When I started working at Project Angel Heart, I knew the kitchen was doing a great job of tailoring our meals, making them delicious, and getting our clients the food they need every week. I also knew we receive and cook a LOT of food, so I would be doing some nutrition detective work to ensure every item we receive is what it appears to be.
Interesting ingredients can turn up in unexpected places. For example—have you looked at your jar of peanut butter’s ingredient list to make sure it doesn’t contain dangerous-to-your-heart partially hydrogenated vegetable oil? Or picked up a bag of frozen berries at the grocery store, turned it over, and found that it is full of added sugar? This is a pretty common problem with packaged foods. If you do your own ingredient detective work at the grocery store, you can usually find products without unwanted added ingredients like trans-fat, added sugars, or extra salt. The best place to check is the back of the package—look at the ingredients list for anything other than what you are buying. For example, if you pick up a bag of frozen peas the ingredients list should simply read:
Ingredients: peas and salt
Many frozen items have salt added for flavor or, interestingly enough, to keep them from clumping together as they are frozen. This is often the case with vegetables like green beans and carrots, or even with chicken breast and fish filets. Continue reading