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Friday, 26 September 2014

Product Assessments

   While I try to prepare most of my food from scratch, there are some things that are not realistic to produce in a home kitchen.  I'd like to share three prepared food products that make sense to me and end with a bit of a rant about one product that makes no sense.

Product Endorsements

    This relatively new product combines peanut butter with chocolate.  I will admit that one of my favourite combinations on two slices of bread is one side peanut butter and one side chocolate/hazelnut spread.  Two problems I was having with the most popular chocolate/hazelnut spread were that it was imported from Italy and that it contained palm oil, a type of oil that causes much harm to people and the natural environment as it is extracted from oil palm trees.  The good news about Kraft "Peanut Butter with Chocolate" is that it is free of palm oil and is made right here in Canada.  Its sugar and saturated fat content is about half that of the leading chocolate/hazelnut spread and it has twice the fibre.  I do not always have this product in the house, but when I do I feel good about eating it.

   For breakfast I'm inclined to eat oatmeal porridge prepared with pieces of dried apricot, as my husband has perfected the recipe over the years, but when I want a dry cereal only two of them meet my standards.  One is Post Shredded Wheat, original version, because of its short ingredient list--just Canadian whole grain wheat.  Most cereals are so sugar coated and artificial tasting, in my opinion. Surprisingly, the Post cereal company started out in the 1890's by manufacturing hand-operated machines they hoped to sell for household use. Only later did they begin to market their shredded wheat biscuit as a ready-made product to sell in stay-fresh packages. [1]

   The second type of dry cereal that qualifies as nutritious and worthwhile is Weetabix.  It used to be imported from Great Britain until it began to be produced in Cobourg, Ontario, Canada several decades ago.  Its short ingredient list (four items) and its judicious use of organic cane syrup are in its favour.  Furthermore, it sources its wheat from within 50 kilometres of its plant and thus shows a commitment to sustainable practices.


   One product that makes no sense to me is one I see regularly in student lunch boxes AND classroom trash bins.  Fruit in squeeze pouches smacks of over-packaging and waste.  The lids, when removed, are a choking hazard for young children and it's questionable whether they can be recycled at all.  A percentage of the contents of the squeeze package can never be eaten because it adheres to the sides of the package or the eater is lazy about emptying the pouch.  In the quest for designing "healthy" fast food snacks that do not need a spoon to eat, we have compromised too much.

[1] This information came from the following website http://postfoods.ca/our-brands/post-shredded-wheat/our-story/

Please leave a comment with a product you either particularly like or particularly dislike.

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