Monday, April 12, 2010

Buyer Beware

I'll admit that I am a bit of a nerd at the grocery store. I meander the aisles looking for new products to explore, taste, try, and yes--scrutinize. Food companies love to entice the buyer, which is fabulous marketing practices, but it can come at a cost. If you are not a savvy shopper you may be paying the price in your waist line if you are not careful.  Two products I saw today would have many scratching their heads.  So things to watch:

1. Calories per SERVING
2. Servings per container
3. Know how many servings you are going to eat and calculate what you will take in

Buyer beware:
photo source:

Tai Pei's Asian Take Out boxes--all the same size and many with different servings per container.
Beef & Broccoli--170 Calories per SERVING with 2.5 servings per container = 425 Calories / container
Szechuan Chicken--150 Calories per serving with 3 servings per container = 450 Calories / container
Orange Chicken--210 Calories per serving with 2.5 servings per container = 525 Calories / container
Sweet & Sour Shrimp--230 Calories per serving with 2.5 servings per container = 575 Calories/container

Photo source: 
Planter's New Harvest Nuts--be aware that the serving size is 1/4 cup (that's 1/2 of an applesauce cup) and the servings per containers also vary.
Pistachio Grove--160 Calories per serving, 10 servings per container = 1600 Calories / bag
Dark Chocolate Forest Blend--170 Calories per serving, 8 servings per container = 1360 Calories / bag
Almond Orchard--150 Calories per serving, 9 servings per container = 1350 Calories / bag
Almonds--160 Calories per serving, 11 servings per container = 1760 Calories / bag
Cashews--160 Calories per serving, 15 servings per container = 2400 Calories / bag (WOW!)

I have numerous clients that tell me that they healthily snack on nuts throughout the day or they healthily choose trail mix as a snack. Yes, nuts are healthy, but watch your portions closely.  You can quickly overindulge.  With such creative names it's tempting to buy these creatively labeled foods.  If you do, be sure to come home and break out your measuring cup.  Measure out 1/4 cup and place that in a baggie or container so you know how much you are consuming (and not over-consuming).

Another favorite of mine are pot you eat a 1/2 or a whole?  Check out the labels so you know just what you are "supposed" to eat.

Do you have a favorite food find or a label to scrutinize?  If so, please share!

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