18 January 2018

Hospital Food - Real Wrap Co. Food Pots @NLi10

Lunchtime at the hospital has been increasingly less appealing.  First they closed the canteen so we no longer had a source of fresh wraps and a reason to bump into colleagues from other departments. Then the range of food we could get seemed to dwindle - in part due to a healthy eating policy that favoured beige sandwiches and chips as the only reliable options.  All sugary drinks were hidden, and all crisps were baked.  Naturally you could still get super calorific branded coffees and chocolate bars... We joked this did improve our health and fitness as anyone with time walked to the nearest Tesco and stocked up on the good crisps and drinks.

But - this week it all changed.  I joked with the guy in the main corridor shop about the newly expanded range still just being sandwiches (flour is one of the most obesogenic foods humans have invented - mainly because we spread stuff on it).  He smiled and pointed to the bottom shelf - which was filled with wonders and delights that would have had even Willy Wonka doing cartwheels.

Actual. Nutrients.

We've always had little fruit salads that are a little overpriced - but that's how convenience food works - they sell the real stuff for much cheaper.  We've never had seeds.  We've never had vegetable based salad pots.

Anyone who works within range of a Marks & Spencer's is probably laughing about now - they can pay £4 for two pots that outclass this in everyway (mixed grains!!) and we pay £2.20 each for the above but it's such an amazing shift that I'm still giddy with excitement.

And yes - the fruit isn't that high on the Nutrient Density Index, but it's a start.  They are slightly over-packaged too but if you wash and recycle that issue goes away.  The spinach and egg combo was great and the seeds were not dry and most importantly not contaminated with some salty flavour dust. 

The next day I went for a more 'bad' option from the same range - Southern Fried Chicken with a glass of contraband full fat Dr. Pepper. 

These were chunkier and more filling than I'd expected - and the BBQ sauce was good too.  This was 40p more and totally worth the upgrade.  Not one for the weight loss crowd, but combined with one of the healthier pots (in my case the fruit salad again) I can imagine that this ticks enough boxes to be balanced.  

My only worry about the range is that once I've progressed through everything that I'll either upgrade to having three pots (£6.60 a day adds up fast) or supplement with some of the wraps and sandwiches on offer (moderation is key).  By Tesco Club-Card points may never increase again.

The new range is one that totally took cynical old me by surprise, and that the Trust should be commended for.  Now we have choice again, the most important thing for any Public Health strategy to achieve meaningful long term behaviour change.  I'll keep an eye on how this range develops as seasons change, and see how it sells by chatting to the catering staff.

17 January 2018

Emily Fruit Crisps Crunchy Red Apple (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

Sticking with my healthy start to the year these Emily Fruit Crisps Crunchy Red Apple are an intriguing alternative snack. I've seen vegetable crisps before and some fruit crisps, but I can't recall seeing red apple crisps. It says "Crunchy Red Apple" on the front, but on shaking the bag it sounded a little bit like shaking a bag of loose Lego. However on opening there was a sweet smell of red apple and a little palm oil. The small slices of baked apple crisps were not oily to the touch though and were sweet and not overly crunchy. In fact after a couple of crunches they melted in my mouth. If ever there was a sweet pudding crisp this is it. They feel healthy when eating them because they taste of sweet red apple. They're like a crunchy baked apple pudding, without the custard, well unless you want to try them in a bowl with custard all over them… I don't know, it sounds weird, but it could probably work. Or maybe ice cream if you're feeling wicked or cold plain yoghurt if you're not. The fact is even though they seem quite high on sugar content and calories, these Emily Fruit Crisps Crunchy Red Apple certainly feel like the most healthy crisps I've ever eaten. Not to mention very tasty, but I wouldn't recommend eating them with a sandwich, with pickled onions, cheese and a cutup tomato on the side. Maybe save these fruit crisps for pudding afters…?

Information on the packet;
The 30g packet has 124 calories, with 1.2g of fat, 19.2g of sugar, and less than 0.1g of fat. The only ingredients are apple and RSPO-sustainable palm oil (no Lego).

16 January 2018

Robinson’s Fruit Creations Pear, Blackcurrant and Cherry (Sainsbury's) By @Cinabar

We drink a lot of orange or blackcurrant squash here at Foodstuff Finds. Recently I’ve been venturing into the cordials section of the supermarket and trying to find something a bit different to make a refreshing soft drink. I spotted this Robinson’s Fruit Creations Pear, Blackcurrant and Cherry drink, promising twice the fruit. I poured a decent portion into my glass and topped up with water. It looked pleasingly pink, and I gave the drink a sip.
I have to admit I was hoping for more pear in the flavour, and I thought there might be the hint of pear drops in the flavour, but the pear taste was very mild indeed. The other fruit flavours were sweet, but the blackcurrant and the cherry took over, and made a pleasant berry drink. I did like the cordial, but it was similar to a number of berry medley type of drinks I’ve had before. The real sales point for me of this drink was the idea of the pear, and I found this particular flavour a bit too subtle. The pear could have been the showstopper and not just a background taste, but not to worry it was still a nice fruity drink, and one I’ll continue to enjoy.

15 January 2018

Heat & Eat Crisps: Cheese and Chive (Fairfields Farm) By @Cinabar

So there are some new crisps out from Fairfields Farm, and these ones are hot crisps. I don’t mean an intense level of chilli, I mean temperature hot, they are Heat and Eat. This is a curious idea, but one I was happy to give a try. Looking at the pack it showed that the bag should be torn open sideways, and then they are ready to cook, and the packet becomes a makeshift bowl. Inside the bag there is also a dip which I fished out prior to heating. The bag recommends microwaving them for 30 seconds before eating, which I did and it was only then that I realised I couldn’t see any foil like covering on the inside of the pack.

I kept an eye on the crisps as they were cooking, and they came out nice and warm. We sat down to share them with the dip, I found I did rather like having the crisps heated up. It added a nice soothing level on a col Winter’s evening. As we tend to pick at crisps while watching the TV they did cool down fairly quickly, and soon went back to room temperature. I found the dip to be fantastic, it was an onion relish, and the cheese and chive crisps went with it perfectly. The cheese flavour of the crisps had a good strength and the onion relish was a treat that we scraped out as we ate. Spectre always has dip with crisps, albeit usually salad cream (really). I’m sold on the idea of these crisps, and will heat the other bag we received too, they were ready salted but with a salsa dip. Incidentally the bag does state you can just eat them cold if you want too.

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