6 Foods To Buy Or Leave on the ShelfFrom
eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource
As the places I shop get bigger and bigger -- and
the shelves and freezers get crammed with more and more new products -- I
sometimes feel like a lab rat dutifully scurrying up and down each aisle in
hopes there's an end (and maybe a piece of cheese) up ahead.
I'm here to report there is no end in sight to
the new (and sometimes "improved") products foist upon us by the food giants,
those mega-colossal companies that control the strategic shopping areas of our
I envy those shoppers who can A) make a list and
B) stick to it. They somehow ignore the colorful displays that lure us into
blind buys... much like the song of the sirens lured ancient sailors onto the
My wife cringes on those rare occasions when I
heroically proclaim, "Honey, relax... I'll do the food shopping tonight!" She
knows my list of 5 items will -- much like the Tribbles of Star Trek fame --
magically multiply until I sheepishly limp home with a vanful of overpriced,
Adding vitamin-infused sea salt to the wound: I
usually forget the most important item I was sent to fetch.
"But honey... don't blue french fries and
purple ketchup sound sooooooooo good? Besides, I saved 30 cents with my Weis
If you are anything like me, you can use a little
help steering clear of the new products that promise to make you more popular
and loved... much like the good-looking models or Waltonesque families who
smilingly feast on the foods for the slick TV and magazine ads.
It's time to put your money where the Check-Out
Chick's mouth has been. Please don't buy until Becky Billingsley and her family
have given it a try. You'll save time, money and perhaps a few weird looks you
from your loved ones who refused to indulge your fantasy of a blue french fry
dipped in purple ketchup.
Take it away Becky...
Worse Than Almost Anything
Imagine your worst school cafeteria memory. You
can relive it!
Boston Market has sunk to a new low with one of
the offerings in its new Dinner for Two! frozen meals line with
Country Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy and Corn. The thin chicken
filets have soggy breading, the corn is just plain old corn, the mashed
potatoes are bland and the gravy, well, at least the gravy helps mask the taste
of the soggy chicken.
A box with two servings costs $6.99, and each
portion has 610 calories (I am not kidding), 27g fat (7 saturated), 60mg
cholesterol, 1,970mg sodium, 70mg carbohydrates (8 fiber, 62 sugars) and 23g
Geez Louise, can you believe those numbers?
Thats 42 percent of the recommended daily allowance of fat, 82 percent of
the sodium RDA and a hefty chunk of sugar.
Old Betty Crocker tried to be sneaky about the
nutrition facts of her new Hamburger Helper Cheesy Baked Potato. A quick glance
at the table of numbers reveals 3 grams of fat per serving. Based on that some
people might toss the $1.85 mix in the shopping cart and think theyve
found a cheap and healthy entrée.
But if you look a little harder, you see that the
3 grams represents the amount of fat in the boxs contents BEFORE you add
cooked hamburger and milk. Now you tell me, why in the world would anyone care
about the fat grams in the dry mix? Do you know anyone whos going to
snack on dehydrated potatoes and seasoning powder?
The real story, which is in small print, is that
the mix makes five servings (1 serving = 1 cup) that each have 15g fat (6
saturated), 60mg cholesterol, 960mg sodium, 28g carbohydrates (4 sugars) and
My family was not thrilled with the taste of the
dish -- its basically hamburger and potato slices in gravy. Yippee....
Too Good For My Own Good
Keeblers new Fudge Shoppe Mint Crème
Clusters taste absolutely fabulous. Imagine a York Peppermint Patty with the
addition of a shortbread cookie. Mmmmmm, this makes up for having to try the
Boston Market chicken and the Hamburger Helper.
But I have to wean myself. One 3-cookie serving
has 190 calories, 11g fat (8 saturated), zero cholesterol, 75mg sodium, 23g
carbohydrates (zero fiber, 17 sugars) and 1g protein. My over-too-soon dessert
-- which costs $2.89 per box -- has 40 percent of the saturated fat RDA.
Sigh. I knew there had to be a catch.
Check The Facts
You hear about the high fat content of salad
dressings, but I was still surprised when I saw the nutrition facts for Maple
Grove Farms of Vermonts new Shiitake Mushroom with Roasted Garlic
The name sounds healthy, but a 2-tablespoon
serving has 16 grams of fat (1 saturated), 230mg sodium, 2g carbohydrates (1
sugar) and zero protein.
It does have a pleasantly zippy vinegar flavor,
but Ill be careful to use less than the recommended serving size. I have
found that mixing one tablespoon of dressing with an equal amount of water or
juice, and tossing it with two salad portions, satisfies my husband and me. If
that mixture is too thin for you, try mixing in a little dab of pepper jelly
The dressing costs $2.09 for an 8-ounce bottle
with 8 servings.
Beg To Differ
Even though one tablespoon of the new Land
O Lakes Spreadable Butter has 11 grams of fat, I was willing to overlook
that if the companys claim of being soft and easy to spread right
out of the refrigerator! is true. But it isnt.
I tested the butter, which is combined with
canola oil, on a grilled cheese sandwich. The butter scoops off with a butter
knife in thin curls, but the curls arent spreadable right out of the
An 8-ounce tub costs $1.79 and contains 16
servings (1 serving = 1 tablespoon). A serving has 100 calories, 11g fat (4.5
saturated), 20mg cholesterol, 90mg sodium and zero carbohydrates or
Small Package, Big Content
I found another mint chocolate treat, and this
one is even unhealthier than the Keebler cookies. The new Mayfield Dairy Farms
Mint Brown Cows taste fine if you like mint ice cream. But these smallish
chocolate-coated ice cream bars are definitely not worth the nutritional
A box of six 3.3-ounce (98mL) bars costs $2.23,
and each bar has 200 calories, 14g fat (10 saturated), 20mg cholesterol, 50mg
sodium, 18g carbohydrates (13 sugars) and 3g protein. Thats 52 percent of
the recommended daily allowance of saturated fat, and knowing that takes all
the pleasure out of the treat for my family.
But hey! Heres a terrific no-fat
alternative: Keeblers Fudge Shoppe Fudge Pops have, per 2-ounce (57g)
serving, 70 calories, zero fat or cholesterol, 75mg sodium, 17g carbohydrates
(zero fiber, 15 sugars) and zero protein. The frozen fudge pops cost 96 cents
for eight servings.
Becky Billingsley, a.k.a. The Check-Out Chick,
is the mother of two, a wife for 21 years and editor of Coastal Carolina
Dining magazine. 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 preparation. To find out how your local newspaper can
run a weekly version of The Check-Out,
click here and
visit the companys website.
ME & MY ATKINS
As you regular readers are by now aware, Mr. Bad
Food has been following the
Approach for the past 4 weeks. I began my journey to wellness at 224
pounds; this past Monday morning I weighed in at 208.
I may have lost just one pound this past week,
but I am ecstatic. Why? Well, because I spent part of the week away on
business. And while I pretty much stuck to my low-carb Atkins plan (I ordered a
bunless cheeseburger for dinner one night), I failed to do a lick of
Oh, I had great plans when I headed to Florida. I
was gonna find the nearest fitness center and I was gonna work up a sweat
before I hooked up with friends and had a few drinks. I didn't skip the drinks,
but I did blow off the fitness.
But I am happy to announce I am back on track
eDiets new fitness pro Raphael Calzadilla has me focused and
sore... and it hurts so good! (Yes, you can call me John Yellin' Cramp.)
A recap of my weight loss to date: Week 1, 9
pounds... Week 2, 2 pounds... Week 3, 4 pounds... Week 4, 1 pound. The best
part: I am losing weight while enjoying food. I love meat and that makes me an
ideal candidate for the
Be sure to check back next week for another
I feel compelled to comment on your Worst
Foods column, and the supercilious, sanctimonious pomposity of some of the
contributors. Particularly, I find it offensive when the comments ridicule
cherished food traditions of a family or area. Certainly Tennessee Chocolate
Mayonnaise cake is to be eaten in small doses, Sugar Cake is a rare treat,
probably created when there was little else to cook from, Peanutty Chewy
Caramel Bars were for church socials and the Sweet Pea Festival does only come
once a year. Perhaps these food critics should loosen up and enjoy the
occasional indulgence. My family, deep in the western Kentucky farmland, has a
yearly reunion at the old homeplace, with several farm wagons covered with
tablecloths and groaning under the load of Aunt Sugs Carmel Pies,
Grandmamas 3-layer Coconut Cake, everybodys country ham and
homemade biscuits, homemade pickles, gallons of lemonade and iced tea, and
every other old recipe you can think of, bacon grease flavoring the green
beans/new potatoes and all. Everybody eats until they ache, visits and spreads
out all over the lawn until they can go back for seconds of their old
favorites. Do we eat like that everyday? Certainly not, but what a glorious
feast once a year! My familys lives are richer for the experience.
P.C., transplanted to Ohio
I have to tell you your articles involving the
Atkins Approach have really inspired me. By tomorrow you will see my name
listed as a full member to eDiets. I'm 6'3" and 350 pounds and find it hard to
deal with what I call "rabbit food" for really long periods of time; and of
course fall back into old habits. At the age of 33, I'm fully aware I am
entirely too old to be this big and plan on doing something about it. I've
actually begun hitting the gym this week starting with cardio and will build
from there. Since I'm not going forward with much of the pressure I used to put
on myself, eating and exercise are feeling good.
W. Fludd, soon to be
I enjoy reading your Worst Foods column very
much! It's very informative and entertaining. One suggestion: please have more
of those worst foods stories from the readers! It's not only fun to read, but
it put things into perspective. When you read about the unhealthy things people
have seen/eaten, it makes you stop and think what you've been eating as well.
Keep up the good work!
I feel nauseated after reading all of these
horror stories. One thing I will never eat again that is available everywhere
is Sonic's chili cheese fries. I was eating it one day and had it tipped to the
side and when I saw grease run to the side i felt sick.
Boy I always get a kick out of reading the
Worst Foods stories from other eDieters. Some of the snacks sound pretty good
sometimes, but overall I think this column works like aversion therapy for me.
I can't help gagging and ughing as I read through. Keep 'em coming!
I just want to thank you for all the horror you
share with us. I read the latest a little after breakfast (a low-fat waffle
with honey) and it made my stomach churn. And to think that we eat things like
fries and baked beans like they form the primary food groups. Keep it going so
that every time we think of treating ourselves it's not at the expense of our
I have avoided reading your column because I
am highly suggestable about food indulgences I have not tried. But, I must say
none of the Hall of Shame list even tempted me. Maybe I am getting better or
possibly more serious than I thought about getting healthy. So, thank you for
the challenge and revelations.
Before your worst food concoctions were really
disgusting but this week's article has a lot of foods that sound really
delicious: chili cheese fries, hot dog with chili, cheese, Fritos and sour
cream. Yum! Please don't print the ones that actually sound good they are
making my mouth water. Stick to the pickle juice and mayonnaise on donuts kind
of disgusting stuff that will drive most people away from the fridge.
I have heard it from all my co-workers for
years! They all like to give me grief over
Atkins program. Then as they watched me slim down and feel better than I
have in years they began to wonder... is Atkins for them too? I am pleased to
report I have quite a few converts in my department. Anyway, I have found
Atkins to be the only way to keep my weight under control! I am a carb junkie
in rehab :)
LEAVE 'EM LAUGHING (we hope!)
The following was submitted by Penny O'Brien. If
you have a funny or thought-provoking article be sure to send it my way -- the
email address follows.
Let's see if I understand how the world works
If a man cuts his finger off while slicing salami
at work, he blames the restaurant.
If you smoke three packs a day for 40 years and
die of lung cancer, your family blames the tobacco company.
If your neighbor crashes into a tree while
driving home drunk, he blames the bartender.
If your grandchildren are brats without manners,
you blame television.
If your friend is shot by a deranged madman, you
blame the gun manufacturer.
And if a crazed person breaks into the cockpit
and tries to kill the pilot at 35,000 feet, and the passengers kill him
instead, the mother of the crazed deceased blames the airline.
I must have lived too long to understand the
world as it is anymore. So, if I die while my old, wrinkled butt is parked in
front of this computer, I want you to blame Bill Gates...okay?
Well, until next week, the fridge door is closed.
But if you have any questions and/or comments -- or even a tasteful joke or
Hall of Shame nominee to share -- feel free to write me, eDiets editor-in-chief
John McGran, at firstname.lastname@example.org.