Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Food 101: Healthy or A Play On Words?


These days it is "in" to be a healthy eater, and trust me, every company in the food industry knows that! This is why many companies skate around the topic of true nutritional content and use "consumer friendly" labels to trick us like "all natural". Yeah that means absolutely nothing--and if you read a little farther on the label, it is usually full of processed ingredients and things you can't even pronounce! Another trick is "whole wheat" when what you really want is "whole grain wheat".

Although learning how to decipher labels/nutrition facts is integral if you are going to eat well, I'm just going to focus on a little trick I just learned the other day.

Ever heard of The Whole Grains Council? They make it easier for us shoppers (especially in a rush) to quickly locate foods that are truly good for us. They do this by slapping on a "Whole Grain Stamp" (see photo) which means that what is inside has been approvel by the council and truly has whole grains.

As expained on their website, there are two different varieties of Stamp, the Basic Stamp and the 100% Stamp. If a product bears the 100% Stamp, then all its grain ingredients are whole grains. If a product bears the Basic Stamp, it contains at least 8 grams – a half serving – of whole grain, but may also contain some refined grain.

Each Stamp also shows a number, telling you how many grams of whole grain ingredients are in a serving of the product. BOOM! So start checking your boxes for this magic little stamp. Be sure to look thoroughly as sometimes its on the bottom of the box or the top/side/back.

This stamp applies to more than just breads, but also: cereals (hot and cold), pastas, rice, tortillas/wraps, dairy, frozen/prepared entrees, flour, baking mixes, soups, waffle/pancake mix, snack bars and a bunch of others!

Here are some of the brands that I found to have these labels:

Nature's Pride breads
Ronzoni pastas
Post/Kellogg cereals
Kashi products
Annie's homegrown
Barbera's bakery
Quaker Oats
Earth's Best
Nature's Path
Otis Spunkmeyer
Whole Foods Markets

Eat well and prosper!



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