As I was walking to work the other day I came across a grocery store promotion for Loblaws. A girl handed me a bag of snacks and said “Loblaws wants you to bring healthier home.”
I opened the bag when I got to work, and I was disappointed with the contents:
A small carton of Presidents Choice vanilla flavored skim milk: 6g of protein, but second ingredient is sugar and there is lots of it: 16g per carton! Unsweetened dairy milk is already high in natural sugars; why add more? And you wonder why our society is addicted to sugar…
An All-Bran chocolate chip bar: mainly composed of refined flour & sugar, vegetable shortening, ingredients I can’t pronounce and artificial flavors. I’ll admit, I had to try it, but honestly it was dry, crumbly and tasted artificial. How about homemade trail mix instead? Combine almonds, pumpkin seeds, raisins & apricots in a ziplock bag – it’s easy and has all-natural ingredients. I’m also a big fan of Taste of Nature organic granola bars if you don’t have time to make your own.
A Sun-Ripe fruit bar: this was the only item I considered an ok choice, but it still has 28g of sugar per bar. It’s made up of fruit & vegetable concentrate so it’s kind of like drinking fruit juice, which is also high in sugar. Why not just eat a real piece of fruit? That way you get all the vitamins & minerals, but also the fibre, which keeps you full longer and prevents your blood sugar from spiking & crashing.
I moved on to read the “Bring Healthier Home” pamphlet, and was encouraged by the images on the front cover: fresh, whole fruit & vegetables, wild salmon, and plain yogurt with granola & fruit.
Some of their suggestions were great:
–PC Gourmet De-Caffeinated coffee with no chemicals (decaf usually contains chemicals, which remove the caffeine)
–Del Monte grapefruit cups: these are a healthy choice because they’re packed in water with no added sugar; however, they’re bad for the environment, and more expensive than buying whole grapefruits, but I understand that many people may not have the time to cut/peel grapefruit in the morning.
–PC Blue Menu MSC certified cod fillets: always look for the MSC certified stamp when buying fish. It ensures that the fish is safe to eat (no chemicals and sustainably caught).
–Frozen broccoli florets: frozen is just as good as fresh, and is a great timesaver!
You may have noticed some of the offenders in the above pictures:
–All Bran Cranberries & Clusters Cereal: packaged cereals are one of the worst offenders when it comes to “food that people think is healthy.” Most packaged cereals are high in sugar & preservatives, and I would recommend making your own Homemade Cereal the night before or a batch of Whole Wheat Granola on Sundays for the week.
–Activia yogurt with fruit: this type of yogurt is usually high in sugar; just buy plain yogurt and sweeten it naturally with fresh fruit or real maple syrup
–PC Oats with Vanilla Yogurt Filling Biscuits for Breakfast: the second ingredient is “yogurt crème filling”, which is basically icing sugar, oil & modified milk ingredients. The biscuit is made with whole grains, but it has too much sugar (14g for 2 biscuits) and preservatives for this to be considered a healthy choice. It’s a cookie, not breakfast.
–Healthy Choice Gourmet Steamers Beef Merlot: 1st ingredient is beef steak, which has caramel, dextrose, & maltodextrin in it. Some of the other ingredients: corn syrup, sulphites, and soybean oil. Overall, there are too many crazy ingredients in here for me to consider this a healthy choice. How about making a healthy dinner with free-from chicken & seasonal vegetables, and make double portions for lunch leftovers instead?
–Becel Margarine: while they now promote this to be non-hydrogenated; I still don’t like that it includes soy lecithin (modified soy products can affect our hormones) and artificial flavors. Coconut oil can be used in place of margarine for cooking & baking, and is a totally natural & healthy saturated fat.
My bag also included the PC Insiders Report for 2013, which does a pretty good job at promoting some healthy food choices, and health tips. They encourage people to eat more fish, organic dark leafy greens, different types of oranges, and free-from pork. That being said, it would have been nice to see more recommendations for whole, natural foods and to encourage people to eat seasonally, and support local farmers.