Another day, another supermarket… Reply

As Tom had no luck in Tesco on Sunday, and I had even less success in Waitrose on Wednesday, today was the day to try Sainsbury’s. In my opinion, the leading supermarket, at the moment, for a ‘free from’ family.

At our nearest store, they have devoted three quarters of a very large aisle to the foods and have a very wide variety. Zac squealed as we turned into the aisle and instantly spotted his favourite breakfast cereal. In fact, all of his favourites were there. The ‘fake’ cheerios, the ‘fake’ chocolate stars and a very broad range of non-kids ones too,e.g fake porridge and muesli. They also stock ‘free from’ corn flakes and rice krispies. However, I would think that ordinary corn flakes and ordinary rice krispies would be naturally free from gluten, wheat or dairy. I must check this out, because if that is the case, let’s not all spend a small fortune on the stuff, when we don’t need to!

The baked goods section was excellent with ‘free from’ versions of everything you could imagine. They even carried a lot of the ‘Hale and Hearty’ ready-made cake mixes. I have tried the pancake one and it is excellent. Both children love it. Try it with the Anthony Worrall Thompson ‘safe’ chocolate spread – also available in this aisle. However, I have also discovered a much cheaper, perfectly good non-dairy dark chocolate spread in Asda. It is amongst the ‘normal’ chocolate spreads and baking ingredients. It is Asda own brand, not expensive and very tasty. You can see why it is with the baking ingredients, as it makes a great cake topping or filling and I am happy to say is not irritating to the gut of my intolerant child. Definitely worth a try.

But as I mentioned, this particular shopping adventure was taking place in Sainsbury’s and it was the first time I had noticed the full range of ‘Hale and Hearty’ ready made cake  mixes. Zac spotted the chocolate chip cookie mix. I didn’t expect this one to be dairy free – but it was, so we bought it. Will have a crack at making this later and let you know how we get on. If it is decent, it will go on my ‘list’ of stuff worth buying when trying to find some more ‘fun snacks’ for your intolerant little one.

As well as the cake mixes this Sainsbury’s store had an excellent section of pasta, cooking ingredients and ready-made sauces. It was only the confectionery that let us down. The main reason for my visit had been the hunt for the elusive white chocolate buttons. Sadly, they were not there. There was a space on the shelf and it was still marked with the shelf label and price ticket. I wonder how long they have been missing? Sainsbury’s had been my great hope, as they were the place we have seen them the most often and the most recently! It is starting to look like they are being delisted by the supermarkets. I can feel a letter coming on!!!

The frozen section was ok. The ‘safe’ fish fingers were present and lots of other wheat free gluten free stuff but nothing else savoury for dairy free. I am happy to report the Swedish Glace vanilla ice cream was back in. Another one that has been hard to track down of late. It is so delicious. We all love it and everyone I test it on says the same. Very yum, with a much cleaner taste. You don’t get that nasty dairy coating down your throat and slightly sour after taste, just a lovely vanilla flavour. They also had the Swedish Neapolitan. In my opinion less delicious, but the children love it and it is nice for Zac to be able to eat chocolate ice cream. The Freedom Vanilla was also on the shelf. This is also very good, but the least popular with my children. A bit less like ice cream and more like sorbet. I also noticed the LactoFree range for the first time. No good to us though, as Zac is intolerant to all milk protein and not just lactose – so we won’t be testing or reviewing that one I am afraid.

So after the freezer section, all we had left to do was pay. I knew it would be hefty. It always is. Even the checkout lady noticed how it was racking up as she whizzed it all through. She asked if he was lactose intolerant, as she had noticed all the dairy free stuff. I explained he started off that way but is now ‘off’ most things. She sympathised and looked almost sorry when she gave me the eye watering total £101.07 – all squeezed into one large shopping bag and two small ones. Not all of it was for Zac but over 70% was.

As I scanned my bill I noticed the crumpets, £0.65 for the  pack of eight ‘regular’ crumpets and £1.79 for the Livewell Crumpets – pack of four!! He wanted to try crumpets today, as Sophia had one with breakfast and he was interested. I always get so excited when he shows interest in a new food, as his diet is so limited because of his condition and he has become so fussy from all the testing we have done on him.

So, I promised to buy him some crumpets and offered him one with lunch. He took one bite and told me it was ‘yukky’! That is the one of the hardest things about ‘feeding my intolerant child’ – the waste. All little ones turn their noses up at food from time to time. I think the general advice is you have to put an item of food in front of a child up to twenty times before they might try it or come to love it. Trust me, I am not about to spend £30 on fake crumpets in the coming months. This pack will go in the freezer and I may try again next week, probably when Sophia is not in school and sitting right next to him and tucking into her ‘real’ crumpets.

I know Zac is just ‘being three’ and almost all three year olds are fussy, contrary little beings, but when you have one that can’t eat most things and won’t eat the expensive replacements, you do feel just a little bit frustrated. I can’t really blame him though. I had a bite and they are a bit rough. I am not sure I could tuck into one with any great gusto. Sorry LiveWell, you are going to have to keep working on that recipe. Still a bit mushy and tasteless.

So this week, we have had three supermarket visits and spent well over £200. Easily £100 of that is on Zac’s special foods and most of them will be wasted. If only we had found those white chocolate buttons. What with all the hard earned cash we spent inside the shops and who knows how much petrol we used on the forty minute round trip to get there, my purse feels quite bruised. Time to do things differently I feel. Time to look online…

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