Well Good Eats at the BBC Good Food Eat Well Show
With best intentions (and gym subscriptions) waning as New Year resolutions take a back seat, the BBC Good Food Eat Well Show offers inspiration and motivation to improve our diets and take our health and fitness a little more seriously again.
Entering the upper hall of the Olympia with more than a little trepidation (will my butter-free fears be realised? Does the healthy option always mean a compromise on flavour?), such concerns were soon abated. The vast array of stalls on the show floor were bursting at the seams with delicious, health-conscious products, from low-calorie snack packs and artisanal condiments to home-delivered grocery crates and cookware.
Amongst the more recognisable brands like Abel & Cole, Brita and Nakd, we saw a treasure trove of independent producers offering tasters and insight into their products. Olives and Honey, for example, is a brand new player in the health food market and its flavour combinations were superb (we tasted each of their wonderful honeys flavoured with thyme, orange and cinnamon). Mr Singh's Sauce may have been around since 1985 but it was another favourite at the show. Their tasters of (increasingly fiery) sauces were too good to miss, and we left happily with several jars of their Punjabi Pesto.
As for the foodie trends, we saw an interesting new range of lunch pots from Merchant Gourmet, a possible contender for the Innocent veg pots' lunchtime crown. Chia seeds appear to be making a big splash too, with customers keen to tap into their Omega-3 rich goodness as healthy snack and breakfast replacements. Food delivery and subscription services are also on the rise, with the likes of Field & Flower, Bonativo and Hello Fresh demonstrating their services and offering money-off deals for show attendees.
Naturally, we like a bit of science behind our snacks, so the Eat Well forum was the place to see the likes of Michael Mosley and Kerry Torrens espouse the virtues of maintaining a positive diet and lifestyle. The Dietitians Clinic offered private 20 minute sessions for a more in-depth discussion with specialist dietitians (very useful if you suffer from any food intolerances). In fact, anyone who suffers from gluten, wheat or dairy intolerances, has diabetes or chooses a vegan diet was well catered for by the show, with plenty of food, recipes and tips.
The big draws, of course, were showing off their culinary skills on the Healthy Kitchen stage. We saw bags of energy from Davina McCall and the brilliant Lorraine Pascale showed us that you can enjoy stunning food without the need for vast quantities of butter, sugar and fat (everything in moderation, of course!) Similarly, the Eat Well Interview Stage enabled us to get up close and personal with the experts, as Jenni Falconer and Phil Vickery joined a superb line-up of speakers.
So, with our taste-buds tantalised and our commitment to healthy eating renewed, we left the BBC Good Food Eat Well Show feeling inspired and excited about the future of truly delicious, nutritious health foods.