Gift cards are great. They give me the opportunity to try things that I wouldn’t normally try, and they’re often good for buying something you want when cash is low. The only problem I have with them is that I never remember to throw them out when they are used up. Which means that every so often I run across one among my things, only to discover that it has no value left on it.
One of the cards I’ve had for quite a while is from Winners. I’ve often wondered if it had a balance, but every time I go to check I find outside of their limited Eastern Time Zone hours. So, a couple of weeks ago, I went up to the new Polo Park location(located where the ill-fated Target store was), and had it checked in-store. I told the clerk that it had either full value or nothing. Surprise, surprise, it had full value.
I figured that the card was one I had received for my birthday a couple of years ago. At the time I was looking for new shoes and didn’t find any I liked, so I just stuck the card back in my wallet and bought shoes elsewhere. Having gotten the shoes I simply forgot about the card.
After verifying the card I started looking around the store. I generally make my popcorn at home using a saucepan that makes a good sized bowl of popcorn. However, that pot has seen it’s last days, so I thought I might find a similar sized pot, or maybe even a popcorn maker. However, neither of those two things were to be found.
The pots and pans are located right by the food section of winners, and I found myself looking up and down those aisles to see it there was anything interesting. There were a lot of collections of oils, salts, and spices, along with some cookies, chocolates and other baked goods. None of these were particularly appealing to me.
Snack Foods to the Rescue
There was also a good selection of candies, chips, etc. and these definitely caught my eye. One of the things I noticed was that a lot of the snack food was advertising itself as healthy, or organic, or some such thing. Now, I’m not a big fan of so-called healthy food, preferring to operate on the basis of “everything in moderation, including moderation.”
Please Note when I refer to healthy snacks I’m referring to snacks that contain basic nutrients, protein, vitamins, etc. I’m not considering any other benefits, that may or may not be verifiable. So, if a snack claims to be able to eliminate acne, or promises me enhanced sexual prowess, I haven’t given that any consideration.
Nonetheless, if I can pick up a tasty treat that has a good selection of nutrients to go along with good flavour, I’m all in favour of that. So, the first thing I picked up was a sweet and salty popcorn that was advertised as GMO free.
American Farmer, the manufacturers of this product seem to wish to express their connection to the land by featuring former presidents of the U.S. riding old style tractors. Which is a better marketing strategy than showing most of the same presidents using slave labour to keep their wonderfully organic farms operating.
The verdict on this product is: No GMOS, and very little flavour. It was a disappointment with no noticeable saltiness or sweetness.
The next thing that caught my eye were some Mango flavoured Jasmine rice crisps. I really like this one. Unlike rice cakes or even the mini version, these are actually crispy. Plus, mango is one of my favourite fruit flavours. On the other hand you only get 10 little crisps in the package, making this snack the worst value for dollar. Also, there’s far to much packaging on this product.
Verdict: If this came in a large container with more product and less packaging it would be a regular purchase for me.
The Protes chips win the award for virtue-signalling on their packaging, but they also deliver a good bit of taste and a really crunchy sensation with the chips. One bag of these chips will actually deliver a good portion of your daily protein needs. Like all of these products the flavour is not strong, but it’s recognizably nacho.
Verdict: A good way to pick up your daily protein.
Thinking back to these chips a few days after I ate them, there is nothing about them that really sticks in my memory other than that they at least gave a nice thick crunch when I ate them.
Odds and ends
Not everything I picked up at Winners was of the healthy snack variety. I’m a big fan of salt-water taffy, and I picked up a 500g container while I was there. The container was on sale for $5.00 which means it was about 40% cheaper than the taffy they sell at the candy store at The Forks. I also bought, but didn’t photo, a bag of Dutch Licorice Cats(like licorice babies). This was my favourite product. The candies are harder than the ones you find in North America, which means you can allow each one to leisurely dissolve in your mouth extending the enjoyment of the bag.
I also discovered a small container designed to let you make homemade microwave popcorn. The first time I tried it, I gave it a little too much time and ended up with a large ball of burned popcorn in the middle of the container. I’ll have to give another try in a couple of days.
A lot of the snack are American and British. I picked up a jar of marmalade as well, but was disappointed that they didn’t have any ginger marmalade.
A Non-Winners Healthy Snack Winner
Having found some healthy snacks at Winners I figured I would keep my eyes open for other healthy snack option. Last Saturday I was in Shoppers Drug Mart and notices they had healthy snaps snacks on sales. Harvest Snacks makes a range of pulse based snacks. Mainly pea, but also black bean and lentil.
I picked up the Lentil Crisps variety. They are Tomato Basil flavoured and they really deliver on the flavour front. They also are good and crispy. On top of that they are good on the nutrition front. Most notably they really deliver on the fiber front, which most snack food doesn’t. The are also high on vitamin A, C, and contain a good level of protein as well. This is the benchmark for healthy snacks for me(although I will keep looking).