A Festive Free From Collection by Tesco

I love find new free from products and recently Tesco has released a lot of new additions to their collection, which includes a whole range of festive products.

I’d seen a few of the products on Instagram, so head to my local Tesco to check it out.

You can find the range of new festive products in the Christmas aisle alongside the other festive foods, but in my local store, the section was signposted really clearly so you could find the products easily but that also made it easy to know which items were free from.

The products vary between being ‘gluten & wheat free’ and ‘gluten, wheat & dairy free’ so if you opt for free from products because you avoid dairy, your options in this new range may be limited as not all the products are dairy free.

Some of the items are in the usual green and purple free from packaging that Tesco usually use which suggests they may be staying in the range after Christmas, some are labelled in the same way as their standard free from range but in a festive purple box, showing their obviously limited edition and some are from their ‘Finest’ range, meaning they’re a more premium product.


The Products

My nearest ‘big Tesco’ isn’t the biggest, so this may not be all the products in the festive range, but these are all the ones I have seen.

Finest Gluten & Wheat Free Salted Caramel Pudding – £3


Free from Gluten, Wheat & Milk Chocolate Sponge Pudding – £2


Free From Gluten, Wheat, Milk & Nuts Christmas Pudding – £4


Finest Gluten & Wheat Free Cranberry & Orange Topped Christmas Pudding – £3


Free From Gluten & Wheat Cherry Sponge Pudding – £2

Free From Gluten, Wheat & Milk Spiced Pear Pies – £2

Free From Gluten, Wheat & Milk Deep Filled Mince Pies – £2


Free From Gluten & Wheat Iced Fruit Cake Slices – £2.50

Free From Gluten & Wheat Ginger Tiffin Bites – £2.50

Free from Gluten & Wheat Chocolate Orange Brownies – £2.50

Free From Gluten, Wheat & Milk Vanilla Christmas Jumper Cake Kit – £4.50


Free From Gluten, Wheat & Milk Chocolate Brownie Christmas Pudding Kit – £3.50


Free From Gluten, Wheat & Milk 3D Gingerbread Star Kit – £4

Free From Gluten, Wheat & Milk Choc Selection Box – £3.50

Finest Gluten & Wheat Free Triple Chocolate Cookies – £4


Free from Gluten & Wheat Gingerbread Stars – £1.99

Finest Gluten & Wheat Free All Butter Shortbread Selection – £4.50


There was a few blank spaces on the shelf, but if I see anymore products I’ll be sure to update this post.

Overall Thoughts

My first thought is that I think this range is a great idea as it offers so many options to people with dietary requirements, things that usually we would have to either miss out on, or find a way to make our own.

Some of the prices feel reasonable, however some are a little expensive, but that is the same with any free from products, limited edition or not.

I think they’ve chosen a great range of products and covered all the most wanted festive treats, as well as a few more unique ones.

I also love the mix of standard range products and finest products, so you have the option to treat yourself as you do when shopping the normal product ranges.

Overall, I am really impressed with this range and Tesco for designing it as I haven’t seen any other festive free from ranges like this.

If you’ve seen any other supermarkets launching their own festive ranges of free from products, let me know and I’ll check them out.

*all images were taken by me.

 

 

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Unboxing: Juvela Gluten Free Sample Box

Since having to go on a strict gluten free diet, I’ve tried to still keep as much variety in my diet as possible, but this is so hard and I’ve found I’ve become so reliant on my favourites.

I find these gluten free sample boxes from brands are a perfect way to try lots of new products without having to go out and by them all without knowing if you like them.

I’ve had one of these free sample boxes from Glutafin which was had so much in it and I was so impressed by that, and we also paid for one from Doves Farm which was again really extensive but quite expensive.

I saw this Juvela box advertised on Facebook so decided to sign up and within a week the box had arrived, which in my experience with these kinds of things, is really quick! 


What’s Inside?

I got sent the big purple box and then a smaller brown box with two fresh loaves of bread in, but between the two boxes, here’s what products I got:

  • Fibre flakes
  • Pasta
  • Crisp breads
  • Pizza bases
  • White rolls
  • Long life fibre loaf
  • Fresh fibre loaf
  • Fresh white loaf 
  • White flour mix 

You also get loads of different paperwork/booklets with it which are actually really useful, there’s some basic recipes and a really useful food diary/meal planner which I think I’m going to get use out of! 


I haven’t tried any of the products yet but I wanted to share the contents of the box with you as I opened it and then I can let you know as I go on!

Have you tried any Juvela products? 

If you’re coeliac or live on a gluten free diet for medical reasons, you can sign up for your free sample box here

How To: Get Your ‘5 A Day’ When You Don’t Like Fruit

The likelihood of anyone being able to relate to this post I assume is quite small, but this is my situation and I thought there has to be someone out there the same! 

I don’t like fruit…. I never have and don’t think I ever will. I love vegetables and eat quite a range but I never eat fruit, I just don’t like any of them! 

Because I don’t eat fruit, I think it can be quite easy to fall short on my 5 a day, so I took to the internet to try and find ways to up my Vitamin C intake and reach the recommended 5 a day, but there wasn’t a lot of help out there.

I decided to rack my brains and come up with my own top tips for using veg and other tricks to get your 5 a day.

And before I start, I wanted to share a comment I read in Cosmopolitan that made me feel far better for not being a fruit lover! 

“To reduce your sugar consumption, I recommend at least four of these “5-a-day” (although you should be aiming for closer to 10!) should be vegetables. Aim for an 80:20 ratio of vegetables to fruit.” – Naomi Mead, Nutritionist for Cosmopolitan Magazine

1. Juices and Smoothies

I don’t like smoothies either because when I say I don’t like fruit, I really don’t, but some people can manage a smoothie and it’s a great way to get some of your 5 a day in! 

When I say juices, you can go for the crazy juices filled with greens, but I go for your standard orange juice to start the day. Some say the sugar counteracts the benefis that make it ‘one of your 5 a day’, but it does count and it’s a good start to the day.

2. Snack on Raw Veg

Most people up on their fruit intake by choosing to snack on it. It’s quick and convenient and a lot of people say it will curb any sweet cravings. 

Veg can be a snack too, raw carrots and celery is a great snack, very easy and if you want to pair it with something like houmous, that makes for a more filling snack! 

3. Throw Veg in Every Dish

No matter what meal you’re making for lunch or dinner, try and find a way of throwing some veg in. 

Some dishes are easier to add veg to than others, and with some, you’ll be able to get lots of different kinds in, but even if you’re having something a bit naughty, adding peas and sweetcorn to your plate means you’ve got something.

I always add sweetcorn and broccoli to quick pastas and they make really tasty additions.

4. Baked Beans Count

If you’re a fan of beans on toast, or you like to add them to your full English, then you’re in luck because three heaped tablespoons of baked beans count as one of your 5 a day. 

They may not have all the other nutritious benefits that fruit and veg have, but if the goal is to get your 5 a day and you struggle to do it the traditional way, beans are a good start. 

Other beans count too such as kidney beans and cannelloni beans.

5. Opt for A Fruit Lolly for Dessert

Although the argument is that fruit juice contains too much sugar to be part of your 5 a day, it still counts for now and opting for fruit juice over a highly caffeinated fizzy drink is still desirable for your diet.

An easy way to get your final 5 a day after dinner is to swap the ice creams for a fresh fruit juice lolly. These are cheap and easy to make yourself and I’d recommend doing it yourself to make sure you know how much sugar is in them.

Wherever the juice cartons recommends as ‘one portion’ that contains 1 of your 5 a day which is usually 250ml, pour that into a lolly mould and freeze. 

I’m not a nutritionist and to be super honest, I’m not even very healthy, there’s lots of days I don’t make the 5 a day, but my best intentions are always there and when I’m really making an effort, these are the tips I’ll go to.

If you’ve got any top tips for boosting your intake of 5 a day foods without going for fruit, please share them in the comments! 

My Top ‘Gluten Free Friendly’ Restaurants

I’ve recently been tested for coeliacs, and my results are looking like that could be the case, and I’m looking at further testing, and although it had been a long time coming, it still took me back a few steps.

I’ve decided I want to make it one of the focuses of my blog and talk about it, because I’m always searching for blogs and channels that have a gluten free focus, and for me, I especially want to see ones that are UK based.

I was initially nervous about eating out, even though I’d already been exploring some of the gluten free menus that my local restaurants had to offer, I did have a tendency to deviate back to the normal menu if I fancied something I thought would be ok. However, I’ve braved it and tried a few more, and I wanted to share them.

Pizza Express

This is probably one of my top choices, and the restaurant I visit the most! Pizza express can make any of their classic or ‘romana’ pizzas on gluten free bases, and they’re actually really tasty!

They also do their famous dough balls in a gluten free version which means I can have a starter too, they’re also really tasty!

None of their gluten free food is anymore expensive than the classic versions, the portion sizes are just slightly smaller.

Chiquito

I loved Chiquito before I had to eat GF, so I was so glad when I found out they did a really great gluten free menu.

There is so much choice so I really never feel like I’m missing out on anything.

My usual order there was always a cheese burger, but I didn’t like bread anyway so I used to have it ‘naked’, so when I saw they actually have ‘naked burgers’ on the GF menu, I was really happy. I had the cheese burger and it was as good as I remember.

You can’t eat the chips if you have a gluten allergy here, but you can have sweet potato wedges.

Chef and Brewer

This is more of a ‘pub lunch’ recommendation, but I really like the chef and brewer chain. I am biased, as I used to work for one of their pubs, but the food is genuinely good, and they have a decent gluten free menu.

Again, no chips for the gluten intolerant, but I had a rump steak and mash as it was really nice, their mashed potato is so good!

I also really like that their brownies are gluten free!

TGI Fridays

This is another restaurant I’ve always liked, and their gluten free menu is really good!

The staff’s care and attention to me when I went in was amazing, the manager took care of my table due to me being gluten free and they were really attentive to anything I needed.

There’s plenty of choice on their GF menu, but once again I went for a cheese burger, and it was really tasty!

Big thumbs up to TGIs as well, as anyone with a gluten intolerance can have chips!

So, they’re my top 4 restaurants for gluten free eating at the moment, I’m still getting into trying all the specialised menus but I love eating out so I’ll be sure to report back if I have any new finds!

As I said, I want to share plenty of coeliac/gluten free living content, so if you have any ideas or requests of what you’d like to see, be sure to let me know and I’ll be happy to give them a go!

 

UPDATED: Best Gluten Free Foods

I did a ‘best gluten free foods’ post a while back now, to share with some of you who are on a similar eating plan to me, my favourite gluten free foods on the market.

I’m always trying new free from foods, and naturally gluten free foods, and I felt I’d found enough new favourites to justify giving those of you who are interested, an update.

Things have changed since my last post, I have now been diagnosed with what looks like confirmed coeliacs and am going through the later stages of testing to get my final confirmantion, but it is looking like I am an official coeliac sufferer.

Genius Pancakesavailable at Tesco and Sainsbury’s, pack of 6 – £2.00

Breakfast was the first meal to become a real problem when I cut wheat out, and I tried so many free from breakfast products and really didn’t enjoy any. I’d tried another brand of free from scotch pancakes and they were ok, but someone recommended I tried these and I can see why! These Genius pancakes have become a staple in my diet. They’re so light, fluffy and taste just like classic scotch pancakes. They toast really well and taste great with all different toppings. I eat these everyday now!

Tesco Finest Gluten & Wheat Free Belgian Chocolate Brownies – pack of 5 – £2.50

I LOVE BROWNIES! I mentioned some great brownies in the last post, but my favourites has changed to these. They’re quite pricey at £2.50 for 5 small brownies but these are just the best. They take so much better than any other brownie I’ve tried, both gluten free and regular. They are small but they’re quite rich so I find the size is perfect. TOP TIP: heat one brownie in the microwave for 20 seconds, it tastes like a rich chocolate pudding! Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Warbutons Free From White Sandwich Thins – available at Tesco and Sainsbury’s, pack of 4 – £2.00

I also found lunch a real challenge as I couldn’t just pick up a sandwich anywhere, so finding these sandwich thins made making myself a pack lunch so much easier. I didn’t love bread anyway, so I always uses to opt for the regular Warbutons sandwich thins, so I was so glad to see these. They’re so light and just taste like the normal ones. They freeze really well and defrost super quick. I love having them with homecooked ham or beef, it makes a really easy lunch.

Giant Rice Cakes – available at most supermarkets, prices vary

These aren’t specifically a Gluten Free food, but I’ve found having giant rice cakes or ‘snack a jacks’ in the house, has been really great for snacking. Most rice cakes naturally contain no wheat, which is why I like them as for once I can buy a normal product (at a normal price) and enjoy it without worrying! Rice cakes are also relatively low in fat and make for a healthier alternative to crisps.

Rice Noodles – available at most supermarkets, prices vary

Stir fry is a favourite in our house, and we love throwing noodles in our stir fry to beef it up. I used to avoid noodles as I assumed they were just pasta and therefore I couldn’t have them, but then I tried rice noodles which are naturally wheat free and I loved them. Again, with them being naturally wheat free they don’t have that funny ‘free from’ taste, and they’re so light and easy to digest.

Goodfella’s Gluten Free Pizza – available at Tesco, one pizza – £3.00.

I really missed pizza, so when I found that one of my old favourite pizza brands did a gluten free one, I had to try. I love the Goodfella’s margherita pizza, the base is still thin and crispy, and tastes totally normal. I added extra cheese because as with most shop bought pizzas, it with a bit light on topping. They also do a pepperoni, ham and mushroom pizza.

Pizza Hut also do a nice GF pizza if you want a takeaway!

I also wanted to mention Dove’s Farm, when we found out I’d been officially diagnosed with coeliacs, my mum ordered the starter pack from Dove’s Farm and it came with so many things for us to bake with and try and I’ve been loving everything I’ve tried so far. Their food is a lot more natural than a lot of free from food and isn’t filled with strange ingredients! I highly recommend their brown rice pasta and lemon cookies! 

I hope this post has offered a little more help if you’re newly gluten free, or just looking for some new ideas.

I’d love to do a post on my favourite naturally GF recipes, so let me know if you’d be up for that.

As always, check all your products ingredients before you try them to be extra sure they’re right for you!

I’d also love to hear your favourite GF products and recipes as I am having to make some real diet changes now! 

The Best of Gluten Free Food

Gluten Free diets have become increasingly spoken about and therefore popular, however for some people it isn’t a choice to improve health but an inconvenience they have no control over thanks to conditions such as Coeliac Disease. For health reasons I had to explore the world of Gluten Free eating for a while and soon came to realise how wide the variety of free from products really is. Although I think it’s wonderful how many supermarkets have created ‘free from’ food ranges, I still can’t believe how expensive the items are but also soon discovered that not all the Gluten Free alternatives are as nice as each other. Over about a year I tried so many varieties of different products, trying to find the best GF version and thought it would be helpful to bring all my favourite finds to you in one place.

BREAD – Marks & Spencer ‘Made Without Wheat’ Brown Bloomer (6 large slices @ £3.00)

Decent Gluten Free bread was probably the hardest find for me. After trying loaves and rolls from every supermarket around, I finally tried the ‘made without wheat’ brown bloomer from M&S. This is a pricey choice but I find I only need one slice to make a sandwich and just cut it in half to create 2 smaller slices; and the same with toast, I only need one slice so it does last longer. This is the only GF bread I’ve been able to stomach, most of them are either dry, tasteless or both, however to me this tastes along the same lines as normal bread, just without that fresh bread smell. This bread also freezes and defrosts really well so you can avoid buying it and accidentally letting it go bad.

PASTA- Tesco Free From Fusilli Pasta (500g @ £1.20)

Finding a good pasta that I could eat was really important for me as it was such a staple in my diet. I have genuinely tried every supermarket own brand GF pasta and they’re all ok but Tesco is the one I found related most to normal pasta, the texture and taste is the closest to classic pasta I’ve had. All Gluten Free pasta drains off a strange milky coloured liquid once cooked but I also found this one did that the least, and as long as you rinse it well once drained then it doesn’t have that slimey feel. However, at over double the price of Tesco’s own brand regular fusilli pasta (500g @ £0.59) it is still expensive, cheaper than some competitors however.

CAKE- Sainsbury’s Free From Chocolate Brownies (4 slices/ 2 twin packs @ £2.00)

Sourcing tasty gluten free cake was actually one of the easier jobs, a lot of GF cake is extremely moist and often has strong flavour. These Free From brownies from Sainsbury’s are so moist and have such a deep chocolate taste, they don’t taste any different to a normal brownie. They come as 2 slices in individually wrapped plastic trays, 2 packs in each box, such as the classic Mr. Kipling cakes do, making them perfect for lunch boxes or an afternoon treat. At £2.00 they are more expensive than regular cakes but home baking GF brownies is easily done using Gluten Free flour (Dove’s Farm do a good one) or pre made free from brownie mixes (Tesco and Sainsburys both do lovely ones).

BISCUTS- Gluten Free Milk Chocolate Hobnobs, available at Tesco (8 biscuits @ £2.19)

Although I had no trouble finding nice cakes I could have, I can’t say the same for biscuits. I tried various supermarket own GF biscuits and specialist free from brands offerings and none of them were right; they had a strange after taste or odd texture that took away the enjoyment of having a biscuit as they didn’t taste great. I was so excited when I found Gluten Free milk chocolate Hobnobs, made by McVities  like the originals. I loved hobnobs and was so pleased when the GF version tasted extremely similar and was pleasurable to eat unlike all the others. At £2.19 for 8 biscuits these were a real treat and not part of the weekly shop, as well as being slightly infuriating when a normal packet of chocolate hobnobs are typically around £1.50 in the same supermarket.

CHICKEN NUGGETS- Marks & Spencer ‘Made Without Wheat’ Chicken Chunks

Chicken nuggets are a real ‘go to’ quick tea for me and just a bit of a cheat food for when I want something to give me a ‘pick me up’. Not many places offer a fresh selection of ‘free from’ food however the range at M&S is amazing, they do 3 or 4 different ‘breaded’ chicken products and the ones I tried were really nice. I always favoured their breaded chicken items anyway (because of the high quality of the meat) when I wasn’t Gluten Free so was happy I could continue to get them from there when I was. I’ve tried their chicken chunks and goujons and they were both really nice, no different to the originals really. I am unsure of the individual prices but they are always on a ‘3 for £10’ deal as all the other meat/breaded chicken items are.

GRANOLA BARS- Nature’s Path Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Chip Granola Bars, available at Sainsbury’s (5 bars @ £3.00)

Cereal/granola bars are such an easy, quick breakfast or snack option and I really didn’t want to have to be without them when I couldn’t eat gluten. These granola bars from Nature’s Path are so full of taste yet somehow taste almost healthy?? Nature’s Path is an organic brand for those who sway towards that but they just use really lovely, quality ingredients and you can taste that. However, you can also tell the quality from the price, £3.00 for 5 bars is pricey but I used to just limit myself to one a day to make the box last me every work day as I could live without that sort of quick snack on a weekend. The brand also does a fruit and nut version of these bars if you want to be healthier than the chocolate ones.  They’re truly one of those wonderful Gluten Free items that just don’t taste like they’re missing something or anything like that which you normally find with free from items.

CEREAL- Dove’s Farm Chocolate Stars (375g @ £3.15) / Nestle GF Rice Pops (550g @ £2.49)

Finding a nice Gluten Free cereal is really important as you want something easy to eat in a morning as a simple breakfast option. I found 2 cereals I alternated between, they’re both more expensive than standard cereals but by this point in the post I think we’ve all established that Gluten Free food is expensive. The Dove’s Farm chocolate stars are really nice, good flavour and texture; these would also be ideal for children. Nestle also do a range of ‘Go Free’ cereals and I tried the rice pops and they tasted like normal rice krispies to me, they also do cornflakes, coco pops etc.

READY MEALS- Marks & Spencer Macaroni Cheese

I am not a massive ready meal eater but occasionally there is a requirement to get one, be that for a quick tea or an easy lunch for work. As I mentioned before, the fresh selection of food in the M&S free from range is amazing. They do so many really tasty ready meals that are full of flavour and taste just like the classics. They do a lot of pasta meals including lasagne, chicken arrabiata and spaghetti carbonara, however my favourite is the macaroni cheese. As with the other M&S products, I am unsure of their prices as they’re not online but I think they’re similar to other ready meals from the shop. The quiche and pies from the range are nice as well.

I hope this post has helped anyone starting out on a Gluten Free journey, whatever the reason for it may be. I wish I’d read something along these lines to prevent me having to spend so much money on horrible free from food. If you’d like to see any GF recipe posts or something like a ‘Gluten Free Breakfast Ideas’ post then let me know because I’d love to do that.

Thank you as always,

Ellie x