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Sunday 13 December 2020

Skinny Food Co: Less Calories, Less Taste or Sensational Snacking?

I was sent a box of Skinny Food goodies to try. They sent them to me for free and I don’t get paid for reviewing them but I was asked to pop a review on. It’s an unbiased review – I’m saying exactly what I think as usual …!* 

So … a few years ago I was 5 stone heavier. That’s a lot of excess weight to carry around. And it was definitely excess for me. I’m short and that weight put me firmly in the obese category. I lost the weight using a calorie controlled diet and I’ve tracked my intake ever since. 

I’m not as strict with my food as I was initially coming out of the diet phase, but I’m mindful of what I eat. I’m aware that my idea of portion control isn’t what it should be and keeping an eye on my calorie intake helps me stay on track. Calories aren’t the be-all and end-all … I can be unhealthy at any weight, but it keeps me mindful and aware of fuelling with healthy foods rather than eating empty calories.

This was part of the reason that when Skinny Food Co contacted me to see if I’d like to try a box of goodies, I accepted. That and I LOVE food. I was curious to see what they could offer and whether I could make any healthier swaps. 

First impressions

The items came in a really funky box design and everything was really well packed. Also the box was a small size for a decent amount of items – not a massive box for a shoelace like Amazon tend to send. The items were also packed in REALLY securely – Royal Mail would really have had to go to a lot of effort for anything in the box to get damaged. 

First impressions of the items – the packets and jars looked like premium options. The packets weren’t screaming at me that they were a low calorie option – I didn’t get the feeling that I was going to get a lesser alternative to my normal option, which was good! When I have a treat, I like to have a TREAT!

Then I read the back of the packets … and couldn’t believe the calories. Treats but without burning off the long bike ride I’ve just done or ruining my daily calories! Surely … they couldn’t taste decent with this percentage of the normal calories …?

A nice touch was getting a recipe card in the box with the goodies. I am an APPALLING cook so the more cooking tips I get, the better! My recipe was Bombay Potatoes and while there were sauce options from Skinny Food Co recommended to go on them, the recipe didn’t need any Skinny Food Co products to make them so it wasn’t just a sales tactic which was nice! 

6kcal per serving 
(For comparison Heinz Burger Sauce contains 56 kcals per serving)

The Fake Away Burger Sauce had the colour and consistency you usually get in a burger sauces. Comparatively, it was sweeter than I’m used to and a little less creamy. I could tell that it wasn’t my  normal burger sauce option but for 6 calories a serving, this would be a very good option particularly if I was focusing on calorie intake. 
Additional Benefits: Gluten free, low sugar.

2 kcals per serving
(Kraft Honey BBQ Sauce contains 60 kcals per serving)

I love BBQ sauce and liked that this was a HONEY BBQ sauce too! I added this to some halloumi and was pleasantly surprised. The taste was spot on, consistency was perfect and it was 2 calories compared to the 60 calories and handful of sugar I’d normally get from a bbq sauce. I’d definitely add this to meat or a burger as it was delicious. It was sweet rather than spicy but this was the only difference to my regular BBQ sauce.  
Additional Benefits: Gluten free, fat free, zero dairy, vegan, no added sugar, diabetic friendly.

0 kcals per serving
(Nestle Hazelnut Creamer contains 25 kcals per serving)

This is recommended to add to coffee, tea, smoothies, porridge and desserts. I used this in my coffee as as although I don’t take milk or sugar in my coffee, I love syrup in it as a special treat. The Hazelnut creamer is very sweet – just as if I’d added a syrup. It did initially look like it would curdle but it mixed in well and turned the coffee exactly the right colour. The creamer smelled delicious and it was very tasty. It would be a very good substitute if you’re trying to reduce milk or sugar in your hot drink as I found it was sweet and creamy enough to satisfy a sweet tooth!   
Additional Benefits: Gluten free, fat free, zero calorie, vegan, sugar free, diabetic friendly.

7 kcals per serving
(Regular Strawberry Jam contains 56 kcals per serving & 10 grams of sugar!)

I found this sweet and delicious and tasty. I wouldn’t be able to tell that this isn’t full calorie or full-sugar jam. It was full of taste and a really lovely consistency. I will definitely buy this again particularly while I’m being a bit more calorie conscious as it tastes like a proper treat while being much lower sugar and lower calorie than traditional jam but with all the taste!
Additional Benefits: Gluten free, fat free, low sugar (85% less sugar) diabetic friendly.

0 kcals per serving
(Regular Golden Syrup contains 60 kcals per serving & 10 grams of sugar!)

I was initially a little disappointed in this as I didn’t get the sugary taste that I’d hoped for. It was a lot thinner than usual golden syrup – it wasn’t the syrupy consistency I’d expected and I managed to squirt it all over the kitchen by mistake. I was quite disappointed with the taste as it tasted very much like I’d expect a spoonful of syrup in a pintful of water to taste – and it had the consistency to match. It was, however, good with pancakes and as a sweet dipping sauce but it’s not really thick enough for ice cream or on fruit. However, I then tried it in coffee ... SOLD! I don't take sugar in coffee but love a syrup in coffee as a treat. And as this was zero calories and sugar-free it felt guilt-free! 
If you don't mind it not being identical to the high calorie, high sugar Golden Syrup then it is a good substitute for most things that you would use golden syrup in. 
Additional Benefits: Gluten free, fat free, zero calorie, vegan, sugar-free, diabetic friendly.

21 kcals per recommended serving
(Regular pancakes contains 175 kcals per serving)

I found that the recommended portion size was too small for me so I doubled up to bring this to 42 kcals per pancake, however I was massively impressed! Very easy to make and it mixed well and the pancakes came out better than my usual ones! They were delicious with the Skinny Golden Syrup and Skinny Strawberry Jam and even my 11yo also preferred them to ‘normal’ pancakes!

Any down sides to the skinny treats?

LOTS of marketing emails from the company. Really. A silly amount. 11 emails between order being placed and order arriving. 

Not everything tastes exactly the same as a high calorie option. You’ve got to decide whether having zero calories or fewer calories, is worth choosing a different texture. However, I found several of the low calorie products superior to what I’m used to so it is a case of choosing what treats you want and are happy changing.

The items are very sweet so if you’re on a calorie controlled diet or watching what you eat and have a sweet tooth then they may be a perfect match for you. They taste very close to the full calorie options so definitely a good swap for the these. Low in calories and low in sugar – a good option! I was particularly pleased with the jam – I’m definitely going to try the other flavours and I’ll definitely buy this again! I’m currently training with lower carbs and higher protein so these treats with low sugar and low carbohydrates work well for me as well as being lower in calories. I’ll definitely be buying the jam and the pancake mix again and will be enjoying trying the other options as a low calorie treat. 

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