For a long time, I was that person awkwardly standing in the middle of a supermarket aisle staring at the myriad of cereals wondering which was right for me. But the reality is the Nutrition Facts label on the back of each box provides me with all the information I need to choose the cereal that best fits my diet. I have found that many of my clients choose one section of the food label such as calories or total fat, and they base their food choices off that number. But it’s important to understand the whole label and realize that it’s a wonderful tool you can use to investigate exactly what each product contains and which product is the best choice. Remember, real, whole foods like fruits and vegetables are always the best bet. But when it comes to convenience foods, the food label and especially the ingredient list is the perfect guide to help you make better choices.
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While the allure of healthy prepared meals fresh out of a box may be tempting, are these frozen diet foods actually good for you?
Frozen diet meals like Lean Cuisine, Weight Watchers and Healthy Choice offer a wide range of options – you can find everything from breakfast sandwiches to pizza to Chinese noodle dishes. Those in favor of these packaged meals are all about the ease of use.
Top 5 Pros
• Portion controlled
• Ready in minutes
• A wide variety to choose from
• Easy to transport and store at work
• No cooking skills required
Seek and You’ll Find
After asking our Facebook fans their favorite brands, we sought out to add them to our taste test. However, finding popular brands was not as easy as we originally thought—and we learned that wraps are found in MANY locations throughout the market. When looking for wraps, check the deli counter, commercial bread aisle and the Mexican food aisle. If that doesn’t work, ask the store manager. At one supermarket, they stored some wraps next to the raw meat (that just screams food safety issue to me).
Not all foods at the deli are created equal. Check out some healthier and safer options to order up next time you’re at the counter.
Be In The Know
Not all deli “meats” are straight from the cow (so to speak). Here’s the breakdown on where all the deli goodies come from.
- Whole cuts: A part of the meat or poultry is cooked and sometimes flavored with spices, sugar or salt. It’s then sliced and sold by the pound. These cuts tend to be pricier.
- Sections and formed meat products: Parts of meats or poultry are “glued” together to create a single, larger piece (like cooked ham). These are typically cheaper than whole cuts.
- Processed meat (or sausages): These include liverwurst, bologna, knockwurst, salami and other such products. The meat can come from pork, poultry, beef, mutton and veal. Byproducts like heart, kidney, liver, lips and pork stomach are often tossed into the mix.
Our Healthy Eats readers had lots to say about the mayo debate, where we discussed whether or not this condiment is healthy. But with so many varieties of mayo to choose from, taste was a concern too. Taste testing 5 jars of mayo is no easy feat, but someone had to do it.
It’s All About Portions
It’s okay to eat mayo! Just don’t eat it by the cupful or you’ll be downing 1440 calories and 160 grams fat. If you want to use the real deal — full fat mayonnaise, then be sure to keep portions in check at 1 to 2 tablespoons per serving. One tablespoon of mayonnaise contains 103 calories, 12 grams fat, and 2 grams saturated fat.
We all buy food somewhere – from the grocery store, farmers’ market, membership clubs or specialty markets. These places must all follow food safety practices to keep food safe. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. Keep your eyes peeled for some of these frequent “ick” factors wherever you shop.
All establishments that sell food must adhere to food safety guidelines. They get inspected just like restaurants. During your next trip to the market, take a few minutes to visually inspect the premises yourself. Here are few things to take notice of:
- Do the floors look clean?
- Are spills being cleaned up immediately?
- Is the canned food dusty?
- Do the deli and other service counters appear clean?
- Is the stock well organized?
- Is food displayed within its expiration date?
- Does the produce look fresh?
- Are there signs of pests like mouse droppings or roaches?
A recent study finds that Americans aren’t willing to put their money where their mouth is for healthier restaurant options. Are some foods worth the extra cash?
Footing the Bill
A study published in June finds that a large chunk of Americans aren’t willing to pay more for healthy foods at restaurants. The New York based marketing research firm that published the report found that approximately 70 percent of consumers over age 50 don’t expect to pay a higher price for more health-conscious menu items. The study also points out a decrease since 2007 in overall interest in seeking out healthier fare.
There seems to be a bit more hope for younger folks (ages 18 to 24) — only 44 percent said they wouldn’t be willing to cough up more money.
Researchers recommend that restaurants increase efforts to offer healthy fare at comparable price points to other menu choices to keep customers coming back. My suggestion: restaurants could downsize large portions to help adjust costs. Read more
One of the best ways to beat the heat is with a frozen treat. But are all frozen fruit bars created equal? Or do they really even contain fruit? Not always — see what we discovered.
Oatmeal is the latest healthy food to hit fast food joints around the nation. But how healthy (and tasty) are these fast food versions? We tested some of the most popular offerings to see how they stacked up.