Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nutrition- Simple Nutrition

Blogger Disclaimer: I received a gift card from Safeway as part of this blog review.  The opinions in this post are entirely my own.
Safeway was the first grocery store I have ever been to.  Let's rephrase that- Safeway was the first American grocery store I ever went to when I was 5 and my family had just moved to this country.  Even as a wee former-Communist shopper I was overwhelmed by all the products offered at the store.  Back at that time I believe that price was my family's main deciding factor in selecting products.  
Now that I am lucky enough to be able to choose not only which foods I buy, I can choose which nutrients and qualities I want them to possess and Safeway's new program SimpleNutrition helps customers select foods based on their own criteria and nutritional needs. 
According to the website, the store now makes shopping easier by displaying tags showing the key ingredients and benefits of each product.  The store encourages customers to look for the green tags (get it, green for go!).  Below are some of the types of tags I saw on my last trip walking through Safeway:
  • Made with Whole Grains
  • Sodium Smart 
  • Good Source of Fiber
  • Low in Fat
  • Good Source of Calcium
  • Gluten Free
  • Organic
Although I was skeptical at first, the guidelines that make up the program are reasonable and legitimate.  According to SimpleNutrition, the criteria are based on "the latest published health guidelines from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)/US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and food labeling guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and USDA, and current available nutrition science." 

Below is how the program works:

Generally, individual products tagged with a nutrition benefit message such as "Good Source of Fiber" or "Low in Fat" must first meet the following nutrition criteria*:
Total Fat: 13 grams or less per serving
Saturated Fat: 2 grams or less per serving
Cholesterol: 60 milligrams or less per serving
Sodium: 480 milligrams or less per serving for individual products; 600 milligrams or less for meal and main dish products
Beneficial Nutrients: 10% Daily Value or more per serving for vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, protein or fiber
Sugars: Most products contain limited amounts of sugars. Generally, a baseline amount of sugars is allowed to account for the sugars and carbohydrates found naturally in foods such as milk, grains, fruits and vegetables. Then, a formula is applied to "cap" the total amount of sugars allowed in a particular product category. 
Overall, I think this is a very helpful program to those who are just starting special diets, making their way into healthy living, or any shopper not willing to spend time examining and reading tags for minutes at a time.  We can probably all agree that while we are becoming more aware of our nation's health concerns, a little extra help in that department can't hurt.  I especially liked the information provided on sugars.  I'm always shocked at the amount of sugar in foods that I'm shoveling into my mouth without even knowing it and I really need to watch my intake as I have a high history of diabetes in my family.  I am still hoarding the gift card for a full shopping experience and will write more about it in another post.

I hope you are enjoying your Thursday/Friday.  I'll be going on a road trip with my boys this weekend to enjoy a couple of extra days off.  See you all later!
P.S. Chino says hello

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