Remember in the 1980s when school break was a bag of Wotzits? Not the fancy organic, rolled oat, oven toasted baked ones of 2018, I mean the good, intense corn-snack 1987 ones, doused in pure E numbers. Nuclear orange, almost glowing. You’d be bouncing round the playground.
Well, maybe not, maybe that’s the haze of time and nostalgia, maybe E numbers weren’t that bad, but they are all gone now, and Jamie Oliver chased off the last remaining chicken nuggets, chocolate biscuits, crisps like he’s St. Patrick chasing the snakes out of Ireland.
I’m in danger of turning into a lecture on my thoughts on the Nanny State, so instead, shall we turn to the positive?
I first tried the Candy Floss grapes when I was down in Dublin with the M&S Team at the beginning at the summer. You know me, I am a sucker for a novelty, especially when it comes to food, so one food that is supposed to taste like another is right up my street.
The unusual grape is a result of crossing thousands of varieties until the perfect flavour of fruit is found. I’m sure you are sceptical and like me think, yeah I’m sure it tastes sugary, but not exactly like Candy Floss. BUT IT TASTES EXACTLY LIKE CANDY FLOSS.
The grapes are grown in Spain and right now, in September, they are in season, so even if you aren’t picking them up for packed lunch boxes or breaks, they are worth a try.
Punnets are pricy at £3 each, BUT, you will want to buy two because, M&S also have other unusual varieties of grape in store, also from Spanish climes.
I picked up the Tutti Frutti variety, but there’s also Mango Flavoured grapes, Strawberry Flavoured grapes, and Muscat Flavoured grapes. The 2 for £4 offer also extends over other fruit in the department, so you don’t have to choose two grape punnets, but it’s hard to resist trying the exotic flavours. (Just a note, the Bangor Bloomfield Store didn’t have Strawberry grapes today, I’m not sure if they are out of season now, but I’ve seen them the past few weeks so it may just be my Store was sold out today).
Candy Floss or Strawberry flavour grapes will go down really well for a break time snack, it’s like something Willy Wonka himself could have invented if Jamie Oliver started sugar-taxing his factory too heavily. (You can tell Jamie Oliver is the villain of this piece, can’t you)
Also in the fruit and veg department I found this very handy apple snack pack (above) for £1.50 Why handy? Well how many times do you empty a lunch box and there’s 3/4 of an apple in there? These apples are a better size for a child to eat, plus they won’t take up a whole lunch box. £1.50 for a week’s supply of apples is decent too.
Not every kid loves them, but they are school compliant - raisin £1.50 for 10 boxes. My son loved them when he was little but grew out of them. I think that happens with a lot of kids!
My son’s school prefers if you don’t send in crisps, but popcorn is a good alternative. It’s lighter and healthier, lower in fat and often lower in calories, although that’s really only something us adults should be worrying about.
M&S do several different multipacks of popcorn. All have six bags for £2. The one I picked up has 2 bags each of Sweet, Salt, and Sweet & Salty mix.
Remember when buying things like popcorn to check for nut allergy content, as sometimes fancy popcorn can have pecan or peanut if the variety has chocolate added.
Pancakes are super break filler-uppers if you have a child who either doesn’t eat much before school, so ends up hungry around 10am, or if your kid is just a big eater anyway, going through a growth spurt and is starving all the time!
They are something you don’t automatically think of for break, but my son’s school always suggest it on the healthy break note at the start of term and remind me, so I’m stealing their idea totally. Plain pancakes can be a bit of a bore, so why not make break a bit more interesting for them by sending them a fancy M&S one?
There are Blueberry Pancakes, Raisin and Syrup Pancakes, Mandarin Orange Pancakes and Belgian Chocolate Pancakes. All packes are £2 or under.
Lastly, these Breakfast Biscuits come in packs of 6 with 2 biscuits in each for £2. Although they are suited to before school, I thought they would also be great for popping in a school bag for break for an older child say maybe from P5 and up, definitely for secondary school kids, for keeping their energy and brain power up through the morning.