McDonald’s new salads are harder to find than I thought

A post I wrote earlier this year about McDonald’s salads coming back to post-Pandemic McDonald’s menus has gotten a lot of attention. But what I didn’t realize when I wrote it was that the decision to bring salads back is being left to operators at the local level.

Apparently finding a salad at McDonald’s these days is a hit-or-miss proposition depending on where you live and which store you try. Very sad.

Not every McDonald’s in a given market has salads any longer. Some comments on my post alerted me about this. And when I tried online ordering from various McDonald’s in Chicago’s northern suburbs, I found only my favorite location in Winnetka, Il., had the new, slimmed-down salads.

Apparently, having any healthy options on its menu takes too much time and labor for McDonald’s to prepare, so it’s concentrating on unhealthy burgers until the day comes when people aren’t eating them any longer. Sort of reminds me of Sears ignoring the Internet while Amazon ate its lunch and its business. Sad, if my local outlet drops salads, my days of going to McDonald’s will be over.

Here’s a 7-day no-added-sugar meal plan

Having eaten a ton of sugar in my two weekend trips to New York City in August and early September, I’m more concerned than usual about my blood sugar levels. So I recently posted about unexpected ways your blood sugar can rise and today I’m posting this 7-day no-added-sugar diet plan from Eatingwell.com.

My lemon salmon. I used leek instead of scallions and it came great. I loved the garlic flavor.
My lemon salmon…salmon is one of the items on this 7-day plan that I do enjoy.

The plan is based on the Mediterranean Diet, which doctors and nutritionists generally is the best to follow for those concerned about their health.

Continue reading “Here’s a 7-day no-added-sugar meal plan”

Advice on why your blood sugar may be high

Of the three harmful foods — salt, fat and sugar — sugar has been the hardest for me to kick because, let’s face it, I love chocolate and chocolate cakes of all kinds. I jsut spent two weekends in my old home, New York City, where sugar embraced me everywhere I turned. Back in Illinois now, I have to get serious again about cutting the sugar.

My wonderful chocolate dessert at the Orrington.
A wonderful chocolate dessert I had in 2015. Cake is extremely difficult for me to give up.

So this piece is very helpful, 5 Sneaky Reasons Your Blood Sugar Is High. It turns out your sugar levels can be impactd by more than jsut what you eat.

Stress, dehydration, lack of sleep, even hormones can impact your sugar levels, the piece outlines. Medications you take also can contribute to higher sugar levels.

The article on Eatingwell.com concludes:

“Getting to know your body and why you may experience an unexpected blood sugar high will help you to be better prepared should it happen. It’s important to stay connected to your care team and seek out the help of your primary care provider when you experience unwanted or potentially dangerous symptoms.”

Burn Pit BBQ spices offer good flavor, kick in the hot offerings

Back in July, I received some spice samples from a Wisconsin company, Burn Pit BBQ. I’ve since had the opportunity to use them, and to get reviews of the spiciest ones from my formerly food-blogging daughter who loves hot sauces. We agreed all our experiences with the samples were positive. We can recommend these to spice lovers.

A sampling of Burn Pit BBQ offerings we tried.

I particularly enjoyed the garlic seasoning, called Ground Pounder, on my steaks. My daughter tried the hot sauce and found it flavorful with a hint of cajun seasoning. We both tried the Fire in the Hole mixture and found it hot but not overwhelming, a plus for someone like me who avoids the hottest of the hot.

Keep in mind these are not salt-free mixtures, but can be considered low-salt (the garlic mixture, for example, has 110 mgs of sodium in half a teaspoon; Fire in the Hole has 95 mgs). Nutrition information for each offering is viewable on the company website.

Continue reading “Burn Pit BBQ spices offer good flavor, kick in the hot offerings”

Trader Joe’s High Fiber Cereal is Back on Store Shelves!

After weeks away, Trade Joe’s High Fiber Cereal is back on store shelves in my Chicago north suburban store. I stocked up on eight boxes Sept. 1 after trying a variety of alternatives during the weeks the TJ’s cereal was not available.

Trader Joe’s High Fiber Cereal is back on store shelves, thankfully.

The shopping trip reminded me of a lot of reasons I prefer the Trader Joe’s to other high fiber cereals. Not the least of those factors is the price, $2.99 a box. For alternatives, I paid $6.99 for Fiber One, $4.99 for All Bran on sale and $4.99 for Buds on sale (each was $1.80 off their regular prices).

Given that I eat a box a week for breakfast, the savings over a year are substantial — $208 compared with Fiber One, $156 with All Bran or Buds (assuming I get those for the sale price all year).

I’m thankful that TJ’s high fiber cereal has not joined all the other low-salt, low-sugar products Trader Joe’s has cut in recent years, such as salt-free shrimp sauce, salt-free whole-wheat bread and no-salt-added marinara sauce.

Trader Joe’s High Fiber Cereal Remains MIA — Here Are Some Alternatives

Trader Joe’s High Fiber Cereal has been missing from TJ outlets in the Chicago area for two weeks now and I’m becoming more and more convinced it is being discontinued. Store managers have consistently told me it would be in the next day only to not have any that day. This is a food disaster for me since that cereal has been my breakfast go-to for the decade since my first stent went it. I’ve written about how it is relatively low in salt and sugar compared with other breakfast cereals.

Nutrition information for three alternatives to Trader Joe’s High Fiber Cereal, which is gone from TJ stores in my area north of Chicago.

But facing the harsh reality that it may join a long list of low-salt Trader Joe’s products that have been dropped in recent years, I decided to see what alternatives are available on supermarket shelves.

I bought boxes of General Mills Fiber One, Kellogg’s All Bran Original and Kellogg’s All Bran Buds. A friendly woman in the store suggested the Buds to me, saying they are her husband’s favorite. Maybe he enjoys the added salt and added sugars. Buds has 300 mgs of salt and 12 mgs of sugar, highest among the three. Eating a cup of them left me extremely gasey as well, not a pleasant feeling to go through the day with.

Fiber One looks a bit like TJ’s except the strings are darker and a but thicker. It has very little taste but at least the nutrition numbers are;t bad, 140 mgs of salt and no sugar. The original All bRan has the least salt per serving, although the numbers are skewed a but because it and Fiber One considers a serving as two-thirds of a cup while the infamous Buds calls half-a-cup a serving.

All of these cost more than TJs, by the way. I paid $6.99 for Fiber One, $4.99 for All Bran on sale and $4.99 for Buds on sale (each was $1.80 off their regular prices). I’m going to keep an eye out for General Mills coupons for Fiber One.

I’ll be visiting the New York City area shortly, I’m planning to check there to see if TJ has in fact stopped selling the one item that would regularly draw me to its stores.


Do you know what 2,000 calories look like? I’m guessing no, so read on

Everyone has likely seen it somewhere, either on a food label or on a restaurant nutrition page — portions and everything else to do with our daily nutritional intake are calculated on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet. But I doubt most people realize just how few calories that is compared to what average Americans eat every day.

The FoodNetwork.com meal plan involves a lot of food in bowls, not sure why. Photo by Polina Tankilevitch:

So here’s a great piece to read from FoodNework.com, What Does 2,000 Calories Look Like? Use it as a companion piece to something I wrote, Picturing 1,500 calories a day; it’s not much. Generally, women are advised to eat 1,500 calories a day while men get 2,000.

The FoodNetwork.com piece has menus that will put you at the 2,000-calorie mark, whether you eat meat or not, which is handy if you cook for a family with members on different diets.

There’s a lot on these menus I wouldn’t touch, but hopefully you’ll find some items you like and can add to your recipe list.

Pork Chops? Yes, they can be low-salt, low-fat too

Pork chops are not normally something I cook at home but I when I recently saw some on sale at Whole Foods, I decided to see if I could create a low-salt, low-fat pork chop dish.

The chops themselves had only 3 grams of fat per four-ounces, an acceptable amount. But with meat that lean, you need to add flavor. Most pork chops in stores don’t have nutritional labels. Because these were branded, however, they did, which helped me decide to buy them.

For flavor, I turned to LocalFolks salt-free, low-sugar barbecue sauce, a favorite ingredient of mine.

You can watch how I prepared them in the video below.

If you prefer reading it, simply oil a pan with olive oil, add the pork chops, baste them with the sauce and cook until an internal temp of 145 degrees.

The temperature you cook at will depend on where you’re cooking these, in an oven or on an outdoor grill, so I use internal temp as the indicator they’re done. Normally you would aim for 375 to 400 degrees as a cooking temp.

Warning, never eat pork if it is still red or pink in the middle, that means it still needs more cooking.

Keeping your food budget down in inflationary times — here’s a great example

I’ve written about how important it is in these inflationary times to plan your weekly grocery shopping trip or trips based on weekly sales. So I loved coming across this rather long piece on BuzzFeed: I Feed My Family Of Five For $120 A Week — Here’s What A Week Of Groceries & Meals Looks Like For Us.

Pre-planning your shopping can save you significant dollars, as seen on this receipt of mine.

The author is a mother of three form Colorado. She mentions that her weekly budget has gone from $100 to $120, a 20% increase. And she reiterates my point, writing, “I start by looking at my local grocery store’s weekly sales so I know what items will get me the most bang for my buck. This first step has become more important than ever to my planning and budgeting lately.”

There’s a lot more to read, take a look and let me know what you thought of it in the comments here.

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Pandemic Food causality — Trader Joe’s High-Fiber Cereal?

Healthier foods — that is those low in salt, fat and sugar, have been disappearing off store shelves during the pandemic, as I wrote here. By now though, you’d think we’ve seen the last of disappearing healthier foods. Not quite.

Fiber One has more fat, calories and salt than TJ’s High-Fiber Cereal, but today it was my only choice, at $6.99 a box, more expensive than TJ’s as well.

I went to two different Trader Joe’s in the northern suburbs of Chicago today only to find they had no Trader Joe’s High-Fiber cereal. At both, I was told it was not available at this time. That’s been a code in the past for times Trader Joe’s was dropping, like its salt-free marinara sauce.

The manager at the second store I visited, in Glenview, Il., told me it would be back in a day or two. I wondered where he would put it since the cereal section of the store has shrunk and been moved to the very back. There were no empty spaces for high-fiber cereal there.

I was forced to go to a mainstream supermarket and buy General Mills Fiber One, which has twice the fat and almost twice the salt per serving as does Trader Joe’s. It claims to have more fiber but getting that at the cost of more salt is not a trade I wanted to make.

We’ll see if this is just another case of a store ending sales of a lower-volume, healthier item and blaming the pandemic for it.

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