The Nutty Nutella Craze

In France last week, riots broke out in supermarkets as shoppers jostled to grab jars of Nutella. The popular hazelnut spread was being offered at a 70% discount and people lined up to get some.

As evidenced by the video below, in many stores, what began as a simple outing at the grocery store deteriorated into shoving, scuffles, bruised eyes and bloodied hands. In some places, the police had to be called to end the violence.

Created by the Ferrero family in 1964, Nutella is a popular staple in many kitchens and student dorms around the world. Yes, Nutella has “spread” far and wide. Children who aren’t allergic to nuts love it. Without question, Nutella tastes good and can help you get through the day. But is it good for you? Is it really worth fighting for?

The main ingredients in Nutella are palm oil, cocoa, hazelnuts, skimmed milk powder and sugar. It sounds healthy because of the hazelnuts and milk, but a closer look says otherwise.

Though you do get some key nutrients from Nutella such as fibre, calcium and iron, most of the spread is made of sugar. In fact, it’s nearly 57% sugar and 32% fat; about a third of the fat is saturated. In addition, it’s made with palm oil, a highly controversial food when it comes to human health, the health of wildlife and the environment.

Though it’s been marketed as a nutritious hazelnut spread, Nutella has few hazelnuts in it. The graphic below was created by the Consumer Centre in Hamburg, Germany. As you can see, a jar of Nutella is mostly made up of sugar and palm oil.

This morning, I made a healthier hazelnut spread. There’s no white sugar and there’s no palm oil. I made it with ground hazelnuts, water, dates, maple syrup, 70% dark chocolate and ripe avocados. It’s simple to make. John and I spread some on our morning toast. It’s creamy, light and delicious.

My hazelnut spread on toast.

Healthy Hazelnut Spread

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup ground hazelnuts
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsps pure maple syrup
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted
  • 100 grams 70% dark chocolate, broken into small pieces.
  • 2 ripe avocados, flesh scooped out.

Procedure

In a small pot on stove top, mix and heat up the ground hazelnuts, water and maple syrup. Add the dates and chocolate. Bring to a low simmer for a few minutes, stirring constantly and banging the dates with a wooden spoon until the chocolate melts and dates dissolve. Take off heat and process directly in the pot with a handheld blender until smooth.

Put the avocado flesh in the bowl of a food processor. Add the chocolate/hazelnut mixture and process until well blended and smooth. Transfer into a container or glass jar, cover and store in fridge. Enjoy!

p.s: I am monitoring to see how long it will keep in the fridge. I will let you know soon…

p.s.s: Well, my daughter and husband finished the entire spread, so from that stand point, it keeps for 2 weeks and may also keep longer than that.

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Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

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