Right Stuff vs. Food Porn

February 2013

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Right Stuff


Looking for a snack to throw in your bag as you dash out the door? Bolthouse Farms Baby Carrot Snack Bags are all wrapped and ready to go. Ditto for Green Giant Fresh Snack Packs and many store brands.

Yes, they cost more than baby cut carrots that come in a one- or two-pound bag (which cost more than full-size, unpeeled carrots). And yes, you'd save plastic by refilling your own container with a handful of carrots instead.

But that one extra step could make you less likely to bother with carrots and more likely to end up snacking on a bag of chips or a candy bar, muffin, soft pretzel, cookie, cupcake, doughnut, granola bar, bagel, or whatever else they're selling at Starbucks, the vending machine, the gas station, the drugstore, or any other place you go. And most of those alternatives would cost more than a palm-sized bag of carrots that's made for travel (about 50 cents).

Each 2 oz. snack bag of Bolthouse carrots—they come five to a big bag—has 2 grams of fiber, 90 percent of a day's vitamin A, 8 percent of a day’s vitamin C, and about 5 percent of a day's potassium and vitamin B-6. Not too shabby for 25 calories that should be more filling than, say, a twentieth of a slice (about a bite) of a 490-calorie Starbucks Banana Nut Loaf or Zucchini Walnut Muffin.

But any snack eventually gets boring. Do we see snack packs of mini bell peppers, snow peas, and other veggies in the future? Does Bolthouse? Does big Mr. Jolly Green?

Bolthouse Farms: (800) 467-4683

Green Giant Fresh: (800) 998-9996

Food Porn


"Now the perfect harmony found in the Pepperidge Farm Milano cookie is available in a delicious cake," says the Pepperidge Farm Milano Cookie Cake package.

"Temptingly moist vanilla cake, surrounded by delicious chocolate buttercream icing and topped with real Milano cookie crumbles," adds the box. Translation: Pepperidge Farm is using its popular Milano name to sell a mixture of sugar, partially hydrogenated oils, white flour, and a paragraph of other ingredients. It does the same with its new Chocolate Chunk Cookie Cake.

Really? Most companies have bent over backwards to get partially hydrogenated oils out of their foods so they can slap a "0 grams trans fat" claim on their labels, and Pepperidge Farm is launching two new cakes made with partially hydrogenated oil?

According to the label, a serving of Milano Cookie Cake is 2.2 ounces (an eighth of a cake) and has 250 calories. But food-labeling rules say that a serving of a cake like this one is 2.8 ounces—about a sixth of a Milano Cookie Cake.

That brings the damage to 310 calories, plus 5½ teaspoons of added sugar (about a day's quota), 6½ grams of saturated fat (a third of a day's worth), and 2½ grams of trans fat (1¼ days' limit, though any trans is too much).

Attention arteries and fat cells: Incoming!

Shrink the serving. Tuck in some trans. Did Pepperidge Farm think no one would notice?

Pepperidge Farm: (888) 737-7374

Dish of the Month

1-2-3-4 Spicy Beans

  1. Sauté 3 minced cloves of garlic in 1 Tbs. of olive oil for 1 minute.
  2. Stir in 1 tsp. of chili powder and cook for 15 seconds.
  3. Add a 15 oz. can of no-salt-added black beans with the liquid and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Season with up to ¼ tsp. of salt.

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