Saturday, September 10, 2011

Nuts for Nutella?

Everyone is nuts for Nutella. If you don't what know it is, Nutella is a rich, delicious, spread made from hazelnuts and chocolate! What could be better than that?

 You can spread Nutella on toast, croissants, waffles, in between layers of home-made cake. Use it as a dip for apples, bananas, strawberries.  Or you can just eat it out right out of the jar with a spoon on a really bad day! It's good for you! That's the claim to fame, anyway. 

You've seen the TV commercial with the healthy, fit, super- busy mom serving Nutella to her kids for breakfast. She feels confident that when she serves this, her kids are getting a good, healthy, nutritious meal they will enjoy. In fact, Nutella's whole advertising campaign is this: Trick your kids into eating healthier by spreading Nutella all over whole grain products. Boom! Healthy Breakfast!

Read it here: Nutella Tips for Moms


You know me. I never believe anything especially when it comes to food. I must do the research before I eat something or encourage anybody else to do so. Nutella is the one food clients continuously ask me about. What could be wrong with it?  It's basically hazelnuts and chocolate that claims to be healthy. This is Nirvana in a jar!

You could do worse than Nutella. I actually know people who eat entire cans of chocolate cake frosting. YUCK!! Better to go with Nutella.

But is Nutella healthy?

Let's dissect a jar:

The claim: a nutritious product with no artificial colors or preservatives and over fifty hazelnuts  in each jar!  Sounds good. Nuts are good...........

Here are the actual ingredients in a jar of Nutella (in order):

sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, reduced minerals whey (milk), lecithin as emulsifier (soy), vanillin (an articifical flavor).  See for yourself: Nutella Ingredients

First of all: hazelnuts are not the main ingredient. Sugar is. In fact, there are 21 grams of sugar in a serving of Nutella. Exactly how much is 21 grams? 5.25 teaspoons of sugar. In one serving!!

Each serving is 200 calories- half of those calories are from fat. That's a lot of sugar and fat for a so-called nutritious food.

The cocoa and hazelnuts in Nutella are pretty self explanatory but neither of these products are organic and I'm pretty sure they don't use the highest quality cocoa or hazelnuts.

Palm Oil? I don't have enough space here to talk about cheap, disgusting palm oil, but you can read it for yourself, right here:  Palm Oil

And for those who need or want to avoid dairy products- forget it. Nutella contains milk and milk products. NOT VEGAN!!!

Soy Lecithin: an emulsifier and another cheap, unhealthy ingredient added to prevent Nutella from separating in the jar. It also extends shelf life and helps the product appear more appetizing by improving appearance and consistency. Soy Lecithin Dangers

Last but not least: Vanillin. That's an artificial flavor. It's used as an inexpensive substitute for real vanilla. Why can't they just use natural vanilla extract in here? If you suffer from migraine headaches, check your labels. Vanillin could be to blame.

Nutella isn't cheap either. It will cost you about $3.99 for a small jar. I literally laughed out loud when I recently read about a well-intentioned mom who bought it. Her kids found it and ate the entire jar in matter of minutes! They all got sick. Kind of defeats the whole purpose, doesn't it?

First of all, why do we need to trick our kids with chocolate for breakfast? What's wrong with good old fashioned natural peanut butter spread on toast or waffles? Toss on a few banana slices and you have a delicious, nutritious, protein packed meal. Giving kids chocolate first thing in the morning is setting them up to crave such treats every day. They will never settle for anything less.

Nutella won't kill you, but it isn't the wisest choice if you are serious about health, wellness, and weight loss.

If you are a Nutella addict, don't be discouraged. I have an alternative.............

This recipe is for those days when you're craving Nutella or want to give the kids a treat.  This is easy, inexpensive, delicious and GOOD FOR YOU!  This is so good that I suggest you only make it in very small quantities. If you keep big containers of this stuff around, you'll be tempted to keep digging into it with a spoon until it's all gone!

All you need is a jar of Hazelnut butter, like this one:

Organic brands are always best. Check the label to be sure there's nothing added to the jar other than hazelnuts and salt. You can also use hazelnut butter without added salt, if desired.

Unsweetened cocoa powder (buy a good brand) . Rapunzel Organic Cocoa Powder is my personal favorite. It's delicious and vegan. No milk products in there!

You will also need a little bit of sugar. I prefer Fair Trade Raw Cane Sugar Granules.

Here's what you do:

In a small bowl combine one half a cup of hazelnut butter with one tablespoon of raw sugar (that's three teaspoons; you can use less if desired), and one tablespoon of the unsweetened cocoa. Mix well and serve!

That's it!! This recipe yields about three servings. This is more than enough to spread all over everything, with a little left over to lick right off the spoon. :)


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