Pams Chocolate Topped Rice Cakes - $1.99 for six cakes
I've been starting to feel like the food Grinch lately as my column has relentlessly pursued high-sugar foods.
So I set off full of goodwill to all men and my readers, determined to come back from the supermarket with something I could be nice about.
"Give the readers a week off," I said to myself. "Enough lecturing about processed foods, let's find something lovely."
And so I did. I couldn't find much wrong with these rice cakes apart from the fact that they are made in Holland, which goes against those environmentally-aware people who wish to support low food miles.
But hey, it's Saturday and I'm determined to be nice.
• Milk chocolate coating (60 per cent) - Sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, cocoa mass, emulsifier (soy lecithin, vanillin).
These ingredients are fairly standard for chocolate and good to see that rather than vegetable oil, cocoa butter has been used, which means the chocolate is of good quality and will taste nice.
My only issue would be with the use of vanillin, which shouldn't be confused with vanilla. Vanilla is a natural extract of the vanilla bean, but vanillin is most commonly a synthetic compound usually derived from wood creosote.
You can get natural vanillin but in processed foods it is more likely to be synthetic.
Sugar levels are quite low at just 5g a biscuit.
• Puffed brown rice (40 per cent) - Rice cakes are a good alternative to wheat-containing biscuits if people are avoiding gluten. In these biscuits, brown rice is more nutritious than white rice because it has only the husk removed, leaving the bran and the germ which contain proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fibre and potassium. Brown rice is also a wholegrain and therefore more filling.
• Sesame seeds - These will be in here for flavour.
• Salt - Not high in salt at 19mg a biscuit.
Rice cakes are often eaten by people wanting to watch their weight as they are low in calories and fat and fill you up at snack time. The only problem with them is that they taste rather bland, which is why so many of them come slathered in powdered flavourings such as sour cream or bacon, which ruins the whole healthy experience for me.
But, as all healthy eaters know, it's not all about savoury. Sometimes you've just got to have a bit of the sweet.
These rice cakes are 348kj, or 83 calories, a cake and taste really nice. As a quick snack for child or adult, I think they would be a very healthy choice as they are low in fat, sugar and salt and have the nutrition of brown rice. Most importantly, you won't have too much trouble encouraging your family to eat them.
• Only 348kj or 83 calories a large biscuit.
• Uses brown rice, which is more nutritious than white.
• Low in fat, sugar and salt. Even the chocolate on these rice cakes is good.
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