Always, always read those food labels; here’s why

I wrote recently about finding some private label reduced-sodium canned olives at a local store. I used that term because that’s what was on the can.

It didn’t occur to me at the time that the Kroger reduced-sodium olives I bought would still have more salt than a Lindsay low-sodium olive I usually purchase at another store. But when I got home, I compared the labels and found there was indeed a major difference in sodium content.

Here’s the side-by-side comparison:

The Lindsay olives on the left have 40 mgs of salt in five olives while the Kroger olives on the right have 70 mgs.. And for some reason, the lower-salt olives have more calories! Always read food labels, you never know what you’ll find.

 

Shopping news: Kroger offers reduced-sodium olives

A daily lunch salad has become a mainstay of my low-salt, low-fat, low-sugar diet since my first stent was put in back in 2012 (a second followed in 2017). I’m always looking for items to add to my salad for some variety.

Black olives are a childhood favorite that I always include. But canned olives can be high in sodium, as can so many other possible additives for my salad such as artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, palm hearts and roasted peppers. Thankfully low-sodium olives are available. I’ve written about using low-sodium olives before.

The Kroger reduced-salt olives
and a low-sodium olive from Lindsay.

Only a few stores in my area normally carry them, so I was pleasantly surprised to see a reduced-sodium Kroger store brand canned olive at my local Food 4 Less.

Food 4 Less is a Kroger semi-warehouse concept store the mega-chain operates in the Chicago area.

The six-ounce Kroger cans were on special at two for $3, a good price.

Is it worth monitoring the salt in your olives, some might ask? I say emphatically yes, the salt content might not seem high in olives alone, but salt is in every packaged product and can quickly add up in a salad without you even suspecting.

Special shipping deal ending soon at Healthy Heart Market

Healthy Heart Market is a good place to seek out low- and no-salt products that you can’t find locally. The drawback is usually high shipping costs because many food items weigh a lot, especially if you stock up.

But the Market has a $10 flat-rate shipping deal available through Jan. 31 if you spend $75 or more. “No coupon required – simply select shipping method ‘Flat Rate Ship on $75+ Order’ during check out,” according to an email it sent out touting the offer.

healthy-heart-market-no-salt-dill-pickle
No-salt pickles, impossible for me to find locally.

I’ve ordered a variety of items from there over the year. My favorite would have to be the no-salt pickles because those are impossible to find in any stores near me.

Act fast if you want to take advantage of this shipping offer.

The Mediterranean Diet brings home the food gold again

You’ll likely hear about a million diet plans as 2020 begins, its national weight-loss time after all. Diet plans come and go more frequently than new car models these days.

But as with cars, it’s a buyer beware situation with diet plans.

Before you try any, do some serious research on its impact on your body and your health. As it happens, U.S. News does that every year, ranking popular diet plans.

The Mediterranean Diet has topped the list again this year. If you’re not sure what that is, click here to see what U.S. News says about it.

Basically, it means don’t eat like any ugly American. Cut out fatty meats, eat more fruits and vegetables and make olive oil your lifetime friend.

Th DASH Diet, which is basically a type of Mediterranean diet, came in second.

How did some of the big, commercial diet companies do? Weight Watchers (WW now) came in fourth, Jenny Craig came in 12th, and Nutrisystem came in 20th.

Good eating in 2020, avoid salt, fat and sugar and it all will be very simple for you.

A Tasty Holiday Special at Healthyheartmarket.com

Healthyheartmarket.com is a good online source for all things low- and no-salt. The one caveat is that shipping is usually expensive, especially for heavy liquid items. So I always look locally first for items I see here before buying online.

Recently though, I saw a special for an item I haven’t seen locally. The Market has an offer for $20 off cases of Francesco Rinaldi No Salt Added Pasta Sauce. That means 12 jars for $39.88

Baked mostaccoli, or do you call them ziti?
Baked mostaccoli, or do you call them ziti?

I make my own pasta sauce (and in my Italian-American family, we called it gravy). I use low-salt, imported Italian tomatoes. If you’re not accustomed to making your own, this Rinaldi brand could be a good alternative.

Trader Joe’s also sells its own brand of low-salt marinara sauce, another alternative if you have a TJs nearby. Hunt’s also has a pre-made low-salt sauce, although many main-stream supermarkets do not carry it or only carry small cans of it.

Opt for a whole wheat pasta, add gravy and you have a great crowd-pleasing meal for the holidays.

Thanksgiving is a time to think about turkey (burgers)

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner at your house, there’s likely a giant turkey somewhere nearby just awaiting its moment. But if you’re planning to eat out, or going to someone’s else’s home as I am this year (my son is cooking!!!), you might have an urge for turkey when you get home.

My Applegate turkey burgers with low-fat cheese on a whole-wheat bagel.

So Thanksgiving time could be the ideal time to try turkey burgers, which can be low in fat and salt and satisfy your craving without all the mess of making an entire turkey.

Turkey burgers generally are a good substitute for hamburgers as well since they are generally lower in salt and fat. One caveat, read the package label, some turkey burgers include dark meat and even skin which sends their fat content souring. Many add salt too, especially when they’re flavored somehow.

Applegate Natural & Organic Meats recently sent me some of its turkey burgers to sample. I like them. They pass the fat content (8 grams per burger) and salt content (105 mgs a burger) for a low-salt, low-fat diet. I broiled mine in the oven and was surprised to see them browning. Other turkey burgers I’ve tried usually remain a dull white color.

I think I left them in a bit long, so carefully monitor when you’re cooking them. I had two in a whole wheat bagel (the only whole wheat product in my local supermarket bakery the day I went). I added a slice of low-fat mozzarella cheese and used Localfolks low-salt, low-sugar ketchup to top them off. I also added a side of steamed asparagus.

Applegate turkey burgers are relatively low in fat and salt and have a very clean label in terms of ingredients.

It was a simple meal but delicious, sometimes simple is best, especially after elaborate Thanksgiving feasts. Thanks Applegate, I’d buy these burgers and serve them to company, especially when I do summer grilling.

Remember safe food-handling tips for July 4th

Lots of people will be touching lots of food this July 4th. So it;s a good time to review how to keep all the food you make and serve that day safe for people to eat, notes the Partnership for Food Safety Education. It’s created this flyer on using thermometers for grilling. It also has some general food handling tips, such as:

  • Not just the grill master, but everyone at the gathering should wash their hands with soap and water before and after handling food.
  • Always use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of grilled meat and poultry. Print the temperature chart (below) for your refrigerator.
  • Keep your cooler filled with ice, so picnic perishable foods stay chilled to 40 °F.
  • Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry or seafood. Be sure to have plenty of clean utensils and platters on hand.

Happy grilling and a happy 4th to all our readers!!!

Worried about your blood sugar? Here are some helpful tips to help control it

While this blog is called No Salt, No Fat, No Sugar, most of my efforts go to controlling my salt intake because I’ve seen how salt directly impacts my blood pressure. But I recently came across this piece that is directed at those worried about their blood sugar levels and thought it worth sharing.

Cutting sugar, as found in treats like this, is extremely tough work, confirms a new study.

6 Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar With Breakfast has some tips that sounded obvious, like eating complex carbs. One tip that surprised me, though was to not exercise before breakfast. I routinely do that because I want to get the exercising done before I start my day. I’m also routinely hungrier after exercising. Continue reading “Worried about your blood sugar? Here are some helpful tips to help control it”

Mushrooms get a memory boost from recent study

Mushrooms are a great add-in for salads and can make a great side dish for any meal. I use slices of large portobello mushrooms in my salads as a meat substitute because they give me something more substantial than lettuce to bite into. A recent study now is saying mushrooms also may aid with mental health as we age.

Trout, with mushrooms as a garnish.

I’m not one to believe in so-called superfoods because we really still know so little about how eating impacts our health or how that impact varies from person to person. Someday doctors may be able to custom tailor healthy diets for us based on our genetic makeup, but that day is far, far away.

Still, it’s always nice to see something positive written about foods that I like and that are healthier than most. Continue reading “Mushrooms get a memory boost from recent study”

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