Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

Grocery store lessons: Chef Boyardee

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Whole grain has become one of those nutrition buzzwords alleging nutritional quality. Unfortunately, adding whole grains to an otherwise unhealthy product does not a healthy product make. This is the case with Chef Boyardee’s “Whole Grain Mini ABC’s and 123’s”. On a non-nutrition note: can’t they even get the punctuation correct? No apostrophes necessary chef!

Okay, I’d like to think that people would be savvy enough to realise that Chef Boyardee is not a healthy food choice to give to their children. However, when products are health-washed with prominent labelling such as “Whole Grain” and “No Preservatives” perhaps the desire to believe that good nutrition can be had by simply opening a can is too overwhelming for some to ignore.

First, let’s take a look at those nutrition claims. Whole Grain: The pasta used is made from both whole grain wheat flour and non-whole grain flour. So yes, there is whole grain used but it’s not 100% whole grain. No Preservatives: Really? Then why is there so much salt added? 540 mg of sodium (in half a can) and the ingredients list sea salt and salt back-to-back, a sneaky way to move salt  further down the ingredient list. That’s still nearly half the amount of sodium an adult should be having in one day.

Aside from the ridiculous amount of sodium, this really isn’t the worst premade product on the market. It’s got 230 calories, 10 g fat (3.5 saturated), 590 mg potassium, 3 g fibre, and 8 g protein. However, you’d still be better off making spaghetti and sauce yourself. Even if you use a jar or can of sauce you can choose one that’s got more vegetables (the Chef Boyardee only has tomato puree so it essentially has none) and add some yourself. Don’t let labels mislead you; they are marketing, not educational, tools.

 

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

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