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Posts Tagged ‘Kashi’

I love almond flavored food. When Nature Valley came out with Roasted Almond flavored granola bars, I was quite happy. Then, at a recent event they had incredibly healthy snacks, including an assortment of Kashi granola bars. One of the flavors was Roasted Almond Crunch. JACKPOT! I’m a convert (which I guess gives you an idea of where this article is headed). I’ve been buying the Kashi bars for a month or so now, but the other day I ran out. I found a lone Nature Valley bar in the back of my desk drawer and had myself a snack. Wow. Huge difference from the Kashi bars. The NV bar was really sweet. It also seemed in some way less substantial. I’m here to compare the ingredients and the nutrition facts. I’ve added links to uncommon ingredients to give you a better idea of what these are made of.

Nature Valley
Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Canola Oil, Almond Pieces, Brown Sugar Syrup, Yellow Corn Flour, Soy Flour, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Baking Soda, Natural Flavor.
Ingredient total: 11
Calories per serving: 190
Total Fat: 8 grams (1 gram of saturated fat)
Sodium: 170 milligrams
Total Carbs: 28 grams
Dietary Fiber: 2 grams
Sugars: 11 grams
Protein: 4 grams

Kashi
Ingredients: Whole Grain Oats, Evaporated Cane Juice Crystals, Rolled Whole Grain Blend (Hard Red Wheat, Oats, Rye, Triticale, Barley), Expeller Pressed Canola Oil, Natural Roasted Almond Butter, Soy Protein Isolate, Almonds, Kashi Seven Whole Grains & Sesame Flour (Whole: Oats, Hard Red Wheat, Rye, Brown Rice, Triticale, Barley, Buckwheat, Sesame Seeds), Chicory Root Fiber, Honey, Rice Starch, Wheat Germ, Evaporated Salt, Gum Arabic, Soy Lecithin, Sodium Bicarbonate, Natural Flavor, Mixed Tocopherols for Freshness.
Ingredient total: 30
Calories per serving: 170
Total Fat: 6 grams (0.5 gram of saturated fat)
Sodium: 150 milligrams
Total Carbs: 26 grams
Dietary Fiber: 4 grams
Sugars: 8 grams
Protein: 6 grams

I’ll be honest, I thought there would be a very clear winner here.

If you look at the number of ingredients, NV wins with 19 fewer ingredients. Michael Pollan’s Food Rules might suggest NV is the winner. If you look at the nutritional facts, Kashi has lower everything except for fiber and protein, which you want more of. There’s a lot of stuff in the Kashi bars, both good stuff, and ingredients that make me wonder why they were included. I’d love to get a play-by-play of why each ingredient is used. Is it to up the density? Is it to hold it all together? Is it to improve the texture, the crunch, the visual appeal? Kashi has a lot of information on the website about their ingredients, more exploration is needed. NV has a few ingredients that I wish were replaced with more nutritious substitutes (yellow corn flour for one).

I’d love to hear other perspectives on this face-off. What would Alton choose?

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It’s school vacation week here. I spent one of our vacation days taking my son to the planetarium and as I was driving home I spent some time thinking about how Eating Like Alton compared to the way I would have eaten in the past. Here’s a comparison:

On the way down I stopped at Cumberland Farms for coffee. You can see my earlier post about how I like my coffee, so I was off to a bad start, but my son reminded me that I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet and that I should get something to eat.

ELA choice: Coffee with cream and sugar & a Fiber One bar
Past choice: Coffee with cream and sugar and at least 2 donuts and maybe some candy

There was a cafe at the Planetarium with a full range of sandwiches, pastries, pizza, sodas, etc. After a little exploring, I chose

ELA choice: a chicken salad wrap with lettuce and tomato, a bag of Terra Chips and a bottle of water
Past choice: a reuben panini, a bag of Lays chips and a bottle of Coke

After the planetarium we stopped by the mall for a quick clothing exchange.

ELA choice: nothing
Past choice: another coffee from Dunkin Donuts, quite possibly a donut, or a cookie or pretzel from another food court vendor.

Then we stopped at Target to get some Method cleaner (this is the BEST stuff). It was getting late in the day at this point and I was weighing our dinner options. We were about to drive down a strip with all the fast food options imaginable, which of course is on the NEVER list. So, at Target we…

ELA choice: Kashi TLC Fruit & Grain Bars in Dark Chocolate Coconut and a bottle of water
Past choice: 10 piece chicken nuggets, large fries and a Coke at McHorrible

Then, if I’m being honest, I probably would have stopped in at a gas station or another fast food place and gotten another Coke or coffee and candy or a bag of chips or something else horrible. Instead we drove directly home, not stopping for snacks and feeling pretty great about it.

My conclusion was not that I was able to eat amazingly well and by the list, but that I ate dramatically better than I would have in the past and much, much less.

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A never list is a double-edged sword. In the past when I’ve tried to diet eat healthy I often create my own ‘never’ list. It’s easier for me to never have chips than to try to have a few and stop eating them. It’s easier for me to just know I can’t than to know I can within reason. I actually think the never list is easier than the once a week list. With the once a week list I have to be on the honor system with myself. I have to remember if I had dessert last Saturday, or was that Sunday? Am I in the clear to have it again or not? Or can I just cheat since it’s only one more day… But the never list. Well, never is a mighty long time.

Fast food: No matter how hard the Mc’s and the King’s try to convince us, we all know that stuff is bad. Tasty, but bad. It’s mass-produced, created with not nutritional value, but corporate bottom line in mind. I can avoid fast food. Where there’s a fast food restaurant, there’s usually a gas station or convenience store near by. And if you look hard enough in those places you can find granola bars, fresh fruit, yogurt, cheese, pretzels and bottled water. You can make a good lunch out of those things, and never ingest a fried or heat-lamped anything. I’m sure you have, but if you haven’t, be sure to watch Super Size Me. It’s not going to cure you of wanting fast food forever, but it sure will make you think.

Soda: Soda is bad stuff. Just google tooth in soda and you’ll see some nasty stuff. However, in my head, soda is linked to a lot of things. I really like a good cold fountain Coke at a restaurant. And it’s such a habit that sometimes I catch myself mindlessly ordering one and then have to take it back. In a store, it’s easy select 100% juice, or water, or tea. In the year before I had my son I gave up soda completely. I was trying to avoid all those chemicals and knew that since I wasn’t drinking soda I’d be drinking much more water and milk. The day my son was born they brought me a cup with ginger ale and chipped ice. It was amazing. Not as amazing as the birth of my son of course, but I do remember it quite well. Soda, you sure do make it tough on a girl.

Processed meals/frozen dinners: I talked about this one some before, but I do have to believe that there are exceptions to this one. I think if you do the work and find natural meals, without preservatives and other yucks, you can find good food that Alton would approve of. You’ve got to read the labels. Don’t eat anything that is cheap in price, cheaply made, or sold based on how stupidly heavy it is. I do think there are some companies out there that are elevating frozen meals. Kashi, evol, American Flatbread, they all seem to be doing it right.

Canned soup: I’m not a big fan of canned soup. If I’m really sick, I might seek out a traditional Campbell’s Chicken Noodle, but that’s about it. I know salt and MSG are two of the big problems with canned soup. The other is that it’s so dang easy to make your own soup. When you make your own soup, you can also add in so many of the items on the daily and three times a week list (barley, brown rice, leafy greens, carrots, fish, broccoli, sweet potato). Make 2 soups on the weekend and eat them all week-long for lunch.

“Diet” anything: This one I think is the easiest. I haven’t found anything yet that there isn’t a regular version of, and when there’s a regular version why or why would you want to eat the diet version?

 

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On Alton’s ‘NEVER’ list is “Processed meals/frozen dinners”. I get that. Alton doesn’t want us to eat Lunchables, or Hungry-Man dinners. They are full of…whoa! However, I am a working mom and sometimes you have to break the NEVER rule. I feel ok about it. Here’s one frozen line I think Alton would be ok with.

Kashi Frozen Meals

These all natural meals from the good people at Kashi are delicious, full of nutrition and sometimes even have KALE! Kashi’s tagline is 7 whole grains on a mission, so in each meal you get a delicious combination of tastes and textures, and that is just the base of the meal. The vegetables taste fresh, and there are unusual flavors you almost never find in a microwaveable meal.

The Lemongrass Coconut Chicken is really good, it’s kind of like a healthier version of what you might get at a Thai or Cambodian restaurant. I highly recommend it.

Today I ate the Mayan Harvest Bake for lunch. This has a polenta base made of their 7 whole grains mixture, plantains, sweet potato, black beans, kale and a mildly spicy sauce. It has a sweet/spicy flavor, with lots of texture and it makes for a quick, filling meal.

The best part about Kashi meals is that when you look up the ingredients, you don’t wince. In fact you maybe stand a little taller, knowing that you have just eaten really healthy, have checked a number of foods off the list (Everyday: Fruit, Whole Grains, Greens, Nuts; 3x: Sweet potato). Better yet, you recognize almost everything on the list. I’m not going to say that I knew what triticale was, but when I looked it up, I was pretty pleased with what I saw.

I think Alton would approve.

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