5 More Bad Foods and Fast
Foods to AvoidFrom
eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource
John McGan has written a series of nutrition
articles and reviews of new foods and lists bad foods, bad fast food, why fast
food is bad for you and comparisons of good food bad food. This particular
article is on grocery store convenience food that falls into the category of
With the busy lives people lead nowadays,
convenience foods are flying off grocery store shelves. But are consumers
paying too high a price in terms of money and health for quick and easy
The new Banquet Homestyle Bakes Cheesy Ham
& Hashbrowns dinner is supposed to have easy preparation for walk-away
convenience. My family would rather walk away from any dinner table where this
slop is served.
The box contains a package of shredded and
dehydrated potatoes, a can of cheddar cheese sauce with ham in it and a packet
of crumb topping. The cook puts the potatoes in a baking pan, spreads on the
sauce, mixes in 2 cups of hot water and tops it with the crumbs. It bakes for
I made this for the guys one evening before
I left for a dinner meeting. When I came home, exactly one scoop had been taken
out of the pan. I found evidence of canned soup and grilled cheese
It was pretty bad, my husband
said. See for yourself. I took a bite and had to agree. It was
salty, starchy goo. The nutrition isnt any better. One box makes about
five servings, each with 1/2 cup filling, 1/3 cup potatoes and 1 1/2 teaspoons
of crumbs. A serving has 240 calories, 11 grams of fat (3 saturated), 20
milligrams cholesterol, 990 milligrams sodium (41 percent of the daily
allowance), 31 grams carbohydrate (3 fiber, 2 sugars) and 6 grams protein.
The only thing this meal has going for it
is that its cheap. The suggested retail price at Wal-Mart was $3.38, but
I bought it on sale for $1.50. At least I didnt waste a lot of money.
Nasty Little Elves
Oh sure, those Keebler Elves may look cute
and helpful, but thats the front for their covert operation of seducing
consumers into eating high-fat treats such as their new Vienna Fingers Mint
The "Thins" remind me of Pepperidge Farm
Milanos, except the Keebler varietys cookie crust isnt as delicate
and melt-in-the-mouth, and instead of a sandwich its cookie on one side
and chocolate on the other. That means they could be a chocolate mess if eaten
out in the summer heat, or if placed in the hands of small children.
A package costs about $2.50 and contains
about 48 cookies. A four-cookie serving has 160 calories, 7 grams of fat (3.5
saturated), zero cholesterol, 115 milligrams sodium, 22 grams carbohydrate
(less than 1 fiber, 10 sugars) and 1 gram protein. Our familys opinion is
theyre not good enough to justify eating that much fat.
I noticed a package of brown spaghetti on
the pasta shelves and checked it out. Its made by Creamette, and the
package boasts that its made exclusively from 100 percent Semolina
from Hard Amber Durum Wheat, the best wheat available. It also says it is
a low fat, sodium free, cholesterol free food.
Great, but would my kids like it?
I decided to do a taste test. That night
for dinner I served the brown spaghetti beside ordinary store brand white
spaghetti. Both boys preferred the white spaghetti. I also liked the white
spaghetti better than the brown. The brown was chewier and had an unpleasant
earthy taste. My husband was so tired and hungry he didnt even notice
there were two different piles of pasta on his plate.
The nutrition information is surprising. I
paid $1.29 for the 1-pound box of brown spaghetti with eight 2-ounce servings.
Each serving has 210 calories, zero fat, cholesterol or sodium, 42 grams
carbohydrate (2 fiber, 2 sugars) and 7 grams protein. The 3-pound box of store
brand white spaghetti cost 89 cents. Each box has 24 2-ounce servings, and each
serving has 210 calories, 1 gram of fat, zero cholesterol or sodium, 41 grams
carbohydrate (2 fiber, 2 sugars) and 7 grams protein. And guess what it says on
the package of white spaghetti? Its also made with 100 percent durum
Durum, according to Wellness Foods A to
Z by Sheldon Margen, M.D. and the editors of the UC Berkeley Wellness
Letter, is "...a hard spring wheat with a high protein content and golden
color." So, although the more expensive pasta is brown, it has almost the same
nutritional value as the generic variety. The store brand is also about four
times less expensive, and my family liked it better.
The Swansons line of Hungry-Man
entrees makes my job so easy. Its hard to believe people would eat these
regularly. Several new Hungry-Man dishes even boast about having 1 lb. Of
Food. It is nothing to brag about. (To read what John McGran recently
said about Swanson's even bigger XXL servings click
I bought a box containing two Hearty Hero
Cheeseburger Sandwiches for $4.69. Each sandwich is one serving, and consists
of two Charbroiled Beef Patties with American Cheese on Oven Baked
Bread. The sandwich is easy to prepare in the microwave, but tastes like
soy burger. I looked at the ingredient list and, sure enough, the patties
contain soy protein concentrate.
The nutrition information is disgusting.
Each sandwich has 730 calories, 43 grams of fat (17 saturated), 80 milligrams
cholesterol, 1,450 grams sodium, 56 grams carbohydrate (4 fiber, 10 sugars) and
29 grams protein. Thats 87 percent of the daily saturated fat allowance!
And 61 percent of the sodium allowance! So, the sandwich doesnt taste
that great and gives you almost your whole days supply of saturated fat
and salt. Its a loser in any healthy diet.
No wonder the guy on the box doesnt
have his shirt tucked in. He must be hiding his belly.
A reader asked me to check out Kraft
Macaroni & Cheese Dinners, both the original flavor and the new Premium
Thick n Creamy version with 40 percent more cheese than Kraft Original. The
Thick 'n Creamy style does taste creamier than the original kind, and has about
the same nutrition information. But they're both unhealthy.
I paid 99 cents for the creamy style, and
89 cents for the original. Each of them makes about three 1-cup servings.
Here's how they compare: The original version, per prepared serving, has 410
calories, 18.5 grams of fat (6 saturated), 10 milligrams cholesterol, 750
milligrams sodium, 48 grams carbohydrate (1 fiber, 7 sugars) and 11 grams
protein. The creamy style, per prepared serving, has 410 calories, 18.5 grams
fat (5 saturated), 15 milligrams cholesterol, 780 milligrams sodium, 50 grams
carbohydrate (2 fiber, 9 sugars) and 11 grams protein.
Both are right around 30 percent of the
daily allowances for fat and sodium. And that's if you eat only one cup.
Another reader, a 16 year-old female, asked
for healthy breakfast suggestions. I told her what I learned last year from
nutritionists and dietitians when I wrote an article about breakfast. It
doesnt matter if the breakfast is cold or hot, they said. And while low
fat foods are better choices than those high in fat or with lots of sugars,
its even more important that people just eat something in the mornings,
to give them energy, brain power and to get their metabolisms off to
With that in mind, Ill tell you about
two new breakfast products my family tried.
The boys liked Kelloggs Pop-Tarts
Frosted Double Chocolate Snak-Stix. We paid $1.75 for a box with six 1-pastry
servings. Each serving has 200 calories, 5 grams of fat (1.5 saturated), zero
cholesterol, 240 milligrams sodium, 37 grams carbohydrate (less than 1 fiber,
20 sugars) and 3 grams protein.
Is this the best choice for breakfast? No.
Is it better than nothing? Yes. Do I let the boys have this every day? No, of
A better choice is Dannons new Light
n Fit Creamy nonfat yogurt. This stuff tastes wonderful. Hubby and I
polished off a package of four servings (2 each of peach and strawberry), that
cost $1.78, in two days. Each 4-ounce serving has 60 calories, zero fat, 5
milligrams cholesterol, 80 to 85 milligrams sodium, 11 grams carbohydrate (6
sugars) and 6 grams protein. It also has from 6 to 15 percent of the daily
allowances of potassium, calcium, riboflavin, Vitamin B12 and phosphorus.
Becky Billingsley, a.k.a. The Check-Out
Chick, is the mother of two, a wife for 20 years and a food writer. Like most
busy moms, she often relies on convenience foods to get meals on the table in a
hurry. She worries about whether these items provide proper nutrition and if
she sacrifices too much of her grocery budget in exchange for ease of
LEAVE 'EM LAUGHING
The following joke was sent in by Allie. It
barely passes the good taste test, but what the heck... I hope you like it
What is the difference between roast beef
and pea soup?
Anyone can roast beef...
OK, quickly moving along... reader Elora
submitted this knee-slapper:
A man is concerned that his wife is losing
her hearing so he asks his doctor for advice. He jots down the advice and heads
for home where he finds his wife cooking in the kitchen. After re-reading the
doc's advice, he stands 10 feet behind his hard-at-work wife and asks, "Honey,
what's for dinner?" There's no reply. He moves to 8 feet behind her and asks
again, "Honey, what's for dinner?" Still no reply. He moves 5 feet behind her
and again asks, "Honey, what's for dinner?" And STILL no reply. So he steps
right behind her and asks, "Honey, what's for dinner?" In a flash his wife
turns around, smacks him on the head with a big wooden spoon and shouts, "FOR
THE FOURTH TIME... WE'RE HAVING CHICKEN!!!"
ETC., ETC., ETC.