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Foods to Avoid at the Supermarket

By February 3, 2009Uncategorized
{image via Boston Globe}

{image via Boston Globe}

I don’t usually make much room on this blog for food or nutrition. I guess it’s just so much a part of my lifestyle that I don’t think about it. I was watching a Youtube stream of an Oprah episode the other day and they were talking about the major obesity epidemic in our country as a result of poor nutrition and especially nutrition education. Featured on the show, were authors of “Eat This, Not That.”

It’s not a single book, but a series of books that span many areas of common confusion for people trying to stay fit or lose weight. You’d be amazed what people often misconstrue as healthy, or the more healthy of two options. In any sense, MSN had an article featured on their site entitled “America’s Worst Supermarket Foods.” I just had to cross post with the reasoning behind each. Some of these might surprise you. I haven’t yet read the books, but I hope to check them out soon. I wish more Americans would just take a second to not only consider the immediate consequences of the food and nutrition choices they make, but the long term costs to not only themselves but their pocketbook and their fellow citizens. Of course, in the past few months, I’ve learned that maybe it’s too much to ask.

A few of the ones I thought might be helpful:

20. Worst Crunchy Snack: Gardetto’s Special Request Roasted Garlic Rye Chips (1/2 cup, 30 g)
Nutrition:  160 cal./10 g. fat (2 g saturated, 2.5 g. trans)/40 mg. sodium/

Gardetto extracts the worst part of its Original snack mix and tries to serve it as a gourmet snack—a sneaky move that might have serious repercussions for even casual munchers. Each single serving exceeds the amount of trans fat deemed safe to consume daily by the American Heart Association. Fat equivalent: 3 strips of bacon. Eat this instead: Snyder’s of Hanover Sourdough Nibblers (16 pieces, 30 g) Nutrition: (120 cal./0 g. fat/200 mg. sodium)

19. WORST COOKIE: Pillsbury Big Deluxe Classics White Chunk Macadamia Nut (dough; 1 cookie, 38 g)
Nutrition: (180 cal./10 g. fat (3 g saturated, 2 g. trans)/13 g. sugars)

This cookie has one load of dangerous oils mixed into the flour and another blended with sugar and interspersed throughout the dough as “white confectionery chunks.” Equivalent to 5 “fun size” Three Musketeers Candy Bars. Eat this instead: Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (1 1/2-inch ball, 28 g). Nutrition: (130 cal./6 g. fat -2.5 saturated/11 g. sugars)

12. WORST FROZEN “HEALTHY” ENTRÉE: Healthy Choice Complete Selections Sweet & Sour Chicken (340 g)
Nutrition: (430 cal./9 g. fat – 1 g. saturated/600 mg. sodium/29 g. sugars)

Since when has fried chicken been healthy? Certainly not when it’s cloaked in sugar. Sugar equivalent: 2 scoops Breyers Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream. Eat This Instead: Kashi Southwest Style Chicken (283 g) Nutrition: (240 calories/5 g. fat – 0g. saturated/680 mg. sodium)

:: Prepare to be sick to your stomach::

{image via IceBox Diner}

{image via IceBox Diner}

1. WORST PACKAGED FOOD IN AMERICA: Marie Callender’s Creamy Parmesan Chicken Pot Pie (note…POT PIE)
Nutrition: (1,060 calories/1,440 mg. sodium/64 g. fat – 24 g. saturated)

Marie Callender’s perpetrates the ultimate sleight of hand here: The nutrition information says this medium-size entrée has two servings, but honestly, when have you ever split a potpie? Lard-strewn pastry tops and cream-based fillings are the lowest common denominators of the nutritionally nefarious potpie, and this one, with an ingredient list that reads like an O-Chem final, beats out dozens of horrendous iterations to earn this special place on our list.

  • Sodium equivalent: 8 small bags of potato chips
  • Fat equivalent: 23 strips of bacon
  • Calorie equivalent: 7 Taco Bell Fresco Beef Tacos

Eat This Instead: Marie Callender’s Oven Baked Chicken (369 g)
Nutrition: (320 cal./990 mg. sodium/12 g. fat – 3 g. saturated)

Keep in mind that these “Eat insteads” should be taken as “if the world were flooded with pee, you lived in a tree and had a choice between ONLY these two items, this is the better way to go. Although if the world were flooded with pee, and you did in fact live in a tree, I’d assume you had the fortitude to throw health to the wind and survive regardless of the caloric consequence. In essence though, there are many better options, the lesson here is to LOOK at labels and know the consequences of this amount of sodium, or that amount of saturated fat. It doesn’t mean you have to eat raisins, or live like a bird; but making conscious choices and knowing what you are putting in your body and the risk factors are invaluable.

You can join the “Eat This Not That” premium site and learn more swap tips and substitutions. Most restaurants and fast food establishments also keep their nutrition information online, so if you are out and about and faced with tough choices, you can make the best one for you.


  • kwilcox says:

    holy moly. I knew about the pot pies, but the rye chips??? Those are one of my favorite snackfoods of all time, a road-trip must-have. I don’t understand how they could have so much fat in so little. It makes no sense!

    The first time I looked at Taco Bell’s website and saw that one Cheesy Bean and Rice burrito had like twice the daily recommended fat intake for a normal human, I stopped eating at Taco Bell.