Rating Game - 6 New Foods
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Boxed Coronary Disease
The Swanson Hungry Man line of meals has
outdone itself. The company now offers a boxed coronary. Actually they call it
an All Day Breakfast with scrambled eggs, pancakes, hash browns, sausage and
bacon. This more than pound of food, which is one serving, may be had for
are just not going to believe these nutritional numbers: 1,030 calories, 64g
fat (21 saturated), 690mg cholesterol, 2,090mg sodium, 78g carbohydrates (4
fiber, 22 sugars) and 36g protein. That represents 104 percent of the
recommended daily allowance of saturated fat, 231 percent of the cholesterol
and 87 percent of the sodium.
I thrust myself into danger for you and
tasted the meal (and thats all I did -- no way would I eat all that in
one sitting!), and can honestly say it tastes like a word that rhymes with rap,
only it has a c at the beginning. I cant think of any
justifiable reason to buy this.
First Ragu had a meaty new spaghetti sauce,
and now Prego has followed suit with its new Hearty Meat sauce. We paid $2.99
for a 27.5-ounce (780g) jar of the Meatball Parmesan flavor that is supposed to
contain six servings, with one serving equal to a half-cup.
Now think about that. Half a cup of sauce
with meatballs for an entree. That just doesnt cut it for my growing
boys; one jar was just enough for the two of them. That half-cup serving has
160 calories, 8g fat (3 saturated), 10mg cholesterol, 690mg sodium, 16g
carbohydrates (2 fiber, 10 sugars) and 7g protein. So, the realistic portion
size would triple those numbers, which equals 45 percent of the recommended
daily allowance of saturated fat and 87 percent of the sodium RDA.
On top of that, the boys did not enjoy the
sauce. Its too sweet, they said. I gave it a taste and had to agree. And
the tiny meatballs remind us of the mushy meatballs in Spaghettios.
Nope, we wont buy this again.
Pasta No Time!
Kraft has a new flavor in the Its
Pasta Anytime line: Fettuccine with Classic Alfredo Sauce. I paid $1.99 for the
microwavable dish that contains one 11.5-ounce (325g) serving.
The pasta was simple to prepare by mixing
the pack of soft pasta with the sauce and nuking it for two minutes, but it
tastes terrible. Its too salty for one thing, and the sauce has a sticky
quality thats unpleasant.
The nutrition facts are also abysmal: 570
calories, 22g fat (8 saturated), 50mg cholesterol, 1,820mg sodium (76 percent
of the RDA), 73g carbohydrates (4 fiber, 8 sugars) and 21g protein.
This sounds delicious (but its not)
and blatantly unhealthy (which it is): Stuffed Antipasto Bread from the
Bran-Zan Companys Chef M.J. Brando line. Its a loaf of Italian
bread stuffed with provolone cheese, pepperoni, Italian sausage, green bell
peppers, onions and mushrooms.
You pay about $5 for a dense 22-ounce
(626g) loaf with four servings. A serving has 440 calories, 21g fat (9
saturated), 40mg cholesterol, 840mg sodium, 44g carbohydrates (2 fiber, zero
sugar) and 18g protein.
There is a photo of Chef Brando on the back
of the box, with comments from him that advise, Perfect as an appetizer,
snack or as a light meal
Whew, if you had this as an appetizer, then
the rest of the meal had better be raw fruit and veggies. Its dense, sits
heavily in your stomach and tastes greasy.
It makes me sad to think about a parent
paying $5.99 for a box of six Jimmy Dean Sausage, Egg and Cheese Croissants and
serving them regularly to family members. A few weeks of this breakfast and
your family might start to resemble a whale pod.
Each 128-gram (4.5 ounces) sandwich has 430
calories, 31g fat (9 saturated), 120mg cholesterol, 820mg sodium, 23g
carbohydrates (1 fiber, 5 sugars) and 13g protein.
The only positive thing I can say about
these sandwiches is they are quickly heated in a minute in the microwave. But a
low-fat breakfast bar is ready even faster.
My husband took a box to work to share, and
his co-workers said they enjoyed the sandwiches until they learned how many fat
and calories they have. Now theyre going to be suspicious of any food I
send in for them to try.
Many people are under the impression that
any margarine is marginally healthy, but the new Country Crock Whipped Easy
Squeeze is a case for disproving that.
A serving is one tablespoon, which has 60
calories, 7g fat (1 saturated), zero cholesterol, 85mg sodium, zero
carbohydrates and zero protein.
So just think: If youre having a
grilled cheese sandwich, which is already loaded with fat if youre using
regular-strength cheese, youre heaping an extra helping of fat on the
bread to toast it.
You have to shake this product well before
squeezing it out of the bottle because the soybean oil in it separates from the
whey. It tastes oily.
A 10-ounce (283g) bottle with 24 servings
costs 99 cents.
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.
The Comfort Zone
As promised, here are a dozen or so email
delights from Mr. Bad Food's dieting friends. If you have a favorite comfort
food -- something that won't sink your diet resolve -- please tell me about it.
My address is at the end of today's column.
I love to read your column. I am on
Atkins also. When I want ice cream (cause like Mr. Bad Food I also have things
that I loved to eat) I take diet root beer and add to it a few ounces of heavy
cream. It tastes just like melted ice cream and diet root beer. Yum... yum,
it's a mock root beer float! Keep up the good job. I have lost a lot!
When you mentioned pepperoni, another treat
came to mind: venison "slim jims" and venison soft jerky. From your area of PA
(big buck country) you should have access to some of that from hunting friends
or at a local meat market. Not only is it tasty, but deer meat is also
decidedly low cal. Also, those of us who tend to be chocoholics like the new
sugar-free Hershey's mini bars. They taste great and have much lower carbs than
the full strength ones.
Okay, here goes (not necessarily in
order of favorites):
1. LeCarb ice cream (all flavors, but especially
cinnamon)! This stuff is, in my opinion, richer and tastier than regular ice
creams. It is sweetened with Splenda, and you can find it at Wal-Mart and many
other chain groceries. Unbelievably good!
2. REAL mayo! Thank God for real
mayo! I'll never eat that disgusting fat-free stuff again!
3. Carb Wise low
carb bars (all flavors... my fave is lemon). These have between 2 and 4 net
carbs per bar, they are crunchy in texture (much like the old "Whatchamacallit"
candy bars), and they are bigger than the Atkins or other bars, so you get more
bang for your buck.
4. Diet Hansen's Sodas. I just discovered these in the
"specialty" section of a local grocery store. They are DELICIOUS!! They are
sweetened with Splenda and have no caffeine.
5. Atkins Baking Mix. Not too
wild about this for general baking, but this makes an EXCELLENT breading for
fried chicken or steaks or whatever you want to bread.
6. Pork rinds. Talk
about a versatile product! You can eat them right out of the bag, top them with
shredded cheese, etc, for super nachos, drizzle melted butter (unsalted is
best), cinnamon and Splenda on them for cinnamon "crispas" that rival Taco
Bell's. You can even grind them up for use as another excellent (and cheaper)
breading. Friends have told me the kind you warm up in the microwave are the
best and freshest.
7. Tuna. Kinda falls under your "seafood" or "meats"
categories, but it stands alone in its simplicity and cost. Nothing makes for a
cheaper or quicker lunch for busy working folks than a can of tuna, some real
mayo and shredded cheese... YUM!
8. The Good Value sugar-free hard candies
at Wal-Mart. Cheap, sweet, zero net carbs... what more could you ask for?
9. I'm with you 100% on the Diet A&W and Diet Dr. Pepper! Now, if we could
collectively storm the headquarters of both of these products and (politely)
demand that they begin sweetening them with Splenda, it would be a perfect
10. Baja Bob's drink mixers. Absolutely delicious! Finally,
something for the low carbers that will allow them to say "yes" to party
favorites, like strawberry daiquiris, pina coladas, whiskey sours and
margaritas. You can be really good and make the virgin versions, or you can
even add the alcohol, if you are to that phase in Atkins. You can order these
online at the Atkins website or several other low carb distributors.
I enjoy jalapenos with cheese, Swiss of
course. I also like to occasionally use firm tofu in place of the cheese.
My faves include: JELL-O Sugar-Free
gelatin (peach & watermelon) with a dollop of Reddi Wip. An absolute staple
in my fridge... and there's always Reddi Wip, straight up... chocolate Reddi
Wip, also straight up (sounds gross, but it is awesome -- the best 15 calories
you'll ever have)... Frigo Light mozzarella string cheese sticks... Mt. Olive
sugar-free Sweet gherkins and bread & butter pickles... Russell Stover
sugar-free solid dark chocolate... and an EAS chocolate shake!
Katherine Tate, MPH, RD, LDN
The Saucy Dietitian
Just wanted to drop you a line and let you
know that you are a wonderful inspiration and a diet comedian. So many people
are depressed and dieting -- you give all of us a good shot-in-the-arm dose of
reality and fun. I loved the beer article, especially. Yes, there are women who
are just as bad as Mr. Bad Food is about beer. I do miss the copious quantities
at times, but knowing that I can still have a Michelob Ultra is a good thing.
Thanks for the 411 on the vodka too. Now I can have a cocktail and not feel as
if I'm undoing everything. I like it with diet Squirt and lemon. Keep up the
good work. You give humor and inspiration to all.
I love the following: butterscotch
disks, radishes, scallions, lettuce, steak, and lots of fish and chicken
A&W diet root beer with a splash of
cream tastes like a root beer float. Same with orange slice for a taste change.
My favorite snack is a cup of decaf coffee and 2 slices of Vermont Cabot
Seriously Sharp Cheddar.
I honestly don't know what I would do
without the creamy comfort of Healthy Choice Mint Choco Chip Low-Fat Ice Cream.
I look forward to it all day long. (Sounds sick doesn't it?) Grab yourself a
half of a cup and tell me you do not feel completely satisfied. Bet you
Russell Stover has this awesome sugar-free
mint patty that hits the spot when you get that sugar/chocolate craving.
Serving size is 3 pieces for only 1 carb (27 total carbs minus 25 for sugar
alcohols and another 1 for fiber). Can you believe that?! They taste just like
the real thing and really suppress my sweet tooth.
Edy's Triple Chocolate Ice Cream, No
Sugar Added: only THREE sugar carbs per serving. I think Atkins has four. Also,
a tuna melt made with two to three cans of tuna (I mix it with mayonnaise),
lots of cheese on top and maybe even bacon if you're feeling dangerous. Pop it
in the microwave until cheese is melted. Just eat it out of the bowl with a
1. Diet Cherry Coke, Diet Sierra Mist, Diet
Code Red and Diet Dr. Pepper. Those are my favorite diet sodas to drink. Some
places do not carry some of them, so you have to shop around. Anyways, these
choices give you a break on the whole Diet Pepsi and Diet Coke theme.
am all about the new sugar-free chocolates from Hershey's. They are great and
they use different names for sugar alcohol, but once you get your final count
on the candy, then you will see that you can have four or five pieces of
chocolate for like 1 or 2 carbs per serving.
3. There is one particular
brand of cookies that you can have on this diet -- they are Murray Sugar Free
Vanilla Wafers (like the ones that people put in that banana pudding dish).
Once you figure your count out, you can have 9 cookies for like 11 carbs. And
if you are like me, then you will only have like 4, and have around 5 carbs
instead of the whole amount. I make my own whipped cream with heavy cream &
a teaspoon of Splenda. Add some sliced strawberries and dip the cookies in them
or layer them and put in fridge!
4. Scooby Doo Crackers! Yes I know they
seem childish to this adult diet. But if you have a craving for crackers, then
this will help without killing your diet: 49 crackers equals 18 carbs. If you
divide them in half then, well you get the idea.
5. Munch'ems crackers are
the same carb count but you get fewer crackers. But they are a little bigger
and they are easy to dip into cream cheese, especially the chive and onions
6. My favorite munchie food: Herr's buttered popcorn! The lowest that
I have found, once you subtract your dietary fiber amount. The popcorn amounts
to 8 carbs per serving, which is 3 cups. Can't beat it!
Those are the ones
that I can think of right now. I have been doing low carbs on and off since
June, stopped July 4th, and went back in August. My total pounds lost is 25.
Here is a desert that has saved me from
my sweet cravings:
1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 8 oz. pkg. of cream cheese
2 small pkg. sugar-free JELL-O (any
Boil 2 cups water, add JELL-O and stir until dissolved. Mix
whipping cream and cream cheese. Mix in JELL-O still in liquid form. Let set in
I love the pepperoni, cheese and sunflower
seeds like you do. But the one thing about Atkins is the lack of "crunch" in
your meals. So get this -- pork rinds are totally carb-free! I know it is an
acquired taste, but they have that satisfying crunch! Also, Slim-Jims and beef
jerky are favorite gas station snacks. Another low-carb alternative: take a
sliver of feta cheese, dress in olive oil, sprinkle with oregano, and bake in
the oven. When you put it on low-carb bread, it is fantastic!
Heavy whipping cream, sweetened with
Splenda and a little dry cocoa. Whipped and chilled is yummy... less than one
carb per serving!
Since being on Atkins, I have longed for
the crunchiness of crackers. I have learned how to take any type of cheese
(cheddar, provolone, etc), place small chunks on a microwave plate, cover with
parchment paper (some type of cover that won't stick to cheese), place in
microwave and cook on high for 1 to 2 minutes (depending on microwave power).
When the cheese turns all bubbly and starts to turn a slight brown, remove
plate from microwave and remove "fried cheese" from plate with a fork and place
on paper towel. Let cool for about 5 minutes, break into cracker-sized pieces,
and enjoy with fresh salsa, guacamole, sour cream etc. Keep them layered
between paper towels. If you put in plastic bag or container, they will become
chewy and lose their "crispness." ENJOY!
I make an ersatz cheesecake by mixing
cream cheese, ricotta, and a dash of heavy cream with a packet of Splenda and a
few drops of good vanilla extract. The proportions are up to you. Mix in the
ingredients so that the texture appeals to you. The cheeses are full fat, of
course. It's delicious and only three to four carb grams in a half cup.
Well, until next week, the fridge door is
closed. But if you have any questions and/or comments -- even a tasteful joke
or story, a Hall of Shame nominee, or a great recipe to share -- feel free to
write me, eDiets editor-in-chief John McGran, at