COOP’s New Vegetarian Range

posted on | updated on | by Zuri Girl

The new KARMA looks super healthy and delicious but is that really true? We chatted with dietician Sandra Mikhail to get the inside scoop on it.


Kale Curry Chips

kale-kurry-chipsKale chips have been a massive hit in the health and foodie scene for the past couple of years as a healthier alternative to potato crisps.

The Karma kale chips ingredients list includes the following: Kale 37%,water, peanuts, sugar, curry 7% (coriander, turmeric, gingerfenugreek, black pepper, cayenne pepper, spices, herbs, mustard seed), sunflower oil, table vinegar,ginger, iodised salt, thickener (E 410, E 413), natural honey flavour. 

If we had to look at the nutrition information panel (per 100g), it contains 46g of total fats of which 7g are saturated. Now that is A LOT of fat for a “healthy” snack and we wonder where the saturated fats come from since sources include animal fat, palm or coconut oil (neither of which are listed).

Sandra’s Verdict? Definitely not an ideal snack for everyday and portion control is advised!

Crunch It – Dinkel Quinoa Cracker

crunch-itThe taste is pretty good especially when dipped in either hummus or homemade guac!

In terms of ingredients, we’ve got: Wholemeal spelt flour 63%,Sesame and spelt flour 7%, extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed, puffed quinoa 3%, sea salt, yeast, barley malt extract.

That list doesn’t look too bad eh?! With regards to total fats, it provides 15g/100g yet the saturated fat profile is at 2.5g/100g, definitely a thumbs up there. The slightly high fat content is due to the healthy seeds and oils added. As for sugar, it stands at 2.5g per 100g and fibre at 9g.

Sandra’s Verdict? A good choice to stock up on in your office if you’re in need of a savoury crunch with healthy dip on the side. 

Coconut Quinoa Granola

granolaThis particular Karma product has been picked up by parents trying to find healthier alternatives for their family assuming that 1) Coconut is a miracle food 2) Quinoa and coconut are a great combination (actually, quite true).

In terms of ingredients, we’ve got: Cereals (oats, barley, 13%), raw cane sugar, coconut flakes 12%, sunflower oil, cerealcrisps/flakes (corn, rice, raw sugar, flour [wheat, rye, barley],barley malt, cocoa powder, salt), wheat flour, honey 6%,dietary fibre (FOS), coconut chips 4%, puffed quinoa 3%, sea salt

As you can see, quinoa is present in the least amount! Not that the other cereals aren’t healthy but the branding can be slightly misleading. In terms of nutritional value, it is considered high in total fat (24g), saturated fat (12g) and sugar (25g).

Sandra’s Verdict? I would consider this type of cereal a treat rather than an everyday food. They do offer a couple of other choices with a better nutritional profile but your best bet is to go with good ol’ oats and add your own mix such as puffed quinoa, puffed amaranth, chia seeds, mixed nuts and some desiccated coconut for a better, homemade alternative. 

Sandra’s Tips for Label Reading – use her checklist when shopping to ensure the package is as healthy as it promotes

– Ingredients that are listed first are present in the largest amounts.

– Per 100g, choose products that contain a maximum of 15-20g of sugar, preferably 10!

– Choose products that contain less than 5g per 100g of saturated fat and ideally, total fats should be at 10 or less per 100g.

– Aim for 5g or over of fibre per 100g

Sandra OvivaContributed by Zuri Girl Sandra Mikhail. An Australian dietitian, nutrition columnist and the founder, author of Nutrition A-Z: Simple Sound and Interactive Being a globe-trotting certified dietitian, she has extensive experience in clinical practice, nutrition consulting and health promotion, working in Australia, Dubai and Switzerland.