Calorie Counter

You’d be forgiven for assuming that veggie balls would be bland and pointless, but we’ve given them a go and can honestly say that they are delicious.

Heck veggie balls

Heck Foods, the brand behind Heck sausages seems to have understood that the rise of flexitarianism was an opportunity to launch meat free products to the standard that they make their other products.

Whether you opt for the Super Green balls or the Thai Bite balls, we think you will be pleasantly surprised with their flavour and texture. They don’t taste like a meat substitute – they taste like fragrant, well-seasoned vegetables.

The Super Green veggie balls are made with quinoa, spinach, kale and ginger and a serving size (three meatballs) is only 124kcals. There are 9 veggie balls in a pack and the preparation is easy – bung ’em in the oven for about 25 minutes, turning over halfway through.

We tried them on a bed of rocket with linguine, but think they are likely to taste great in a wrap, on a salad, with rice… you get the drift. Whether you are a die hard or fair-weathered vegetarian, these veggie balls are versatile enough for a number of meal ideas.

If you want to give them a go you can get them at Waitrose or via the Heck Foods website

    

Velo Healthy Vietnamese Restaurant Takeaway Bag

Light, flavoursome, refreshing – those are the words we would use to describe the food at Velo.

Velo is a Vietnamse restaurant located near London Bridge station who pride themselves on making authentic Vietnamese street food that is MSG-free. You’ll find pho, banh mi, spring rolls summer rolls, Vietnamese noodle soup and more on their menu.

They also have menu options that are gluten free and suitable for vegetarians, vegans and those who follow a halal diet. You can also find the nutritional info of their menu on their site in the form of a downloadable pdf.

It’s one of those places that are great for people who want no fuss healthy food. In addition to the healthy food, the touch screen ordering service, Touch Me, is perfect for busy people who know what they want and want to get in and out quickly.

We tried the Chicken Summer Rolls and Velo Small Prawn Vermicelli – both of which were light and simple. The Roast Chicken Summer Rolls (194kcals, 13.5g pro, 28.8g carbs, 3g fat) are steamed and made with rice paper, making them light on the stomach.

Velo Healthy Vietnamese Roast Chicken Summer Rolls

The Velo Prawn Vermicelli (151kcals, 8g pro, 18g carbs, 4.6g fat) is made with thin rice noodles, crispy lettuce, fresh herbs, crushed peanuts, chilli & homemade sauce.

Velo Healthy Vietnamese Tiger Prawn Vermicelli

It’s definitely worth bearing in mind that the food served here is without MSG, so your first few bites may not be what your palette is expecting. However, if you stick with it, you may find that you redefine your expectation of Vietnamese food.

Fresh food-to-go retailer has expanded their menu with a few new hot food heroes. These new menu additions are globally inspired and it’s no surprise that they feature a combination of colourful and healthy ingredients. There is one vegan option, one vegetarian option and four meat options to choose from!

EAT Chicken Pho Broth (1)

The hot water is added to the pot at the till so by the time you tuck in, the flavor infusions are already coming through. Choose from:

Vegetable Gyoza (vegetarian, 374 kcals)

A warming vegetarian broth filled with dumplings, Chinese cabbage, leafy spinach, crunchy carrot, red pepper and edamame beans, seasoned with shichimi and garnished with fresh coriander.

Hoisin Duck Gyoza (398 kcals)

A bed of noodles topped with layers of pak choi, carrot, Chinese cabbage, edamame beans, red peppers, spinach, pea shoots and duck gyoza dumplings, blended with a dash of lime juice in a tasty vegetable broth.

Chicken Pho (made without gluten, 330 kcals)

A fragrant lemongrass and ginger infused vegetable broth with rice noodles, crunchy carrots, pak choi, Chinese cabbage, red peppers, leafy spinach and topped off with chargrilled chicken, red chilli, fresh lime, coriander, spring onions and mint.

Sesame Shiitake Mushroom (vegan, 338 kcals)

A rich sesame broth bursting with shiitake mushrooms, pak choi, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, leafy spinach, spring onions, sesame seeds and crunchy edamame beans.

Harissa Spiced Chicken (507kcals)

This punchy spicy harissa and roasted pepper vegetable broth is filled with chargrilled chicken breast, the ancient grain freekah, and chickpeas and comes with spiralised carrots, leafy spinach and roasted butternut squash, topped with spiced dukkah almonds.

Kimchi Pork (448 kcals)

Slow-roasted pork and spicy kimchi served in a chilli vegetable broth with noodles, Chinese cabbage, leafy spinach, crunchy edamame beans, pea shoots, spring onions and pak choi, topped with fresh chives and sesame seeds.

 

Composite copy

No one disputes the health benefits of chocolate, however, a lot of the products that can be found on supermarket shelves aren’t ideal for someone with specific dietary requirements. With the Valentine’s season upon us, we thought we would pull together a list of traditional chocolate alternatives that might appeal to a Balanced Busy Body.

Protein Truffles

Protein Truffles BBBThese high protein, chocolate treats will be perfect for a Valentine who has a sweet tooth but wants to keep their carb intake in check.

According to the Protein Works, these treats are made by ‘infusing the protein blend with microencapsulated CLA, acetyl L-carnitine, chromium picolinate and fat-reduced cocoa powder to create a great tasting snack you can consume any time of the day’. For more info visit The Protein Works

Kallo Belgian Dark Chocolate Rice Cake Thins

Kallo BBBAt only 55 calories per rice cake thin, these are likely to appeal to a Calorie Counter. An ideal blend of ‘naughty’ and nice, these chocolate coated rice cakes are also suitable for vegetarians and coeliacs. You can find these treats in Waitrose and Holland and Barratt. Find out more about these lovely rice cake thins here

 

 

Choccy Apricot Munchy Seeds

Munchy Seeds BBBA long time favourite of BBB, these chocolate coated sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and dried apricot pieces can only be described as moreish. Suitable for vegetarians and coeliacs, Choccy Apricot Munchy Seeds are also a good source of Calcium, Vitamin E, Fibre, Zinc and Iron.

 

 

Bioglan Cacao and Quinoa Raw Bites

Bioglan Cacao & Quinoa BitesThese tasty bites are free from refined sugars, added flavours, colours and preservatives and contain two servings of superfoods. Made from only natural ingredients such as sultanas, cashew nuts, goji berries and cacao nibs (to name a few), these are perfect for Vegans. Find out more on their site

 

 

9Bar

9Bar OriginalLike other quality chocolate alternatives, this mixed seed carob coated bar is high in fibre, vegan-friendly, gluten-free and made with no artificial colours or preservatives. 9BAR’s partnership with Solar Aid, makes this treat twice as nice because every bar sold provides a night’s clean, sustainable light for a child in Africa.

 

 

Naked Cocoa Delight

Nakd Cocoa DelightThis lovely bar is made with only 4 ingredients: real cocoa, dates and raisins. Nothing is used to make the ingredients stick – they just get ‘smooshed together into a lovely, handy snack bar’. Dairy, wheat and gluten free these treats are suitable for vegans and vegetarians AND Kosher Approved. Find out more here

 

 

The Raw Chocolate Raisins

Raw Chocolate Co BBBThese raw chocolate covered raisins are simple but tasty. Organic, vegan, gluten free and Kosher, treats from the Raw Chocolate Co are another BBB favourite and can be found in Holland and Barratt or their site

 

 

 

What are you favourite alternative chocolate treats? Let us know in the comments below!

 

TWIST Drink Vanilla Creme

In short

An interesting marriage of coffee and protein.

Review

‘TWIST is a delicious blend of real Colombian coffee and whey protein isolate powder in a convenient bottle’.

The TWIST Drink appears to be created for those times when you kinda fancy a coffee and you kinda fancy a protein shake, but realistically we think it’s for those times when you need to top up your protein intake and don’t have the time, or aren’t in the environment to eat.

TWIST Drinks on the go

Whilst we love the concept and the detail of this product, we did struggle to understand exactly who this product is for. With 17g of protein and 73mg of caffeine per bottle it isn’t really a perfect match for the coffee connoisseur or the athlete. However, its nutritional profile does make it ideal as a stop gap product if your protein intake could use a boost.

The bottle size and easy mixing make it a great product for a desk drawer, bag or anywhere else BBusy Bodies stash their snacks. The TWIST drink ended up being a real life saver on days when there were back to back meetings.

Photo 23-06-2014 10 42 35One of the best features of the TWIST drink is the filter in the neck of the bottle, so that when you shake it up, you end up with a smooth drink. One tip: the colder the water, the nicer the drink!

The product is currently only available online but their Twitter feed suggests that they will be available in more retailers soon.

We quite liked the taste bit to ensure we weren’t biased we got the opinion of three testers. Here is what they thought of the Vanilla Crème Espresso drink:

Tester 1: It was good, but I wouldn’t necessarily buy it as it’s not a ‘special’ coffee

Tester 2: ‘I liked it! It tasted good and the bottle was well thought out. It’s like a healthy alternative to the high street iced latte’

Tester 3: ‘The sweetness of it stood out for me. I didn’t really get the coffee flavour that I wanted and it doesn’t contain huge amounts of caffeine or protein, but I’d reach for this over a protein bar if I needed a quick protein boost.’

If you like to the idea of your coffee with a twist or your protein shake with a twist, then is worth checking out. If however, you prefer keeping your coffee and your protein shake separate, you may want to give this a miss.

What we tried:

Vanilla crème espresso

What we liked

The bottle design ensures that your drink is always smooth

The size of the bottle makes it super easy to keep nearby

What we would do differently

Find a way to get the coffee flavor through

Suitable for

Calorie Counters

Carb Conscious

Gluten Aware

Value for money

There is currently an offer on their Espresso Protein Drink –  £11.94 for 6 but they are usually priced at £14.94 for a box of 6 which works out to £2.49 per bottle.

Find out more

http://www.twistdrinks.co.uk/

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In short

A great alternative to the typical lunch

Review

The sign outside of Hummus Brothers, Holborn is what caught our attention: ‘free-from wheat, gluten and lactose’. With that type of claim we had to check it out.

The Hummus Brothers experience is pretty straightforward – choose a topping for your hummus and use your pitta bread as a scoop – no cutlery required. Toppings include fava beans, guacamole, chicken and chunky beef. You can also add extra toppings such as sun dried tomatoes, jalapenos and feta.

In addition to having something on the menu for the Balanced Busy Bodies profiles, they also cater to a number of different dietary requirements. There’s a page on their site where you can do a search to find out which of their dishes meet your specific requirement: http://www.hbros.co.uk/ourfood/

The website is also the best place to find out the nutritional profile of the dishes – just remember that the information on the grid is only for the hummus and topping and does NOT include the bread.

While we are on the topic of bread there is a gluten free alternative for their pitta. We were half expecting a gluten free pitta, but in fairness, ensuring that the breads are different in shape reduces the chance of the wrong bread being served.

It’s also worth noting that the pitta bread can also be substituted for rice cakes, carrot sticks or corn tortilla chips

The space to eat in the Holborn branch was conservative so if you are planning to eat in, be prepared to sit next to strangers.

Although hummus tends to be treated like a dip, it is incredibly satisfying as a main. We would definitely recommend that you put this on your list of restaurants to visit, if you haven’t already.

What we tried:


Small hummus with a chunky beef topping

Hummus with Chunky Beef

 

 

 

 

 

 


Small Hummus with chicken topping

Hummus with Chicken

 

 

 

 


Gluten free pitta alternative

Hummus Bros Gluten Free Bread

 

 

 

 

 

 


What we liked

The food is simple but still tasty and filling

The provision of gluten free bread for coeliacs

What we would do differently

We’re curious to know how many calories are in the pitta

Who can eat here?

Calorie Counters Hummus topped with mushrooms with carrot sticks instead of pitta is under 200kcals
Carb Conscious Go for the chicken or chunky beef toppings and substitute pitta with carrot sticks
Gluten Aware All of the toppings are gluten free to just swap your pitta for the gluten free bread
Vegetarian Try the fava beans, vegetable salad, mushroom or guacamole toppings
Vegan Try the fava beans, vegetable salad, mushroom or guacamole toppings

Value for money

Small hummus with a chunky beef topping £5.50

Small Hummus with chicken topping £5.20

We think that’s pretty good value for a clean, filling lunch

Loyalty card

Buy 9 meals and get a 10” small hummus free

Buy 12 meals and get a 14” regular hummus free

Locations

Soho – 88 Wardour Street, London, W1F 0TH

Holborn – Victoria House, 37-63 Southampton Row, London, WC1B 4DA

St Paul’s – 128 Cheapside, London, EC2V 6BT

Exmouth Market – 62 Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QE

Find out more

www.hbros.co.uk

  

 

In short

A brilliant ‘clean eating’ dining experience

Review

This place absolutely knocked our socks off!

Visited by both amateur and professional athletes alike, the menu at the restaurant is designed for customers who know what they want, but kind to those who are still learning the ropes of good nutrition.

Social media has been buzzing about this place for a while and for good reason.

When we walked into the Leyton branch we fell in love immediately. Normally when you think of restaurants that attract clean eaters and athletes, you can’t help but assume that the interior décor would be equally ‘tough’ or ‘rugged’, but the restaurant is designed and decorated in a way that says ‘yes, our menu is perfect for clean eaters but everyone is welcome!’

Gyms Kitchen Interior

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything you need to make an informed decision is available on the menu: calories, fat, carbs and protein. The menu was also incredibly diverse and included appetisers, salads, wraps, protein pancakes – you can even order a banana split.

You’ll also find that there are options for vegetarians and the menu also indicates which meals are gluten free.

The food here is beautifully presented and the portion sizes are out of this world. When we ordered the tuna steak we genuinely expected one of those dainty sized portions that you get in other restaurants, but Gyms Kitchen make sure you leave fully satiated.

Another great attribute of this restaurant is the customer service – our waitress was polite, engaging, knowledgeable and friendly which added to our dining experience.

During our visit our server informed us that kitchen didn’t usually allow menu modifications as it could impact service times – an explanation we were quite happy with. Given that there is genuinely something for everyone on the menu, we felt it was a fair decision.

It’s obvious that a lot of thought was put into the execution of this restaurant, from the food and the staff to the bill pouch.

Gratuity was included in the price but we were so happy with the service that we wanted to leave a tip.

It didn’t feel like we were eating healthy as such, it felt as though we had gone out for dinner in a great restaurant that happened to serve nutritionally responsible food.

This is the type of place that we would like to see as a concession in gyms around the country.

Gyms Kitchen is proof that clean, honest food does not have to be boring or void of taste.

What we tried:

Gyms Kitchen Chicken Wings

 

 

 

 

 

 


Chicken Wings

Gyms Kitchen Grilled Halloumi 2

 

 

 

 

 

 


Grilled Halloumi

Gyms Kitchen Rump Steak 2

 

 

 

 

 

 


Rump Steak

Gyms Kitchen Tuna Steak 2

 

 

 

 

 

 


Tuna Steak

Gyms Kitchen Garlic Spinach and Spicy Rice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garlic Spinach and Spicy Rice

Gyms Kitchen Banana Split 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banana Split

Gyms Kitchen Peanut Butter Ice Cream 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Protein Ice Cream

What we liked

  • Nutritional information is easy to find
  • Portion sizes are ample
  • Customer service is second to none

What we would do differently

Give the option of peanut butter ice cream in the banana split (pretty please!)

Who can eat here?

Carb Conscious and Calorie Counter Busy Bodies will have the most fun here but Gluten Aware, Vegetarian and Vegan Busy Bodies will also find suitable options on the menu.

Value for money

Our bill for all of the above came to £41.72 including gratuity.

We think this was incredibly good value for money – especially given the portion sizes.

Locations

Leyton: 388-392 High Road Leyton London United Kingdom E10 6RT

Gants Hill: 376 – 378 Cranbrook Road, Gants Hill, Essex, IG2 6HW

Find out more

www.gymskitchen.com

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In short

The gluten free menu additions are well thought through AND tasty

Review

Pizza Express feels like a British high street staple, however, until recently, if you are coeliac or gluten intolerant, Pizza Express would not have been high on your list of places to eat (for obvious reasons.)

Thankfully, Pizza Express have shown their awareness of changing customer requirements by launching a comprehensive gluten free menu this autumn.

It’s reassuring to see that a great deal of research has obviously gone into this menu. For example, the gluten free base is not available for all the pizzas, such as the Sloppy Giuseppe, because some of the toppings contain gluten. Furthermore, coeliacs can also safely enjoy a brownie AND a beer from Pizza Express which sets them apart from their competitors.

This shows that Pizza Express is not treating the gluten free movement as a trend but as a genuine dietary requirement.

Calorie counters can also find the nutritional info on the website and will be pleased to see that the new menu also includes a superfood salad which has baby spinach, roasted butternut squash, beetroot, light baby mozzarella and other nutritious ingredients.

Their lower calorie Legerra pizzas are also still available for their customers who tend to keep a close eye on their calories.

What we tried:

Gran Padano on a gluten free pizza base

Gran Padano on a Gluten Free base

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can taste the difference between the gluten free base and their standard base, but that’s to be expected and the taste wasn’t bland. The base did go hard a little more quickly than the standard base, but again that was to be expected (and we are notoriously slow eaters)

Superfood salad

Pizza Express Superfood Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our tester wasn’t a huge fan of it and felt that it was ‘filling but bland’

Pollo Ad Astra Legerra

Pizza Express Pollo Ad Astra Legarra

 

 

 

 

 

Again, this one didn’t get a great response from our tester as she felt that her ‘salad was just leaves, rather than an actual mixed vegetable salad, therefore very boring’.

What we liked

 

The food was visually appealing

There was no extra charge for the gluten free option

The gluten free menu was clearly thought through and well researched

Their website is clear and concise

Their allergy information can be downloaded from the site

Their nutritional information can also be downloaded from the site

What we would do differently

 

The superfood salad may benefit from a few more herbs to add more flavour without raising the calories

Who can eat here?

Calorie Counters Try the Legerra pizzas
Carb Conscious Superfood Salad with Chicken (ask for your balsamic syrup on the side)
Gluten Aware Anything with the GF symbol next to it
Vegetarian Anything with the ‘v’ symbol next to it
Vegan Vegans are limited to roasted tomatoes, olives marinate, macron almonds, dough balls (if butter is substituted for oil), a side salad, sorbet, Nocellara Del Belice olives.

Value for money

 

Gran Padano on GF base

Superfood Salad

Polla Ad Astra Leggera

Loyalty card

No loyalty card per se but there are regular offers and promotions available if you sign up to receive their newsletters. We used a 25% off voucher and the gluten free pizza base was included in the discount.

Locations

There are more than 400 in the UK. Find your local Pizza Express here

Find out more

www.pizzaexpress.com

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Tossed

 

 

 

In short

Tossed encourages a balanced approach by offering a wide choice of options

Review

Tossed was recommended to us by a student athlete who liked the fact that he could get a healthy meal on the go. So we headed off to the branch in Westfield, Stratford City with a big appetite and high expectations.

Tosser Mug

The Tossed brand is clean and attractive and somehow manages to make healthy eating seem kinda fun. They are also more than happy to play up to their name with cute novelty items like mugs that say ‘I’m a tosser’ and ‘My man’s a tosser’.

Tossed - WorkWe were happy to see loads of little nutrition tips on the till and around the salad bar. The salad bar was full of lots of goodies which we tried to photograph but staff said photo taking was a no-no so you’ll have to get down there to check it out for yourself. You’ll find a number of protein options in addition to clean carbs and a wide range of sensible toppings and dressings. Vegetarian and vegan options are quite clearly signposted, and the menu appears to be fairly coeliac friendly (apart from the wraps) but it’s always worth asking the question.

Nutritional information can be downloaded from the site but you’ll need a calculator and a little patience to figure out the value of your meal.

There is a charge for swapping items on the house menu, unless you are a vegetarian and wish to swap a meat item for another item. Their menu also includes fresh fruit juices, low fat smoothies and milkshakes.

As much as we were in love with the ethos, options and attention to detail, we felt that our menu choices were a bit lacking in flavor and moreishness. To be fair, this may be down to the fact that we opted for cold options.

This is definitely a great place for anyone who has made a commitment to balanced, healthy living and whose taste buds have adjusted to their healthier lifestyle.

What we tried:

Chipotle Chicken Salad with a half brown rice and half lettuce base

Tossed Chicken Chipotle Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greek Wrap

Tossed - Greek Wrap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What we liked

The fact that Tossed was the first UK establishment to display the nutritional value of their meals

The fact that they play up to their name

What we would do differently

Give an approximate nutritional value of some of the meals

Who can eat here?

Calorie Counters The Tossed menu is your oyster as all the calorie information you need is there
Carb Conscious Muscle Builder on a lettuce base
Gluten Aware Grilled Halloumi
Vegetarian Chipotle Salad or Wrap with Falafel
Vegan Greek Salad or Wrap with Avocado

 

Value for money

Their prices are a little on the steep end for what you are getting:

Chicken Chipotle Salad £7.45

Greek Wrap £6.95

Loyalty card

They are currently running an offer where you can get a week of hot drinks for a fiver with their coffee card. Ask in store for details.

Locations

You can see their list of stores here

Find out more

www.tosseduk.com

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ProBeefPacket

In short

Clean, great tasting on-the-go protein that you don’t have to drink

Review

Beef jerky is one of those moreish snacks that some carb conscious busy bodies like because it adds variety to their diet. The biggest issues clean eaters have with beef jerky are the added sugar, gluten and MSG that finds its way into mainstream brands.

Pro Beef has managed to launch a beef jerky product that contains none of the above mentioned nasties that actually tastes good. Furthermore, it’s not as tough to chew as some other brands so you don’t feel your jaw muscles growing with every bite.

The biggest feature for us though, has to be the fact that it doesn’t stink out a room when you open it. Beef jerky is typically one of those snacks that everyone knows about if you are eating it in an enclosed space, but we tried ours on public transport and didn’t receive a single dirty look – result!

The only downer is that we had to wrestle with the packet a little in order to get into it. It’s ok if you’re at your desk and have a pair of scissors nearby but may be a bit of a challenge when you’re glycogen depleted post workout and finding it difficult to even tie your shoes!

Here’s how it stacks up against a mainstream brand:

What we tried:

Original flavour

Peri Peri flavour

What we liked

It’s clean, convenient and tasty

100% British grass fed beef

What we would do differently

Make the packet a little more user friendly

Who can eat this?

Obviously not vegetarians and vegans

It is, however, perfectly fine for Carb Conscious, Calorie Counters and Gluten Aware busy bodies

Value for money

At £2.99 a pop, it’s more expensive than other brands, but given the quality – that’s to be expected. Keep an eye on their website for promo codes

Find out more

www.purebeef.co.uk

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