Saturday, 26 November 2011

Marshmallows - The Treats We Never Grow Out Of

Nutritionists and health gurus might recoil in horror at the thought of consuming a marshmallow. Despite being devoid of almost any nutritional value, marshmallows are popular among children and adults.

Marshmallows can transform a mundane cup of hot chocolate into an indulgent beverage, while no camping trip would be complete without the ritualistic toasting of marshmallows around the camp fire.

If you've ever wondered what goes into a marshmallow, how many calories they have, or if you're looking for some interesting ideas for cooking with marshmallows, read on:

Marshmallow Ingredients

Generally, marshmallows are made from the same basic ingredients. This includes sugar, glucose syrup, water, gelatin (usually beef or pork), flavouring and colouring (either natural or artificial). Some brands have other ingredients such as dextrose powder and starch (maize, corn or potato).

An example of the ingredients for vegan and vegetarian marshmallows include: Sugar, water, glucose syrup, carrageenan, cornflour, soy protein, confectioner’s sugar and flavouring.

From a nutritional view, one good point to note is that marshmallows are generally fat free.

Marshmallow Calories

Bobby's Marshmallows
As marshmallow ingredients consist predominantly of sugar and glucose syrup, you’d expect them to have loads of calories. Actually, unless you plan on eating the whole packet, they’re not that bad calorie-wise. Most marshmallows contain between 310 and 350 calories per 100g.

Since the average marshmallow is only small, around 5g, individually, they have approximately 16-20 calories each. And if you choose mini marshmallows, they’ll have half or even a quarter of this amount of calories. As a guide, each teaspoon size of marshmallow has about the same number of calories as a teaspoon of sugar which is around 16 calories.

Marshmallows in the Stores

Marshmallow treats come many different flavours, shapes, colours and sizes. There are scores of manufacturers who make them, including supermarket own brands. This means you should have no problem finding a pack as they’re widely available in many grocery stores and corner shops.

Here are a few of the brands you can find in the stores.

Princess Mini Marshmallows are fat-free, mini barrel-shaped pink and and white marshmallows. Their tiny 1.6cm height makes them perfect for floating on top of a hot drink.

160g bag
Haribo Chamallows are made with no artificial colours or flavours and you can find them in many stores which sell marshmallows. Packs contain pink and white marshmallows which have a unique soft texture - a bit stickier inside than other marshmallows.

Nutrition Information: Per 100g: 355 calories, 4.1g protein, 83.6g carbohydrates, 68.8g sugar, 0.5g fat, 0g saturates, 1.7g fibre, trace salt.

Bobby’s Marshmallows are light and fluffy, white, yellow and pink stripey marshmallows.

Nutrition Information: Per 100g: 324 calories, 4.0g protein, 77.1g carbohydrates, 0.1g fat.

Sainsbury’s Marshmallows are a mix of vanilla and raspberry flavoured marshmallows. Each marshmallow has 23 calories.

Nutrition Information: Per 100g: 335 calories, 3.4g protein, 80.0g carbohydrates, 14.6g starch, 65.4g sugar, 0.1g fat, trace saturates, 0.9g fibre, 0.48g salt.

Vegan and Vegetarian Marshmallows

In the UK, it seems that virtually all marshmallows on sale in the stores aren’t suitable for vegetarians or vegans because they contain gelatin derived from beef or pork. If you’re looking for vegan or vegetarian marshmallows, it’s generally easier to buy them online or you could even have a go at making them yourself.

A couple of good online sites to buy vegetarian and vegan marshmallows in the UK are:
  • Here you can find vegan and vegetarian marshmallows available in vanilla, strawberry and coconut as well as sweet mini vegan marshmallows.
  • In this online store you can find vegan and vegetarians marshmallows all 100% free of animal ingredients. They sell multipacks of strawberry, mini vanilla, chocolate and toasted coconut marshmallows, gift jars of marshmallows and different flavoured mini marshmallows.
If you want to have a go at making your own vegetarian marshmallows, check out veganmarshmallows.blogspot where you'll find lots of helpful information for making vegan and vegetarian marshmallows.

Making Your Own Marshmallows

Marshmallow Recipes

If you’re looking for new or alternative recipes for your marshmallows, you'll have no trouble finding something inspirational from

And for those who like to have a recipe book to hand, the following cookbooks are full of different ways you can make tasty treats with marshmallows.

Enjoy eating your marshmallows, but remember, they are nearly all sugar and they'll play havoc with your teeth and waistline if you over indulge.

© Diets and Calories 2011


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