I have mentioned before that the ingredients in many processed foods are less than appetizing. So when this month’s issue of Consumer Reports contained an article about Food Fake-Outs I knew I had to write about it. Creamers with no cream, blueberry cereal with no blueberries, bacon bits with no bacon, and so on. It would appear that chemistry has come a long way! Here is their conclusion:
Many commercially prepared products are loaded with the stuff of chemistry class and tend to be high in calories from added sugars. Our advice:
• Look past pretty pictures and tasty names. Photos of fruit and words such as “butter” may convey a false impression of what’s inside. The truth is on the label. The FDA requires that ingredients be listed in descending order by weight.
• Compare labels. Some processed foods have more extras than others. In addition to milk and cream, Kraft Simply Cottage Cheese includes whey, salt, modified food starch, guar, xanthan, carob bean gums, and carageenan. Daisy Cottage Cheese, on the other hand, has three ingredients: skim milk, cream, and salt.
• Beware of buzzwords. There’s a reason companies use “bac’n” instead of bacon: It’s not the real deal. Potato “crisps” such as Lay’s can’t be “chips” because the FDA requires a chip to be thinly sliced potato fried in deep fat, not something fabricated from dried potatoes with cornstarch, sugar, and soy lecithin.
When I read articles like this I find myself wondering if I really want to know what is in some of the foods I buy. Not because I am worried about what I am eating but because I don’t want to give up some indulgences! I know that sounds kind of hypocritical but I love Cheez Its! And barbecue potato chips! Part of living a healthy life is realizing I have to make informed decisions about my food choices. So as hard as it is to pass up Oreos, I do. I will avoid going down that aisle all together so I am not tempted. I am not going to say I am perfect because occasionally I do find that red box of cheese flavored orange squares in my cupboard, but those times are getting farther apart.
What about you? What do you do that you know isn’t a great choice but you do it anyway? I had a recent conversation with a friend about losing weight. When I told her the best thing she could do is eat breakfast, she responded by saying she couldn’t because she felt nauseous in the morning and the only thing she could tolerate was coffee. When I suggested she start with a piece of toast with some peanut butter she was still skeptical. She did not want to make that change because she is convinced her body would reject the choice. Shortly after that talk I woke up and didn’t feel hungry so I just had coffee. When I started feeling a bit queasy, I realized the caffeine was hitting an empty stomach and making me feel yucky. I am not proud to say I solved the problem by eating a spoonful of sunflower seed butter, but it worked! My conclusion is be mindful, be aware of how you can improve your habits and keep going towards healthier choices.
Speaking of breakfast, I have not posted any recipes for it! This is a super easy pancake recipe that can be served anytime of day!
Makes 8 pancakes (serves 4), 235 calories (without any toppings)
1 1/2 cups soy milk (can use dairy milk)
1 cup rolled oats
2 chopped bananas
1/2 cup all purpose flour (or whole wheat)
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
In a blender (or food processor) puree milk and oats until smooth. Add bananas, flour, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, and baking powder. Puree a few seconds and then let batter rest for ten minutes (so baking powder can do it’s thing!)
Heat a large non-stick sauté pan (or griddle) over medium heat. Mist with nonstick cooking spray and then scoop batter into pan in 1/4 cup increments. Reduce heat to medium low and cook pancakes until air bubbles appear and underside is golden brown. Flip and cook about 5 minutes more. Top with sliced bananas and maple syrup if desired.