Monday, February 16, 2009

A Note On Ingredients... and Label Reading Encouragement

Are you all enjoying the "What's Cooking" information box on my sidebar? I hope it gives you menu ideas that break the cycle of monotony in which we all get stuck sometimes. And I hope it gives you fresh, simple ways of presenting healthy foods to your children. And, I guess it could be an encouragement to you too... that you don't have to do everything perfectly.

You'll notice that sometimes I make note of a specific ingredient while other times I just write the ingredient's name... like, for example, "Natural Peanut Butter" versus just "peanut butter." Let me explain my reasoning:

If there is a substantial health difference between the specific ingredient that I make note of and its more popular counterpart, I point it out. It's good to recognize the difference and shop accordingly. For example, Natural Peanut Butter is significantly more healthful than jif or skippy. You'll want to read labels here and make sure your peanut butter contains no hydrogenated oils or added sugars. Another example is jam. I usually specify "fruit-sweetened" jam because it is significantly more healthy when you omit the refined sugars. Final example, although I could list out twenty (stopping myself from fire-hosing), I usually specify "Non-GMO" Corn. Since corn is one of the four most genetically-modified foods, it is important to buy Organic or Non-GMO Corn.

Hmmm. This post could read a little dry. It's definitely not as exciting as Tickle drinking from Spiderman's bed-head-water-sprayer earlier. (She was hilariously cute with water dripping of her forehead and chin.) I would leave out these particulars, but I think some of you may want to know why I single out certain ingredients. I just don't want to omit helpful information. If you wonder why I use a certain ingredient, please ask... chances are, there are other inquiring minds that want to know.

So here's the bottom line... the take home tidbit for the day. You want to read labels. You might just be surprised at what chemical-preservatives, food colorings, refined sugars or altered-fats are lurking around. When I first started reading labels, my shopping trips took a bit more time. But, after you "know your products" you'll zip through the store really quickly... and you'll be able to keep a watch out for sales on "your products."


Teresa R said...

My 13 YO reads labels for fun, which is great most of the time, but can be embarrassing when he yells out "Can you believe they have both corn syrup AND high fructose corn syrup in this?" (or something like that) when we go shopping for my FIL at some place that's not our health-food co-op. :}

Amy Ellen said...

So funny... Rainbow does this too... "Can you believe this has BHT in it?" I nonchalantly look around and see that the woman next to me has the item in her cart!!! YIKES... Rainbow keeps reading the labels, just quietly now : )