Every time I grocery shop, I am always looking for new products to try as well as new trends and label tricks. We had fat-free, then we had carb-free and now we have a variety of trends including whole grain, calcium added, trans-fat free, 100 calorie servings and flavor decadence. Most of all right now we have the worry that food prices have gone up. Recently I just saw whole chickens for $9!!
I think one of the worst shopping mistakes one can make, though, is to shop based on assumption. Assumption meaning buying things that you think are healthy without checking out the Nutrition Facts panel.
Currently we are working on a really fun new PowerPoint show called, The Label Says - Nutrition Facts Panel Game. I managed to find and buy, on one fell swoop, about $166 worth of food that sounds okay but has a different story on the back of the box - all for the purpose of photography and research for this game. Some food items look like one serving, but they are really more. Others make all sorts of single nutrition claims but fall short on the whole picture. While others are dietary disasters with regards to total calorie, saturated fat or sodium content.
Most of us would assume fish or chicken is healthy, right? Well, maybe if you are buying a small, fresh piece and cooking it yourself without a lot of fat or salt. But most likely not if the food manufacturer has gotten ahold of it first.
Consider this fish product that claims 0g trans fat:
One would think that fish with 0g trans fat is okay, right?
But, flip the box and see the Nutrition Facts!
This product, per 3.8 ounce serving, contains 17 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat and 720 mg sodium.
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.