Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Friday, September 20, 2013
Hey guys, there’s something that I never really paid attention to before that really came to my attention when I did the sodium article. There’s something on almost every label you’ll see that says “Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.” Where did 2000 calories even COME From?
According to Marion Nestle, a writer on Food Politics.com, “They proposed 2,000 calories as:
- consistent with widely used food plans
- close to the calorie requirements for postmenopausal women, the population group most prone to weight gain
- a reasonably rounded-down value from 2,350 calories
- easier to use than 2,350 and, therefore, a better tool for nutrition education
Whether a rounding down of nearly 20 percent is reasonable or not, the FDA ultimately viewed these arguments as persuasive.”
So what is needed for kids? Well ages 1-3 can look at 1,200-1,400 calories per day. Kids that are 4-6 are looking at 1,500-1,750 calories. Kids that are 7-9 are looking at 1,700-1,950. Yet on some kids’ foods we still see the nutrition labeled related to 2,000 calories a day. (Parents.com)
So that’s calories, but what really got to me was the Sodium Percentages that I was looking at. An adult is supposed to eat 2,300 mg of Sodium per day. Let’s take the Pepperoni Pizza Lunchables as an example. The nutrition facts say that it has 760mg of Sodium and that is 32% of your daily value. Now let me remind you, as I showed on my sodium article, kids should be eating between 1,000-1,500 milligrams of sodium a day. Let’s do a little math. 760 mg is in fact 33% of 2300 mg, THE ADULT SERVING FOR SODIUM, NOT THE KIDS. So for a kid, even if you’re healthily eating 2,000 calories, that doesn’t mean the sodium level is 32% of the daily value you should be enjoying.
Let’s go up to the higher end of the age spectrum 9-18 at 1,500 mgs of Sodium. 760 milligrams is FIFTY PERCENT OF THAT DAILY VALUE!!!!!! Just because they may eat 2,000 calories a day does NOT mean that the other daily values are accurate for a child’s needs and yet Lunchables, who are geared at children, are putting forward the ADULT SIZE FOR SODIUM. Not to make a pun, but we all need to read the daily values with a grain of salt.
College Kid 1
Sodium is a really useful little nutrient. It’s most commonly found in Salt which we find in just about everything we eat.
According to MyFoodDiary.com in 2013: “Sodium is needed for muscle contractions, nerve transmissions, maintaining pH balance, and hydration. Sodium regulates the fluid outside of the cells and is needed to pump fluid into the cells as potassium carries by-products out.”
These are all REALLY important. Sodium is half of the chemistry that helps the electricity in your body function, (the other half is Potassium) and having adequate amounts of both in your system is SUPER important.
So how much of this awesome substance should we be eating? Well for ages 1-3, adequate consumption should be at 1,000 milligrams daily. A 4-8 year old should aim for about 1,200 milligrams. And anyone from the ages of 9-18 should shoot for about 1,500. So how do these numbers compare to the sodium levels in our Lunchables?
In a Cracker Stacker (no juice drink) Ham and Swiss Meal: 690mg of Sodium.
In a Cracker Stacker (no juice drink) Ham and Cheddar Meal: 670mg of Sodium.
In a Cracker Stacker (no juice drink) Turkey and Cheddar Meal: 620 mg of Sodium.
In a Pizza (with juice drink) Pepperoni Meal: 760 mg
In a Pizza (with juice drink) Extra Cheesy Meal: 620 mg
In a Chicken Dunk (with juice drink) Meal: 550 mg.
There are not small numbers compared to the total if we’re looking at 1000-1500 mg.
But why does it matter? What happens if you eat too much sodium? How does it hurt us? It makes you thirsty, it puts you at risk for high blood pressure, it sometimes may cause fluid retention, which in turn is the risk for heart attacks and strokes to go up as well. These are really huge problems, and we have to make sure that we keep our sodium levels in the healthy zone. This has been your jump into the salt shaker.
Welcome back everyone to another exciting response. This is to the Cracker Stacker Lunchable, and we made almost the same thing but with some tweaks. We used the turkey and cheese from a Hormel Snack Tray and used Wheat Thins as the cracker and it tasted pretty good! We listed the nutrition facts above in comparison to each of the other meals, and it wasn’t a perfect win. It wasn’t a complete sweep, but we were able to make something slightly healthier. If we had time and I had the money we would experiment with different combinations of meat and cheeses to get that optimum healthfulness, but sadly for you guys I was on a budget this week and had to keep it very simple. But LOOK AROUND!! Experiment with different meats, cheeses, and crackers until you find what works for you. Or if you want something, you know, bigger? Make a sandwich, it’s amazing.
There’s something I will always hold dear about crackers and cheese though, and I say cheese NOT cheese product, guys. That was another thing we looked at when we were making some comparisons, the number of ingredients and how many of them were chemicals. It is really disheartening when the third ingredient in the Lunchables ham is sodium lactate, and it gets less and less understandable and more and more chemically complex from there. I did a rough count and Lunchables turkey had 15 ingredients when the one from our counter recipe had eight. The cheese product had 14 ingredients where our real cheese had eight. The crackers they gave had 20 ingredients and the wheat thins had 12. It was hard to make these counts because you’re never sure if you count all the parenthesis or just the big ingredients but this is my rough count. So yeah, be careful when the ingredients label says “Pasteurized Prepared Swiss (or Cheddar) Cheese Product.” Why isn’t it cheese? Why is it a cheese product? All I know is I’ve never seen so many words that I don’t know on one piece of cardboard, and that worries me about what it is I’m eating. Start reading your labels, guys. It’s SCARY when you start to understand what’s really in some of our commonplace products!!!
Wish everyone a great evening,
College Kid 1
College Kid 2
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
College Kid 2
Monday, September 16, 2013
College Kid 2
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Fats and Saturated Fats in Food.
First of all let’s define what fat is. FAT IS NOT IN ITSELF BAD!!! IT IS NECESSARY IN OUR DIETS. According to kidshealth.org, fat is a fuel source as well as the major storage form of energy in the body, making it vital to our ability to function. The problem arises when we eat too much fat or too much of the wrong kinds.
There are kinds of fat? Yes! There are good fats and bad fats. Good fats are monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and Omega-3’s. Bad fats, the ones to beware of, are trans fats and saturated fats.
Why are bad fats bad? They can raise cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease! That’s really serious stuff.
So let’s go back and take a look at our two meals so far, pizza and chicken dunks. The first thing I would like to point out is the positive in these meals. There are ZERO grams of trans fat in either meal. This is a really great step towards healthy food. However, that’s where the positives begin to slow down.
Let’s take a look at the saturated fat levels in the food. In the extra cheesy pizza, we see 4.5 grams of saturated fat, making up 50% of the fat in the entire meal (9 grams). That’s already 23% of the daily value from just three tiny pizzas. The pepperoni, as you would predict, is even worse with a saturated fat total of 8 grams (40% of your daily value) out of the total 18 grams of fat. The chicken dunks fared much better on the fat and saturated fat, leading the pack by far with only ONE gram of saturated fat and only five grams of total fat!
But again for the amount of total food that we just consumed in the pepperoni pizza Lunchables, having 40% of one’s daily value of saturated fat from what would most likely be considered as half of a meal or so is a little scary.
It made me happy to see such low fat content in the chicken dunk meal but I also remembered that what I consumed was the grand total of five pieces of chicken, a bit of ketchup product, candy, and a drink. Definitely not a meal.
On the matter of fats, we see that some Lunchables meals are better than others, and some would even be considered healthy if we looked at fats alone!
College Kid 1
So I made a few comments in my first video about sugar content in the meals we’ve tried so far and promised you a little more background on why that was important. SO welcome to the Sugar mini-lesson. When we read the whopping sugar tallies on the back of the boxes, 36 grams and 27 grams respectively, we got really worried on where the sugar was in the meal. So we went digging for a little bit more information…
First of all a gram of sugar is equal to one quarter of a teaspoon of sugar.
We decided to do some research on the Chicken Dunk Meal first and break down what constituted those 36 grams. We discovered that a Fruit Punch Capri Sun had 16 grams of sugar according to the Capri sun website. The box of nerds according to “My fitness pal” had 12. This adds up to a whopping 28 grams of sugar. But the box said 36 grams! So that means that either the chicken or the sauce added up to 8 grams where you wouldn’t necessarily expect it to hide. When College Kid 2 further inspected the ingredients list we found sugar, or some other name for it, in almost every single aspect of the meal.
So that’s a lot of fun numbers but what does it mean? Well let’s take a look at the recommended amount of sugar for kids in a day. The American Heart Association recommends preschoolers to have 16.7 or less grams of sugar a day, ages four to eight to have 12.5 grams or less per day, and preteens and teenagers are to have between 21 to 33 grams of sugar per day. So let’s take a reflection minute!!!! This means that our Lunchables Chicken Dunks, which is ONE “meal”, already goes above EVERY SINGLE RECCOMENDATION. And most likely, you won’t even be full.
Now the pizza ones both had 27 grams of sugar, so we’re still blowing it for the younger kids. But if you want to start pushing the daily amount for teenagers, you can fit it in if you are very careful for the rest of your day. Still for the amount of food you get, the amount of sugar inside is ridiculous.
But why does sugar matter? Who cares? It’s just a number right? What does sugar do to a child’s developing mind and body? Well according to Kathy Johnson, a writer for a health and wellness site called “She knows”, it effects children in four primary ways. 1) Tooth decay, 2) Problems with behavior. 3) Obesity and weight problems and 4) Leading to diabetes.
Also, think about it guys, If we’re eating something totally high in sugar and low in most other nutrients, then we won’t have the correct nutrition to continue to function either in school or whatever else we happen to be doing.
So let’s bring it back to the two meals we ate so far, the Chicken Dunk Lunchables and the Pizza Lunchables. If we’re spending more than our daily recommendation of sugar on ONE Meal, then how far over are we really going if we take the WHOLE DAY into consideration? We need to be conscious of how much sugar we put into ourselves and work to improve our dietary choices.
Also guys! Sugar comes in a LOT of names. For example looking down the chicken dunk ingredients list here are different words that all mean, In essence, sugar: High Fructose Corn Syrup, maltodextrin, dextrose, corn syrup, and any form of juice concentrate but especially white grape, apple, and pear. So on two boxes we have six different ways of saying sugar, and those are just the ones I caught. Looking for more words that mean sugar? And believe me there are a lot. Here’s a handy link to help you decipher the ingredient label. Sugar's Many Disguises
College Kid 1
In the pizza meal we saw the whopping 27 grams of sugar. So let’s analyze this pizza box by pizza box.
We’ll start with extra cheesy. The pacific cooler juice drink had 16 grams of sugar, the mini Air Head held an additional six grams, bringing us up to 23 grams of sugar and leaving 4 grams of sugar, mostly in the pizza sauce.
The pepperoni pizza meal had a 16 gram of sugar fruit punch drink and a six gram of sugar mini Crunch bar, leaving the same 4 grams of sugar for sauce and other assorted elements.
College Kid 1
College Kid 1 and College Kid 2
We used the recipe on this site for the chicken: Chicken Nuggets
On a scale from one to ten, (one being terrible, ten being great) we rated this recipe with an 8. The chicken came out perfectly and the sour cream and onion chips added a great flavor. It didn't pack a punch, and that was okay because it allowed the honey mustard sauce to make it taste better.
And we used this recipe for the Honey Mustard (its at the bottom) Honey Mustard
On a scale from one to ten, we rated the sauce with a 9. It was simple and didn't require a lot of abstract ingredients. it even carried a little kick with it. It wasn't spicy; it was a perfect "zing". However, we did have a little issue with the mayonnaise. It got a little chunky, not too bad though. We ran the sauce through a strainer and managed to get rid of the larger chunks. Although the little chunks may make the sauce seem less appealing, we encourage you to not hesitate to try it. You will be surprised!
College Kid 2
College Kid 1 and College Kid 2