I popped into town today in my lunch break. I did a couple of errands (like taking back a top which left most of my left breast exposed when I tried it on – clearly this current trend for one shoulder tops is designed for those lucky ladies who are slightly fuller of breast than me) and then I decided to pick up a snack on my way back to work. I really fancied a bag of those vegetable crisps that try to sell themselves as being healthy but in actual fact they probably contain more salt and fat than three portions of chips from the local chippy.
Conscious of time and my ever-increasing craving for the taste of these heart-attack- in-a-bag delights, I found myself pacing up and down the aisles in a health store on Silver Street at such a rate of knots that the owner shouted out to me, ‘You look like a lady on a mission, can I help you with anything?’
‘Oh, I’m just looking for a snack….’ I replied, and I was just about to ask him where I might find such unhealthy treats in a shop where the primary focus is on healthy living, when in the blink of an eye he was by my side asking me if I liked nuts, because if I did then he had just the thing for me. I told him that I was rather partial to a nut or two (and tried to smother my immature smirk by pretending to cough into my hand) and followed him to an aisle, where he presented me with…..
……The Bounce Energy Ball!
‘Now, I know this is only small,’ he teased as he held it up just out of my reach, ‘but I can eat one of these and three hours later I’m still full up – and I’m not a small man.’ He was right, he was rather large of stature but I wasn’t going to be rude and agree with him so I listened as he continued to promote the advantages of eating a lump of nuts and sticky whey over reaching for a bar of chocolate during that mid-afternoon slump in the office. He told me that cyclists very often carry them round with them to keep them energised on long bike rides (he clearly spotted my athletic prowess from the moment I marched into the shop) and that there was no need to take big bites out of it (he also clearly had some sort of telepathic insight into how I usually tackle food) but to eat it slowly throughout the afternoon.
It really did sound too good to be true and by now my shop assistant friend and I were too far down the line to part company on any other terms than with a purchase and so with a shout of, ‘I’ll take it!’, I followed him to the till and paid up. We chatted some more as he handed me my change and as I left, I don’t know what alien being temporarily invaded my mouth but before I knew it I’d blurted out, ‘Well, thanks so much for your help – small balls are obviously the way forward!’, as I gave a triumphant fist pump and left my new friend muttering something about having only just met me, while I chortled all the way back to the office.
Upon unwrapping and sampling my purchase later on in the afternoon I quickly realised why the shop assistant had advised me not to take big bites. Imagine, if you will, biting into a ball made entirely from rubber bands (come on, you must have made one in your time) and I’m sure you get the picture. But putting its visual similarities to a fat ball that you leave out for the birds, and the potential loss of front teeth to one side, it certainly lived up to the shop assistant’s earlier bold claims. I managed to chew my way through about a third of it (only stopping because I’m sure I felt a tooth move) and it kept me going until way past my usual evening meal time. I wouldn’t say it tasted delicious but it wasn’t horrific either (I’d rather eat it over a stick of celery any day) and at 207 calories per ball, well it’s certainly got less calories than a bar of chocolate.
So is there any kind of moral to this story I hear you ask? Well, I’m not suggesting for one minute that a snack like this could ever replace the satisfying taste of a deliciously, creamy chocolate bar or a bag of spicy Bombay mix when you’re feeling a bit peckish….but if it’s going to keep you full up and energised for much longer then perhaps this unusual taste and texture is worth persevering with.
Maybe, just maybe, small balls really are the way forward…….