the range to give the product a second chance, as the idea is a good on and they are low calorie and healthy, however I do not want to waste my money again!
Try at your own risk!!
A chicken salad had been prepared for lunch, but I'm not a big fan of our feathered friends. (At least the cooked variety!) Thus it was that I picked up a tin of fishy stuff from one of my favourite tinned food manufacturers, John West, for my own repast.
The fishy stuff in question was called "John West Tuna Light Lunch."
I'm fond of most of the fish that John West produce, with sardines and mackerel being two of my particular favourites. But I hadn't seen this one on the shelves for quite a while, even though I remembered thoroughly enjoying it a few years back when I used to have it halfway through a night shift in my old "joe maxi". (Taxi) I'm glad to report that my taste hasn't changed over the intervening few years, and that this tuna snack is still as tasty and nutritious as ever.
So what's in the packet, apart from the tuna that is?
As well as the very tasty chunks of tuna, you have a dose of pasta shells, tomato pieces, and green beans and onions, all mixed up together in delicious traditional garlic and herb dressing. (The garlic isn't overpowering, by the way) There's a whole load of other ingredients listed on the side of the attractively designed box, but I won't bore the pants of you by listing them all. What you might find important though is that John West states that the dish is free from any artificial flavour, preservative, or added colouring. (None of the dreaded "E" additives) Another point that's worth mentioning is that John West is "dolphin friendly", so you don't have to concern yourself on environmental issues.
What makes this snack particularly attractive is that there is really no preparation involved. It's contained in one of those cartons with the pull back lids, and is ready cooked and thus ready to eat. In fact, I was feeling so lazy today that I didn't even bother putting it on a plate, and simply ate it straight from the tin, along with a few slices of French bread covered in lashings of real butter. (And, of course, a couple of mugs of my favourite Kenco coffee to wash it all down.) So it's an ideal quick meal for practically any purpose. You could give it to your kids for their lunch at school, take it with you to work for your own lunch, or simply have it in reserve in the kitchen press for those occasions when you get a dose of the munchies, and need something tasty to eat in a hurry.
You've probably already cottoned onto the fact that I like this tuna dish. It's totally delicious, and the different ingredients combine well to give you a truly pleasant gastronomic experience. Best of all, it's not even very expensive, at only around Euro2.30 for a 200g tin. (Shop around)
Highly recommended. (But only if you like tuna and pasta!)
I like to eat tuna about once every week or two. I use it to make sandwiches, combined with salad or sometimes as part of a pasta dish. It goes nice with olive oil, lemon juice or a little mustard. But when I saw Tuna Light Lunches these in Kwik Save the other day, instead of buying my usual tin of Tuna, I decided to give them a go.
John West Tuna Light Lunches are generally made from Tuna, vegetables and pulses, with rice or pasta in a light dressing. The manufacturers claim that they are nutritionally balanced, packed with vitamins and high in protein. This does seem to be the case.
A Tuna Light Lunch weigh in at about 250g. They are ready to eat and come with a small flimsy plastic fork included in the pack. The fork guarantees that you'll soon have tomato and herb dressing dripping down your tie. Each lunch contains less than 250 calories and is low in fat. The lunches contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Tuna Light Lunches come repacked. There is an outer cardboard sleeve with a picture of a serving of the product. The main container is hexagonal and has a foiled lid that can be peeled back to reveal the dish.
Tuna Light Lunches come in different varieties. I have seen Mediterranean, Tomato Salsa, French Style and Limeblk Pepper. I have only tried the Tomato Salsa that contains green and red peppers, cooked rice, sweet corn, kidney beans and onions. The ingredients provide a pleasant and colourful picture to the eye and I can testify that it is a very tasty dish to stifle a midday appetite. It is slightly sweet with 3.7g of sugar per 100g but this is reasonable and overall the ingredients blend well together.
Tuna Light Lunches do provide an enjoyable light snack, well actually they're a full lunch and a healthy one at that. However, they're not as healthy as a home made dish and I would still advise people to make up your own dishes with fresh salad, it's always going to be better than a prepacked meal. You can find them in most of the main supermarkets for around £1.60 to £1.90 which is not exactly on the cheap side bearing in mind that they only contain 32% tuna, but I guess you're paying for the convenience. If you intend to eat them out make sure you have a spare spoon in your pocket and some Tesco Wipes.
I've had a few of these and enjoyed them, but I am not sure whether I will have them again because I'm a little concerned about the packaging, which looks a bit flimsy. When I took the cardboard sleeve off one, I thought the lid looked slightly "blown", but it was one of three of different varieties, and the others looked no different, so I assumed it must be all right. That was about 2 weeks ago, I've eaten them all now, and had no tummy trouble.Why don't they package them in ring pull cans though? Isn't there a risk of food poisoning if the packaging gets damaged in transit? And aren't they afraid of being sued if this happens?
****The Catch of the Day****
I think if you asked a cross-section of people which company you thought of with regards to tinned fish, the answer would probably be John West. The company has certainly had a colourful history since the man, John West, first started the original cannery business, though he actually set it up in Oregon, USA in 1868. A native of Scotland, he thought of the advantages of canned fish to the people of the UK who couldn't afford the fresh fish itself.
But it was up to two Liverpool merchants, Pelling and Stanley to put together the companies that eventually became known by Lever Bros (later to become Unilever). As many companies do, it kept the original founder's name, but was acquired by Heinz in 1997 and now comes under the banner of M.W.Brands.
What I like about the company is their dedication to serving the customer with the best quality foods, whilst also being dedicated to sustainability of the ocean's fish stocks. This is good news to those of us that are concerned about the environment and the pursuit of keeping over-fishing down. Their methods of fishing is also dolphin friendly, another reason to trust this brand.
****Fish for Health****
In today's busy society we often eat the wrong types of food and this results in poor health and a worrying rise in obesity. Fish is a natural source of Omega 3 oils which help to reduce high cholesterol levels in the blood. There are other added benefits, such as healthy eyes, general improvement of circulation to the heart resulting in better skin, glossier hair and all-round health. But not all people like the taste of the oilier fishes, such as Mackerel, herring and pilchards. Salmon is a good source, as is Tuna, but it can be hard to encourage people to eat fish on its own. That's why John West have brought out several ranges of different ready meals that can tempt even the most obstinate of people to try some of their foods.
Tuna lends itself to many recipes, which can be found on the John West site, but today I want to write about one of my favourite ready meals.
****Tuna Light Lunches****
This is a range of ready-prepared meals with Tuna as it's main ingredient, but nutritionally balanced and tasty as well. There isn't any point in trying to eat healthy if the product doesn't tingle your taste buds, is there? Currently there are four varieties in the range, but I am reviewing my own personal favourite; the French Style.
The product comes in a handy octagonal-shaped cardboard and foil container and is small enough to fit in an average lunch-box or to pop into a medium sized handbag. It's quite robust, as proven by a colleague of mine who kept his in a briefcase and once sat on it.
There's an attractive picture of the contents on the front of the container, with the famous John West fish logo and the words, "low fat, less than 250 calories and no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives." That puts my mind at rest. On the reverse is all the information you need on: ingredients, Nutrition information, best before date and where to write to in the unlikely event of finding something wrong with the product. There is even a handy plastic fork with this, though I do find it is not that easy to put together.
****Ingredients and the taste Test****
This is described as Tuna, sweetcorn & red pepper pasta with French salad dressing. But there is slightly more to it than this. Tuna is the prime ingredient at 31%.Then comes potatoes (diced) at 17%, onions, red peppers 8%, pasta shells at 8% followed by the contents of the salad dressing. I won't list it all, but it does contain wheat egg and mustard in case you are allergic to these ingredients.
The tuna is actually much more tasty than the thin pieces normally found in the tins alone. They are more thick slices than chunks and look pink and appetising. The potatoes are diced and reasonably firm, the pasta al dente and the sweetcorn crunchy. You can't actually see any onion and the red pepper is thinly chopped, but the overall appearance is excellent. I like the colour balance, though that might sound peculiar, it does have a lot to do with how likely people are to be drawn to a product.
I find the taste is much better than some of the heavier versions of the Light Lunches. By this I mean those with thicker sauces. How do I describe the French dressing? Piquant comes to mind. I would also say that its slightly sweet, rather than spicy. That makes the whole meal as it doesn't distract from the other flavours. If you haven't eaten a Tuna steak before, then this will give you a taster. It's moist but not bitter or oily, the texture is firm and extremely tasty.
Potatoes taste much the same in any dish, though the bland taste is offset by the slight "bite" of the whole grain mustard. The small pasta shells are pleasant and can be eaten by children. The Sweetcorn is firm and colourful, while the small pieces of red pepper add an interesting all over look and delicate taste. In short the whole meal is both tasty and filling.
I don't like just reeling off a list of energy values etc, but I can see how this can make a difference to people on a diet, or parents wondering if this is meal enough for a young child.
One complete serving is only 221 calories, so great for people on diets. It's also balanced enough for a child, blending protein with carbohydrates and a small amount of the good fats
(6.2 of which 0.6 is saturated). There is 18.9 g of protein, 2.3 fibre and just 0.5 sodium and that's all natural. (no added salt).
My grandson is also fond of this, handy for him as both his parents are strict vegetarians who are allowing him to make his own choices. Like me, he usually eats this with a spoon, rather than a fork. Who cares when you are enjoying what you eat?
Definitely a five for both taste and appearance. I used these meals once when dieting to replace a midday meal. Along with a calorie controlled diet and gentle exercise I lost two stones in two months. I never felt hungry either. I do need to eat a lot of fish and I am lucky that I enjoy fish, but it's so hard to get fish without bread or batter nowadays. My cholesterol is high so I take fish oil supplements, though I'd rather eat these meals. I never tire of the taste either, but they are very expensive. The normal price is £1.78 per meal, but Tesco has an offer on these at the moment so I bought 8 for just 86p each. They also have a very long sell-by date. Not that they last more than a few weeks with me.
I hope I have convinced you that these can be much more tasty and filling than a can of tuna in brine or vegetable oil. There is nothing wrong with that, of course, but I know that it does put some people off Tuna completely. These ready meals are so convenient as well, that if you can afford them they are ideal for summer outings. They don't need to be kept in the fridge and are sealed against any bacteria.
They can also be recycled, which counts a lot with me. Of course you can always wash the foil container out and use it for holding various objects. Odd buttons, cotton reels, children's toy characters, bits of play dough.
Now I'm feeling hungry so I'm off to find another low-calorie treat before dinner. Well I did have to eat my Light Lunch a while back to remind myself how good they are.
© Lisa Fuller February 2008.