These are a few of my favourite thingsSnacking on Little Bird Grawnola
Eat like a bird - quite literally
I think most of us would baulk at the idea of paying $18—$20 for what looks like a couple of measly bowlfuls of budgie-food for brekky.
Even forgetting the price, I wouldn’t eat this product as cereal, as it doesn’t appeal to my tactile sensibilities. The idea of pairing it with a spoon jangles my nerves. And, I don’t actually think you could apply milk to it? It would hardly wet things on its way down through the gaps.
However, this doesn’t mean I have dismissed this product entirely. Instead, I’ve re-purposed it as a snack food! I like to peck away at this stuff out of my own special feeders!
Take note of the nutritional information on the back of the 300g packet — you’ll see there are actually seven serves in a bag (that’s 50g per serve). And, the average amount of protein per serving size is 6g — which is roughly a snack-size amount (not a meal-size amount).
Note: A snack-size amount of food only provides enough energy + nutrients to sustain you until your next complete meal.
If you look at it this way, you get seven snacks at $2.78 per snack. That’s not bad at all!
Note: As a cereal, Little Bird actually suggest you ‘Start small, you can always have a second, or third bowl’. It’s a nice thought, but I guarantee that unless you’re padding-out this cereal with another (cheaper) cereal, or using a bunch of full-fat yoghurt and fruit… you’re going to go back for ‘thirds’ in order to feel full!
I repurpose my Japanese + Thai Takeaway containers to squirrel away my allocated snack stash.
What's the purpose of eating these things?
Depending on which budgie-bits you purchase, they could have anywhere from 6—12g of ‘sugar’ in them.
Therefore, when I’m deciding which ones to purchase (or to recommend to my clients), I think ‘what’s my objective for eating them’? I generally have one overriding objective, which I back up with a secondary objective (which will alternate in importance for me — depending on the circumstance)
My overriding objective is always:
To find a relatively tasty, protein-based snack
My Secondary objectives are one of the following:
— I want little or no sugar, or
— I want sugar, or
— I want variety
TheN THE idea is to Divvy them up and stash them away!
As soon as you open the packet (before you sample them!), roughly divide your serves among seven containers.
If your objective is to have: ‘little or no sugar’ or ‘variety’ then you’ll eat your snacks over the period of one week. If your objective however, is to have a ‘treat-ier’ snack, then you’ll eat your quota of snacks over a two-three week period.
Here are two examples of what you could get:
01—Little Bird's Sprouted Buckwheat Cereal has the most 'bang for the buck'.
It costs $17.95 for 500g and has 10 servings.
That’s easy maths — your snack is just $1.80.
This cereal has the most protein (7g),
and the least amount of sugar (6g).
It’s relatively tasty — as long as you break up the dehydrated apple (so at least there’s a hint of sweetness in every handful).
02—Cacao & Superfoods Grawnola is the yummiest
But you know what that means…
It has less protein (5g), and more sugar (12g)!
It costs $19.45 for 350g and has seven servings.
Each snack is $2.78.
Note: Whenever Cacao is used in anything, the sugar content automatically goes up to buffer the bitterness of this substance.
Divvy up your stash to control your portion sizes.
The things that make you go hmmm
The things that make me raise my left eyebrow — when I read the back of Little Bird packets:
‘We believe you should be able to recognise all the ingredients in your food, if you don’t recognise one of ours, let us know and we can tell you about it’.
I’m sure they would have to have a dedicated call centre for this (based in South American), with all the foreign ingredients they use such as Acai, Cacao, Camu Camu, Chia seeds, Goji, Lucuma, Maca, Macqui, Mesquite, and Yacon. I’m sure the average Jo Bloggs doesn’t recognise these ingredients, let alone is confident enough to pronounce them!
Also, on the back of the label of the Fig & Ginger Grawnola, Little Bird say they use a ‘hint of maple‘… I don’t recognise this ingredient! Why did they leave off the ‘syrup’ part of the maple? It’s great that they’ve listened to their customers (they’ve stopped coating their products in Agave Syrup), but why are they now leaving the ‘syrup’ part off the maple? Hmm.
Note: Make no mistake — while Maple syrup isn’t controversial like Agave Syrup — it’s still sugar!
Every 50g serving size of this Grawnola has 11g of sugar. So apparently, a ‘hint of maple ‘ equates to approx. 2 tsps…
Note: If you did as they suggest, and ‘went back for thirds’ of this product you’d consume the equivalent of a 30ml shooter of Maple Syrup!
Please know, that I’m not ‘having a go’ at Little Bird. I love the work they are doing.
However, I want people to know that what this brand is promoting is not the ‘norm’ when it comes to health food. You don’t have to eat these sorts of foods in order to be healthy.
I would describe their Grawnolas and Cereals as novelty (or treat) FOODS.
They should only be enjoyed occasionally.
Superfoods trail, and salad clusters
These products generally live in the nuts + seeds + snacky foods section of your local health food store.
These Little Bird products cost $11.25 for 150g. According to the nutritional information there are 6 x 25g servings per bag which makes each ‘snack’ $1.88.
However, the ‘Superfoods Trail Clusters‘ (with Goji, Chia + Cacao) only have 4g of protein per serve. I don’t think this quite ‘cuts it’ as a snack for the average person (it’s just not that satiating). I’d be more inclined to say this bag contains 3—4 snack servings. This makes it $3.75 or $2.81 per snack respectively.
Note: This product has 6g of sugar per serve.
In this case, you might as well revert to my original plan of using the Grawnola and Cereal for snacks instead @ $1.80—$2.78 per pop!
Then you’ve got the ‘Superfoods salad clusters‘ (with sea veges, activated nuts + seeds). Now, these things have 7g of protein per 25g serving. And, they only have .5g sugar!
I wouldn’t encourage people to put these clusters on their salads, as I prefer you to only use nuts for snacks (as it’s hard enough coming across a good variety of protein snacks without using up this option in your meals).
Note: Splitting a bag into two portion sizes, and adding these to your salad (2x) would not be such a bad idea if you were Vegan.
However, this product makes the best snack of them all! It doesn’t contain any novelty super-foods. It’s only $1.88 per feed. And, it’s the only savoury (low sugar) option among this Little Birdie flock.
Cheap cheep cheep! Cheap cheep cheep!
Please just eat these novelty foods in moderation. As I said previously, you don’t have to eat these sorts of foods to be healthy. We got on just fine before these types of exotic health foods arrived on the New Zealand market.
You don't have to buy one of these fancy packets every week
I would just recommend that you rotate 1—2 of Little Bird’s products into your monthly snack regime.
For the majority of the time, there’s nothing wrong with just snacking on plain ol’ almonds, peanuts, walnuts, macadamias, pistachios, brazil nuts, or cashews.
If you’re looking for a bit more variety try Fava Nuts (seasoned + dried broad-beans), or dried chickpeas.
You could also just have a boiled egg, a small piece of hard cheese, or some veggie sticks + humous.
Just keep it simple with your diet for 80% of the time. You don’t need to over-do things. You don’t have to add ‘clusters’ to your salad. You should already be having your salad based around some substantial form of protein. You’re better off just having a plain ol’ salady salad with a chunk of protein on the side (meat, chicken, fish, seafood, eggs, lentils, or chickpeas).
For some reason, a lot of people think that snacking is bad. In most cases, I actively promote it.
Make an appointment with Lisa
Lisa Fitzgibbon is a qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath and Medical Herbalist.
She runs her own private practice OOMPH, in Grey Lynn (Auckland, New Zealand).
Lisa has been involved in the Natural Health industry for 15 years. She draws on her professional training and experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice.
Book online to see Lisa at OOMPH.
Lisa sees clients from all over New Zealand either in person or via SKYPE.