Bonus: why you need iodine, and what the heck is sirtfood?
I’m a Japanese food fan, and a snack queen, so when Itsu asked me if I wanted to try their range, I jumped at the chance. (It felt like I’d only just left Tokyo before I wanted to go back again!)
Health is on the top of everyone’s priorities in January, but it’s hard to turn your back on snacks and treats. When you’ve spent all your calories on healthy meals but you just fancy something crispy and savoury, these seaweed thins are ideal. They’re thin, crunchy layers of salty, umami seaweed, and not only are they perfect for keeping yourself satiated, but they’re also really good for you too! They also come in three flavours – sea salt, sweet soy and sea salt, and wasabi.
The great thing about these is that they’re packed with iodine, and lack of iodine can cause weight gain, tiredness, depression, dry skin… sound familiar? Up to 70% of young women in the UK are iodine deficient, which is a scary figure. Not only are these packed full of the iodine we’re all obviously lacking (65% of your recommended iodine dose in one pack), but they also have vitamin B12, protein and fibre. All that for under 25 calories a pack ain’t bad if you ask me. The other great thing about these, and the miso soup, is that they’re vegan – many Japanese products contain fish, as bonito stock is such a huge basic flavour there, so it’s great to find a snack that everyone can enjoy.
Itsu also have a great instant miso soup you can buy too, which tastes absolutely perfect. I love miso soup and make it all the time, but it’s a massive hassle preparing the stock and rehydrating the wakame, then blending in the miso paste while making sure it doesn’t over heat! I’d tried instant miso soup before, but honestly couldn’t get on with them – the powders just tasted gross, and the pastes had a weird metallic tang that I just couldn’t get on with. Itsu’s instant miso soup is such a fantastic product that I don’t know if I’ll bother making it any other way.
And, to make it even better, miso soup is at the cornerstone of the hot new diet trend I’ve seen cropping up everywhere – sirtfood. It looks like someone spelled something wrong, but no, it’s a thing – trust me. Sirtfood is anything containing high levels of sirtuins – proteins that regulate metabolism and cell defence, something which I’m sure we don’t need a science degree to understand the importance of. A lot of the research is still pretty new about what these do, and there are some incredible claims regarding anti-aging and the like – but considering one of the ‘new’ superfoods is packed inside a dish the notoriously healthy-eating Japanese have been consuming for centuries, I’d say you’re onto a winner with this one! Superfood you can make at your desk, with a rich and delicious taste, for under 50 calories? I’m sold!
Itsu miso soup (£2.00 for three) and seaweed thins (£1 per pack) are available at Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Whole Foods, Waitrose, Tesco, Asda, Amazon and Ocado. Find stockists here.
Itsu provided me with a sample of the snacks I reviewed – my opinions, text and photos are my own.