Friday, May 13, 2011

Healthy Snack Choices

For the remainder of the month I’m going to be sharing a few of our go-to snacks. These are all very quick and very simple ideas.

Our goal in our house is avoid as many packaged foods as we can. We strive to eat whole foods and homemade as much as possible. I recently read a startling article about just how many preservatives and food dyes many people consume, even when they are eating “healthy” foods.

Here’s a snippet:

Based on the anecdotal information I see in my client’s food journals, people eating processed and packaged foods are taking in exorbitant amounts of artificial ingredients and additives. Typically, a client will say something like, “I eat a bowl of cereal with low-fat milk, have yogurt for a snack, and a Subway sandwich for lunch.” While this sounds relatively harmless, here’s what it might actually look like based on some popular “health food” items:

  • One serving of Kellogg’s Fiber Plus Antioxidants Berry Yogurt Crunch contains more than 13 different additives, preservatives, and food dyes, including Red 40 and Blue 1, which are known to cause allergic reactions in some people and mutations leading to cancer in lab animals. It also contains BHT, monoglycerides, and cellulose gum. In addition, conventional milk often contains residues of artificial bovine growth hormones, known endocrine disruptors as well as antibiotics used in industrial milk production.
  • Dannon Light & Fit Peach yogurt contains more than 11 different additives including Red 40, aspartame, potassium sorbate, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium.
  • A Subway sandwich of turkey and cheese on nine-grain bread with fat-free honey mustard, peppers, and pickles contains more than 40 different additives, preservatives, and dyes. The pickles and peppers have yellow 5 and polysorbate 80, the bread has ten different additives including dough conditioners, DATEM, and sodium stearoyl lactylate, and the turkey contains ten additives as well.

The person in this example has consumed more than 60 food additives eating breakfast, a small snack, and lunch alone, to say nothing of dinner, dessert, further snacking and drinks. Consumers Union’s Dr. Hansen told me, “I wouldn’t be surprised if it were up to 100 additives or more that people are taking in on a daily basis.”

Scary, no?

It’s important to keep in mind that when real food is substituted for low-fat, low-sugar, or packaged, you are losing nutrients– to say nothing of taste– and those good things have to be replaced with something else. Unfortunately, that sometime else is usually a dye, a preservative, or some other unsavory by-product. (MSG with your 1% milk, anyone?)

Now I can hear all of you busy readers (work! kids! home!) saying, ‘I have NO time to make everything from scratch.” Well, you’re right. Maybe not everything. However, over the next several weeks or month, I’m going to share quick and easy snack ideas and offer alternatives to conventional snacks when the inevitable, “What can I eat now?” comes from our kids (or our own tummies).

Later this morning, I have two granola bar recipes to share that you can make in the time it takes to wash a sink full of dishes.

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