Monday, March 7, 2011

The Middle Lands

   Ok, so by middle lands, I mean the interior of your supermarket.  See, we've already discussed the 3 most important aisles in your store, the circumference.... you know, the good for you grown stuff... no preservatives.  Ideally 80% of your grocery cart will be filled with all the goodies you get perimeter shopping.  The reality is, you will need to trudge up and down all those other aisles.  AND like snowflakes, no two grocery stores are the same... so we'll continue to shop by category...

Canned Protein

Although Tuna is canned in edible oils, brine, or spring water, the best option is in water.   Canned Tuna is a  great option if you are looking  for an  easily prepared protein.  Tuna contains a high amount of Vitamin D and is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

In the US Canned Salmon is generally wild Pacific.  Traditional canned salmon includes some skin (which is harmless) and bone (which adds calcium).  Skinless and boneless salmon is also available.  Salmon is high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and is an important source of DHA and EPA, which are important for brain function.

Chicken:Canned Chicken is high in protein and Vitamins B3 and B6.  Although it has almost identical nutritional values as fresh  chicken, it is enormously higher in sodium.


Preserves are fruits or vegetables that have been sealed for long term storage. The preparation will determine the type; Chutney, Confit, Conserves, Fruit Butter, Jam, Jelly, Marmalade. Choose a "low sugar" product as this has a reduced amount of calories and no artificial sweetener.  "Sugar-free" uses chemical substitutes such as aspartame.

Despite the salt and sugar contents, Ketchup has some health benefits.  It is a source of lycopene, an antioxidant which may help prevent cancer. This is particularly true in organic brands, which have three times as much lycopene.

Mustard averages approximately five calories per teaspoon.  Mustard seeds are high in are selenium and omega 3.  Some varieties are: yellow mustard, spicy brown, dijon, stone-ground and whole-grain mustards, honey mustard, and hot mustards

Soy / Teriyaki / Tamari:
Dark soy sauce contains 10 times the antioxidants of red wine, and can help prevent cardiovascular diseases. It is also very salty.  Teriyaki is a sweetened version of soy sauce, often using pineapple juice as the sweetening agent.  Tamari is a lower sodium version of soy sauce.  All of these sauces have BIG flavor, so only a minimal amount is needed.

Nuts/ Seeds and their Butters

Nut butters have high fat contents and can be spread.  They include:
Almond, Cashew, Hazelnut, Macadamia, Peanut, Pecan, Pistachio and Walnut butter

Similar spreads can also be made from seeds:
Pumpkin Seed, Sesame Seed (tahini), Soybean, Sunflower Seed

Nut and seed butters are rich in protein, fiber, and essential fatty acids.  Choose an unsalted butter and salt it to your liking... it will reduce your sodium intake.  Also use full fat butters.  The low-fat butters use fillers that do not reduce your calorie intake and use artificial products you  probably do not want to consume.

Nuts / Seeds:

Though nuts and seeds are higher in fat, they are mostly heart-healthy unsaturated fats.  4 to 5 servings of nuts per week can help prevent hypertension.


Rice is the most important grain to human consumption, providing more than one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by the human species.  Nutritionally superior rice varieties are brown rice and wild rices.  Always rinse before cooking.

Quinoa contains all the essential amino acids needed in your diet, making it a complete protein.  It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and easy to digest.


Always choose a whole grain bread.  Whole grain breads are high in fiber.  The nuttier the the texture, the better.  English muffins and bagels are also good sources of fiber when the whole grain version is chosen.

A good choice of cold cereal will contain at leat 4g of  fiber and no more than 1g of saturated fat and less than 5g sugar.  100% whole grain is preferable.  Kashi Go Lean is a good option.

Pasta:A whole wheat or whole grain pasta (such as quinoa or rice) is a great choice.  Whole grain has 4 - 5 g more fiber per serving than plain pasta.

Until Next Time, Eat and Shop Well,
Chef Heather


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