Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What's In My Food?

The food we buy and eat isn't always what it seems. Take, for instance this loaf of crusty bread. It looks fresh and tasty as it sits on the cutting board. But carve a slice from the end and you quickly discover there's something more to this loaf:

Who knew we'd find a dozen 'bunnies' in this bread? As my husband and I change our food purchases to reflect his new dietary needs, I become increasingly aware that food isn't always what it seems - especially if there's a nutrition label involved.

Our pre-bottled light ranch salad dressing with less fat has 22% of the daily salt RDA per serving; which means my husband must (a) use considerably less than the stated serving amount (b) choose a different dressing (after checking the salt) (c) make his own. The salt content per serving in a large can of imported tomatoes is less than half the level we found in a can from a local discount store. The imported variety costs 3-4 times more but, when you have to watch your salt intake it may be a financial 'sacrifice' you make.

And, when it comes to salt - or sugar - levels in homemade food, you've got to make some trade-offs. To reduce the salt in my spaghetti sauce I (a) used the imported tomatoes (b) added extra garlic to replace some of the flavor that typically comes from salt. Because sugar is another ingredient my husband must now watch in his diet, I lightly sweetened the sauce with four ground baby carrots and 1/4 cup of wine, instead.

We're only getting started, but I already have a clearer picture of how much sense it makes to create our meals from scratch as often as possible. After all, food appearances can be deceiving.

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