eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource
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
Here, about once a month, well check
out grocery products and let you know if theyre worth your money.
could think as I put a bite of the new Jimmy Dean Precooked Pork Sausage
Patties in my mouth was, There's another 2.5 grams of fat.
For about $2.70, you get eight four-bite
sausage patties. The big selling point is Fresh Taste. Fast! By
fast, they mean you can cook them in a microwave for 55 seconds and be scarfing
almost a third of your daily fat allowance in less time than it takes to say,
I love big butts.
Each 2-patty serving has 250 calories, 20
grams of fat (11 of them saturated, which is 53 percent of the saturated fat
allowance), 55 milligrams cholesterol, 570 milligrams sodium, 7 grams
carbohydrate (none from fiber or sugars) and 10 grams protein.
But lets take this one step further.
Who is going to have just sausage for breakfast? Most people would slap them on
a biscuit with cheese, or have them on a plate with eggs, potatoes and
Two boys spent the night at our house, so
we had four boys, plus hubby and me, to consume eight patties. Three were left
over no one wanted a full serving, and one person abstained. After one
patty I imagined I could see my cellulite bubbling up. The vision effectively
killed my appetite.
Now With More Fat!
The boxes that hold the microwavable sandwiches
from Croissant Pockets boast, Now Stuffed With More Filling. That caught the
attention of my boys, who put the Pepperoni Pizza variety of this snack on
their Top 10 List of Foods We Love That Mom Will Hardly Ever Let Us Eat!
In the interest of research, they advised me, they would be willing to risk
their health to check out this product.
So I forked over $1.88 for a box of two
pockets, and the boys raced to the microwave as soon as we got home from the
store. As I put away the rest of the groceries, I was surprised at the lack of
moans of delight.
So, how are they? I asked.
Eh, all right, the 12-year-old
said. I like the old ones better.
Yeah, said the 10-year-old.
Theres too much cheese in it. It tastes greasy.
Its good they had those opinions,
because they wont be getting those overstuffed pockets of fat again
anytime soon. A one-pocket serving has 370 calories, 19 grams of fat (7
saturated), 30 milligrams cholesterol, 690 milligrams sodium, 40 grams
carbohydrates (2 are fiber, 13 are sugars) and 9 grams protein. I fed them lots
of fruits and vegetables for supper.
Tacos are an
entrée I usually feel good about serving my family. We fill them with
extra-lean ground beef, salsa (ketchup in the case of the 10-year-old), low-fat
cheese and lettuce. Hubby and I also add chopped tomatoes, onions and light
Recently when we had an extra boy here for
a weekday lunch, we decided to have tacos. I didnt have any ground beef,
so we went to the grocery store. There we found Old El Pasos new Taco
Sauce with Seasoned Ground Beef. The product is fully cooked. You only have to
heat it for three minutes in the microwave. The cost: about $3 for 10
That means a serving is one taco. My boys
do not stop at one taco. Those three boys and I made short work of the seasoned
meat. Two of them had three each, and my younger son and I each had two.
One serving of the meat has 80 calories, 4
grams of fat, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 470 milligrams sodium (20 percent of
the daily recommended allowance), 5 grams carbohydrate (2 are sugars, zero
fiber) and 6 grams protein.
That means the boys who ate three tacos
consumed 18 percent of the daily fat allowance (24 percent of the saturated fat
allowance) and 60 percent of the sodium allowance. And thats just from
the meat -- were not figuring in the taco shells or toppings!
We wont buy this product again.
According to its
packaging, the Healthy Choice Solos Vegetable French Bread Pizza has a "NEW
RECIPE!" I checked it out for lunch.
You can either cook the pizza slice in a
microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, or in a conventional oven for half an hour. I
went for speed, but regretted it. I thought the crust was too soft -- slimy
even -- and I did not enjoy the taste of the vegetables. Id much rather
make my own French bread pizza with fresh vegetables.
In an amazing development, my 12-year-old
son loved it. This is a kid who just a few months ago would have turned his
nose up at pizza without meat. But lately he has turned into an eating machine.
After returning home from the dentist this week, he set the oven timer for an
hour... so hed know the minute he could eat again! (No, he isnt
overweight, just growing. He grew a half-inch in two days this week!)
One 6-ounce serving costs $1.50 and has 320
calories, 5 grams of fat (1.5 saturated), 10 milligrams cholesterol, 600
milligrams sodium (25 percent of the daily allowance), 50 grams carbohydrate (4
are fiber, 8 are sugars) and 18 grams protein. So, while the fat content is
reasonable, the sodium percentage could be an unhealthy choice if salt intake
isnt strictly monitored the rest of the day.
Big Doin's At Swanson
eating only a few bites of the Healthy Choice pizza, I was still hungry so I
went to the freezer and pulled out a Swansons Hungry-Man White Meat Chicken Pot
Pie with a NEW! Flaky Crust that contains over 1 lb. of food!
Oh, my aching arteries. The $2 pie, which
is 5.25 inches across, supposedly contains two servings. Give me a break. Most
people would eat the whole thing.
If a hungry man did eat the entire pot pie
he would get 900 calories (410 from fat), 48 grams fat (20 saturated, which is
98 percent of the daily allowance), 150 milligrams cholesterol (52 percent of
the daily allowance), 1,860 milligrams sodium (78 percent of the daily
allowance) 90 grams carbohydrate (6 are fiber, 18 sugars) and 30 grams
The pie can be cooked in a microwave or
conventional oven, and of course I picked the microwave. The outer edges got so
hot the gravy bubbled over before the end of the recommended cooking time, but
the middle remained icy.
I firmly believe that if a food is that
unhealthy it should at least taste like ambrosia. Thats not the case
here. The flaky crust is doughy, heavy and sodden, and the gravy is
way too salty.
And this time even the 12-year-old
wouldnt try it.
He Aint Heavy...
brother is a guy who loves food in many interesting forms. He said he likes
Frito-Lays new snack mix called Munchies. It contains Doritos Nacho Cheesier
tortilla chips, Rold Gold Classic Tiny Twists Pretzels, Harvest Cheddar
Sunchips and Cheetos.
My family likes the snack, too, but we each
have our favorite parts that we pick out. The Sunchips are going quickly,
followed closely by the Doritos. The 25-ounce bag we bought at Sams Club
for $3.59 is almost half empty and I have a feeling were soon going to be
left with a bag of pretzels.
If you follow a well-balanced snacking
procedure (if there is such a thing) by consuming equal proportions of the
healthier pretzels with the more fat-laden components, and eat only the 3/4-cup
serving size, you get 140 calories, 6 grams of fat (1 saturated), zero
cholesterol, 250 milligrams sodium, 18 grams carbohydrate (1 gram fiber, 1
sugars) and 2 grams protein. But is that a realistic serving size?
I asked my big brother if he eats a 3/4-cup
serving. Sure... he does eat 3/4, he admitted... as in 3/4 of a bag! And he
added that the snack could be improved without the pretzels.
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