Eat This, Not That!
Seems like I talk about food a lot lately…. or maybe I just think about food a lot…. in October I thought about food choices to take off some unnecessary weight. More recently I have really started looking into the benefits of what I eat, or lack there of, to make better and healthier choices. What hopefully is resulting from this is life long good eating habits.
The opportunity lies in the fact that I LOVE food. The taste of it, the variety, smell… and I LOVE food events – going out to eat, buffets (China Garden is a personal favorite these days!), snacking….. all of this makes the choices all the more important and so I recently picked up this book, Eat This, Not That! to see how my choices score.
This book is packed with great food choices and compares brands, even the ones who claim themselves healthy or no trans fat and showing better choices for better health benefits. I really enjoyed going through this book and comparing to the choices that I include daily and weekly in my diet and in some cases I was surprised, in others I was pleased to see I was right on and in yet other choices I felt I had found a better product they had not even listed.
In breakfast choices – I usually stick to a Weight Watchers brand of oatmeal that I pick up at Weight Watchers. The reason I choose this brand is for the fiber benefits, it is good tasting, and is packaged so all I need to do is add water, microwave and eat. While my choice did not make the list – packet oatmeal from Quaker ( lower sugar and higher fiber) did. These are also good and I have these in stock too and you can sometimes find these on sale. Quaker Express made the bad choice list due to an increase in sugar and Cream of Wheat also hit the bad list due to a lasck of fiber, bran, and germ.
After working out a friend of mine told me she drinks a cup of milk to replenish the calcium she lost during the work out. I am not a milk drinker. I choose instead a Yogurt. There are some nasty tasting Yogurts out there and I have not been a fan of yogurt due to bad memories of bitter after taste yogurts that are nothing like the flavor that is described. However – I am a big fan of all Fiber One products, so when Fiber One came out with a yogurt that was fat free, 80 calories, and loaded with good fiber and calcium I was interested. Results? Delicious! In great flavors like vanilla, Key Lime, Strawberry, and Peach…. I sometimes have it with a 1/2 cup of Fiber One cottage cheese (so far I can only find this at Cub), and that is a great tasting low fat calcium filled snack. Weight Watchers also has a tasty Yogurt now sold in stores, however has less fiber.
Interesting enough, neither the Fiber One of Weight Watchers brand made the “Eat This” list. I think this is due to the fact that these are both new products that may not have been out at the time this book was written. Dannon Light Peach hit the top of the charts for having 80 calories, no fat, and 11 sugars with 15% calcium. Worst of the worst was Yoplait Cherry Orchard – loaded with sugar (27 grams!).
Lunch…. I am a big fan of the Bocha burger – and before you wrinkle up your nose and picture shoe leather cut into a circle and placed on a bun…. not all Bochas are created equal. The vegie Bocha is a bit cardboard like. My favorite in the flame grilled Bocha – 120 calories, this is a great tasting burger that I actually crave. With a slice of fat free swiss cheese on a Village Hearth bun (always Village Hearth for bread products!) I have a great main dish. Recently they have come out with a Bruschetta version (not so great tasting) and a mozzarella and mushroom version (surprisingly tasty!) that both have fewer calories.
According to the book, the Bocha burger did not make the top of the top, although Bocha ground beef and the Bocha sausage links did. Instead the top burger went to Garden Burger, Black bean chipolte…. 90 calories and 2.5 grams of fat. I have never tasted one of these so I can not tell you if this is a good product or not.
I was thrilled to see that the La Tortilla factory wrap that I have used for years is the best wrap you can buy. A large wrap with 12 grams of fiber, and 80 calories this is fantastic with fat free refried beans, or rolled up with two slices of low fat turkey and fat free swiss and heated in the microwave. Worst wrap goes to the Mission brand wrap which is loaded with refined carbs.
Biggest surprise I found was that the best apple choice is the Red Delcious apple. USDA researchers have found that this brand has a higher antioxidant capacity than other apples. I usually eat Braeburn or Honey Crisp but have dialed back to the Red Delicious.
I wont bore you with all my findings in this book. I found it very interesting and will continue to use it as a source for making good choices. From good fruits and vegies to bad – meat choices, best fish…. this is a great book.
I will leave you with a few fun snack facts:
Cereal Bars – Top Choices: Fiber One (my fav!) and Nutri Grain fruits and nuts. Worst choices: Kelloggs Cholcolate dipped Raspberry … 180 calories and a side note that Kelloggs shrinks their bars down to half size . They are 40% sugar and not a gram of fiber)
Microwave Popcorn – Top Choices: Orville Redenbacker took three of the top spots (surprising for their regular not the smart pop that I always eat) however the #1 microwave popcorn went to Americas Best Butter Flavor ( 40 calories and 1 gram of fat). I have never even heard of this brand but will need to watch for it! Worst Choices: Pop Secret Movie Theater and Kettle Corn (loaded with trans fat!) and Smart Food White Cheddar (5 times more butter than you would use if you made this at home).
Potato Chips:- Top Choices: Hands down, the Baked Lays in all flavors won across the board! ( I am not a potato chip person, but I do like the Baked Lays Barbeque.) Worst Choices: Ruffles hit the top of the worst saying that if you ironed out the wrinkles you would have a massive chip and loads of fried calories.
Other Chips - Top Choices: Two of my favorites hit the top, Baked Doritos and the Guiltless Gourmet Chili Lime. Granted the chili lime chip tastes a bit like flavored cardboard but does have a nice spicy kick to it that I like. Garden Harvest Vegetable Medley also fared well with 120 calories for 16 chips top ingredient being whole grain wheat! Worst Choices: Tostitos Hint of Lime (I used to love these!) as well as the Multi Grain Tostitos (bummer – I liked these a lot too!) Half the calories of these chips come from vegetable oil. Yikes!
Candy Bars: Top Choices: Take Five stays nutrtionally safe because the nugget is replaced with pretzel. York peppermint patties are also a good choice. Worst Choices: Snickers bar has as much sugar in it as 3 glazed Krispy Creme donuts (holy cow!!!) Hersheys Milk Chocolate – #1 ingredient in all milk chocolate bars is sugar, and Peanut Butter Twix takes the lead for one of the fattest, oil saturated candy bars on the market.
Ice Cream: Top Choices: Breyer’s Double Churn Creamy Chocolate (the book says they could not find a lighter ice cream. Edy’s Slow Churned Rocky Road hit the tops for all brands but especially Rocky Road for the health boost int he real nuts in this ice cream. Worst Choices: Haggen Daas Chocolate Peanut butter weighs in as the worst choice with a whopping 1,440 calories per pint! Dove ice cream has no flavors that come in less that 250 calories per serving.
In Ice Cream snacks – surprisingly Weight Watcher products came up in the worst choice section as being low in calories but high in sugar… really high! Wow… good to know!