We’ve all enjoyed slathering our slices of bread or toast with spreads. Sadly however, not many spreads that you find in your local grocery store or supermarkets are the best for you health-wise. The recent controversy surrounding Nutella is just one such example.
Nutella, a chocolate hazelnut spread that is deliciously addictive and loved by adults and children alike has recently come under fire for its sugar content, artificial flavours and also its use of processed palm oil which is said to be carcinogenic. A Nutella jar is said to consist of 56% sugar which is a staggering amount! With the average sugar cube totaling four grams each, this means that every jar has the equivalent of a mind-boggling 57 sugar cubes. Yikes!
Another ingredient found in Nutella is palm oil. Although palm oil is slowly growing in popularity as an oil with amazing health benefits, it should be noted that you should only use unrefined and cold-pressed versions as processed and hydrogenated oils will not only have lost all their good properties, they would be detrimental to your health. (Palm oil has also had to face the wrath of environmentalists as palm oil plantations are blamed for massive deforestation – but that’s another story!)
And it’s not just Nutella that you should be wary of. When was the last time you checked the ingredients list of that jar of spread that you bought? Remember that the ingredients are listed in order of most to least, so you may be surprised that that jar of strawberry jam contains more sugar than anything else. And lets not even get started on the other stuff like artificial flavours, additives and preservatives!
But before you conjure up sad images of munching on dry toast, here’s some good news for you - you can make your own healthier and nutritious spreads!
Chocolate hazelnut butter
An alternative to Nutella is a nutritious homemade chocolate hazelnut butter recipe. Ivy Ong, a health and wellness coach shared her chocolate hazelnut-butter recipe and not only is it easy to follow, it’s also delicious and nutritious! Hazelnuts alone are packed with vitamin B, vitamin E, fibre, iron and calcium.
Time to share with you a chunky piece of information on peanut butter. Peanut butter, a popular spread in many countries, contains neither butter nor nuts (peanuts are legumes)! At one point, it was known to some people as a nutritious protein substitute for people with poor teeth and chewing problems. What makes commercial peanut butter similar to Nutella is the high fat and sugar content. Fortunately, many people have realised this and come up with some nutritious, filling and healthy alternatives. Homemade and artisanal food companies have been able to produce peanut butter with no trans-fat, cholesterol, preservatives and additives, and they taste just as good, if not better, than the regular ones. And don’t limit yourself to just peanuts, there are a lot of nut butters out there just waiting to be discovered. Try this recipe for homemade almond butter or try one of the products below.
A classic favourite found in many types of cuisine is mayonnaise. Mayonnaise found in most retails are packed with fats, sugar and are monstrously high in sodium, yet we don’t think twice about using it as a dip, or adding it to our burgers and sandwiches, or just about anything else! It should not be overlooked however that mayonnaise is a good source of Vitamin E and Omega-3 acids, which are beneficial for the heart. It has also been suggested that mayonnaise could promote radiant and soft skin when applied topically. So instead of eating the store-bought stuff, why not make your own mayonnaise or get yourself healthier versions of it?