Monday, February 23, 2015

You Got Served

Yogurt, berries, bananas & granola!
I realize I talk about reading nutritional labels a lot but a key factor of importance when reading these is SERVING SIZE! My job majorly deals with bidding vendors for various projects and we always stress the importance of bidding apples to apples. When comparing brands and labels, you have to make sure you’re comparing like things. I give you a few real life examples because I have been bitten by the allure of a good looking label.

Granola: I was at a baby shower a few weeks ago and there was a yogurt station. With my new found love of (certain) yogurt, I decided I wanted to eat it layered with fruit and granola every day of my life. It took me roughly 20 minutes to pick out a granola at the grocery store because I POURED over labels up and down the aisle at Publix. Most granolas are pretty terrible for you and I was extremely disheartened. The majority of brands were ¼ cup serving, ranging anywhere from 25-55 (YEAH!) grams of carbs per serving with astronomical sugar counts, too. I all but gave up on this craving and decided to check the gluten free/organic section before leaving. There, I found a gem of a deal in Nature’s Path Organic and their peanut butter granola. Upon label glance, it looks like all the others with 35g carbs, 4g fiber, 9g sugar, 7g protein, 11g fat and 260 calories. However, this beautiful serving size is ¾ cup, which is 3x any other brand I found. My quick math skills tell me that if I divide all these label numbers by 3, this is the best option for me! To prove to you, dear reader, that I am an investigative journalist at heart, I give you comparison to the Bear Naked brand below.

V’Nilla Almond Fit: 22g carbs, 2g fiber, 4g sugar, 4g protein, 2.5g fat and 120 calories.
Honey Almond 10x Protein: 12g carbs, 2g fiber, 5g sugar, 10g protein, 7g fat and 140 calories.

The Nature’s Path granola is portioned like cereal you’d eat with milk at ¾ cup serving size, which is quite large for a yogurt. I made single serving bags of ¼ cup of granola to grab and take with me to work where my yogurt snack is had each morning.

Oatmeal: I was made aware of a new oatmeal, OatFit, with a cinnamon roll flavor by a friend who was telling me about the low calories and low carbs of this particular brand. I was able to find this at Target and was quickly intrigued. Upon examining the label, I realized that you have to not only look at the size but the possible GRAMS of that serving. Most oatmeal label a serving size as, “1 packet,” which is followed by a tiny little number with how big that packet is. OatFit’s packets are 28 grams where my normal Quaker Oats packets are 45 grams, which is a significant difference. The OatFit cinnamon roll has 18g carbs, 3g fiber, 0g sugar, 3g protein, 2g fat and 100 calories. My normal Quaker Oats weight control banana bread has 29g carbs, 6g fiber, 1g sugar, 7g protein, 3g fat and 160 calories. Also, to prove I’m not being paid for endorsements, I did recently purchase a box of Nature’s Path blueberry cinnamon flax oatmeal while at a trip to my new favorite store, Lucky’s Market. I didn’t have my normal brand on hand for side-by-side comparison but wish I had. This oatmeal, while vegan and organic, is 30g carbs, 3g fiber, 8g sugar, 5g protein, 2.5g fat and 160 calories for 40 gram packet. It’s pretty close to the Quaker Oats oatmeal but the fiber and sugar are way off. I will forgive it because this oatmeal is pretty legit and tastes amazing with some peanut butter swirled in. Live and learn, friends.

I seriously can’t stress enough on the importance of knowing what you’re eating and how much. I am constantly asked what I eat and for tips on how I am successful and learning little tips like this have gotten me so far! If the label looks too good to be true, look at the serving size. It can reveal so much!

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