Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Recipe: Chicken Divan

Credit for this recipe goes to Parade magazine (August 5, 2012) issue. If you're looking for an even quicker and easier version, check out Chef Jeff's recipe here.
Chicken Divan
2 whole boneless, skinless chicken bBrreasts (about a 1 1/2 lb total), cooked and sliced thin
1 large bunch of broccoli, trimmed and cut into 4-inch long spears
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 stick unsalted butter, diced
5 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp medium-dry sherry*
fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
* A dry white wine can be substituted for sherry, or check out these great subbing tips. You can also pick up an affordable bottle of cooking sherry at Trader Joe's.
Serves 6 and nutrition per serving is as follows: 370 calories, 13g carbs, 32g protein, 20g fat, 120mg cholesterol, 560mg sodium, 3g fiber

1. Cook the chicken as you like it - bake it, grill it, etc. Then cook the broccoli in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water for 6 to 8 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside covered.
2. In another saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook on low, stirring for 10 minutes or until thick.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat cream with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, then add to the flour mixture. Next add the sherry and lemon juice to taste. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Arrange broccoli on a flameproof platter, a 2-quart gratin dish, or another shallow casserole dish. Top with half the sauce. Then stir 1/4 cup Parmesan into the other half of the sauce. Arrange chicken on broccoli and pour the remaining sauce over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan.
5. Broil about 6 inches from heat for 1 minute or until sauce is golden and bubbling.
I really like this recipe because it's lower-carb and easy to create a high fat version for CFers and a low fat version for the rest of the family. This would involve just making two separate sauces - one with regular sodium chicken broth and cream for the CFer and one with low-sodium chicken broth and low fat milk for the rest of the family. Serve with whole wheat pasta or brown rice for a heartier meal.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Stuff I like for toddlers

As a parent of a CFer, you soon realize the entire baby food aisle is USELESS. I've never seen so many non-fat options in my life.

How to get extra calories into a toddler? Here are some items I like for older babies and toddlers with CF. What are your favorites?

Happy Bellies Oatmeal
It's a measley one gram of fat but we really like this oatmeal for its consistency. Instead of mixing it with water or milk, we combine it with a whole jar of baby food fruit and add some butter and salt to the mix. Yum - one of Lil Guy's favorites.

Earth's Best Baby Food
Earth's Best has some good options for baby food meats, which are important for the vitamins needed for little CFers. Their Seasonal Harvest Variety Pack doesn't have a lot of fat in it but again we just added butter and salt. Lil Guy loved these combos much better than straight baby food meat (ick). You'll fare a bit better in fat content withe the Gourmet Meals Variety Pack - the beef one has a whopping 7g of fat in it!

Annie's Cheddar Bunnies
With 7g of fat per serving, the bunnies appear to be a slightly better option than Pepperidge Farm goldfish.

High Fat French Fries
You don't need to run to McDonalds every time you you want high fat fries. Found these in the frozen food section - just read the labels to find the right ones. Condiments may take a while - Lil Guy didn't like ketchup until he was about a year and a half. He also didn't like dip for chips until about that time. And he still doesn't like ranch sauce. Of course he loves the sugary sweet and sour sauce!

Plum Organics Banana Pumpkin
We always make one stop in the baby food aisle and that is for Plum Organics Banana Pumpkin squeeze bags. There are other flavors but the Banana Pumpkin packs 100 calories into We love it for quick fixes at clinic - no need for enzymes because there isn't any fat in it.

Sunmaid Yogurt Raisins
I'm on the fence about these. The tiny box says 20% daily value of saturated fat - score! But when I look at the ingredients I still see a lot of sugar. Both kids love them so I can't keep them in stock.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

CF-Related Diabetes

Interesting article on CF-related diabetes. It doesn't mention anything about diet and its impact on CF-related diabetes but I'll keep looking. It will be interesting if research eventually shows that CF doctors need to start addressing this earlier with diet changes and possibly medication.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Congrats! You're expecting a baby with what?

With improved pre-natal testing, some parents are finding out their baby has CF even before the newborn screening results. This is great news to keep CF babies healthy but can make parents very stressed out. It's hard to digest (excuse the pun) the news that your baby has CF while also going through the general ups and downs of pregnancy (READ: hormones).

So first off, congrats! You're still having a baby! A beautiful, intelligent, HAPPY baby!

Consider adding the following five items to your registry list to make your life a bit easier when baby arrives. Experienced CF parents: what would you add to this list?

1. The Diaper Genie. Yes it's pricey. Yes the refills are ridiculously pricey. No the company is not paying me for this endorsement. But CF babies have stinky poos. Even Lil Guy's pediatrician commented on it in the office one time ("Wow, that's really...pungent"). We didn't hire him for his tactfulness.

The Diaper Genie seems to be the only thing that contains the stench. I don't know if it's the state-of-the-art canister design or those $6.50 a pop refills but it's a necessity. We have one in a corner of our kitchen and can't smell a thing.

2. An electric steam sterilizer. After about a week of boiling nebs you will just about have had it with that process. We finally caved and bought one for our home...and grandma's home...and the other grandma's home.

The Avent model we have is discontinued or I'd recommend it. The new one Phillips came out with is okay - it's bigger, has a shorter cycle, three separate levels, and a couple dumb features like automatically turning on when you plug it in. Make sure to buy an electric steam sterilizer- the microwave version doesn't work with anything metal.

Percussor cup
3. Percussor cup. It takes some of the frustration out of chest therapy if you feel your hands are too big or too small. Ask your respiratory therapist for one and don't forget to upgrade to a larger size when baby gets older.

4. Paper towels. Sorry if you are one of those eco-friendly moms or dads. I was like you once too. Now I buy the jumbo pack of Bounty Select-A-Size and plant a tree every year to make myself feel better. You'll end up using a lot of paper towels to air dry the nebs (that fancy sterilizer doesn't do it for you). Plus for the extra hand washing and cleaning to keep the environment clean.

5. A good diaper rash cream. We dealt with a couple wicked cases of diaper rash when Lil Guy came home. I'm not sure if it's the body getting used to the enzymes or what. It was unlike any diaper rash I had dealt with before with cracked skin. Those were honestly our darkest days dealing with that diaper rash.

I recommend using the purple Desitin, it has the highest amount of zinc oxide in it. Desitin not working? Try a combination of Ilex paste and Vaseline. UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in San Francisco gives excellent instructions on how to use Ilex paste - follow them carefully because it's a strange substance to use!

You don't need a prescription for Ilex paste but it can be hard to find. Luckily you can buy Ilex paste online direct from the manufacturer. Here's more about how to remedy tough diaper rashes.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Pretty Decent Spart Dip

We are stuck inside today due to another air quality alert so my project du jour is to clean out the fridge and freezer of anything that is starting to head south of the expiration date. Or has already made it there.

I had just enough ingredients to make this spinach and artichoke dip that I love and wanted to share with you. The good news is it's filled with lots of yummy cheeses and spinach, it's lower in carbs and is a great source of vitamins, protein, sodium and fat. The bad news is that I made it while Lil Guy is napping so it might be all gone before he gets a chance to try it.

Pretty Decent Spart Dip

One 8-oz package of cream cheese softened (leave on the counter for a bit)
1/8 cup mayo
1/8 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese or a parmesan/romano blend
1/4 shredded mozzarella or shredded cheddar cheese
2 cloves garlic minced (or the minced garlic equivalent in a jar)
Dash of salt
One 14-oz can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained
A little bit of Asiago cheese if desired

Mix all cheeses, mayo, garlic, salt with a spatula. Then gently stir in the chopped artichokes and spinach. Bake in a greased glass baking dish at 350F for 25-30 minutes until bubbly and browned. Serve warmed with pita chips or tortilla chips.

  • CFers should make sure all ingredients are full fat and not the "light" version.
  • While I love fresh spinach, the stuff that comes in a frozen bag in the freezer section is already chopped and makes this a lot faster for preparation.
  • Don't like/don't have artichokes? Just add more spinach - about 1/4 or 1/2 cup more additional depending on your personal preference.
  • Have leftovers? Try stuffing a chicken breast with a little bit of this stuff and baking in the oven.
  • Tuesday, August 21, 2012

    No Boston Market Why!

    Was disappointed to read this article in today’s USA Today about Boston Market planning to lower sodium in their menu offerings. Am I the only CF mother that gets anxious reading stories about making food healthier? From a proposed junk food tax to healthier school lunches, I’ve become paranoid that when Lil Guy is older, he’s going to be overtaxed for his nutritional needs and labeled as the kid with the “special lunch” at school.
    Don’t get me wrong, understandably the vast majority of the U.S. population is facing an obesity epidemic while just 30,000 CFers are trying to maintain a good weight. Just another example of some of the paradoxes CF patients face in their daily lives.


    Boston Market is still an excellent place for CFers with lots of calories, fat and sodium in their meals, especially their kids meals. Check out their easy-to-use
    nutrition page.

    Go with:
    • Fried chicken; the dark meat in particular packs a lot of fat and calories
    • Meatloaf
    • Creamed spinach or squash casserole
    • Salad options – most are high-fat, high sodium
    Stay away from:
    • Chicken pot pies, they are high in fat and sodium but also pack a lot of carbs
    • Sweet potato casserole, with almost 90 g of carbs. Not every CFer may agree with our decision to shun carbs but even I think that is a lot for a side dish.
    • Watch the sandwiches too, some of them seem carb-heavy.

    All is not lost – was very happy to see this quote from Chief Brand Officer Sara Bittorf at the end of the article:  “We don’t want it to be misconstrued that Boston Market is becoming a healthy fast-casual chain. We’re never going to have the healthiest mac and cheese on the block.”

    Thank goodness for that!

    Friday, August 17, 2012

    Coconut: Did you know?

    While on vacation, found this great article on the benefits of coconut in the local grocery circular. It's attached but thought I would reprint some interesting quotes:

    “One tablespoon has more than 13g of saturated fat.”

    “In a recent study where athletes drank coconut water after dehydrating workouts, it proved to be an equally effective source of electrolytes like sodium and potassium compared to sports drinks.”

    “Coconut oil also offers immune-supporting properties and hearty-healthy benefits. The fat in coconut oil is nearly 50 percent lauric acid, which the body converts into monolaurium, a known  immune fighter that staves off viruses and bacterial infections.”

    The article also gives info about how to substitute butter or other oils with coconut oil when cooking (follow the 1 to 1 rule)

    Oh, and coconut oil has a shelf life of two years. Excellent news for our house where you always have to check the expiration date of anything you plan to eat.

    If anyone has great coconut oil or coconut milk recipes, please share! I'm still stuck with this one.

    Finally, here is a great buying resource for coconut oil.


    Monday, July 2, 2012

    Say CHEESE!

    So in my whole label-reading experiment, I have learned one thing: cheese adds calories.

    And by now all you expert parents of CFers are saying “no duh.”

    Cheese adds calories to crackers (think Cheez-Its over Wheat Thins). Cheese adds calories to casseroles and fajitas. And it does it all without adding too many carbs. Yup, there’s no doubt about it, cheese is a CFers best friend.

    The good news is when I was researching fat content of different cheeses, I came across Linda Stradley of “What’s Cooking America” and her great nutritional chart, including a long list of fat content by cheese type. Thanks Linda!

    The bad news is that some of my personal favorite cheeses actually are lower in fat than I would have thought. And be careful – swiss is a great higher fat cheese unless you accidentally buy the low fat brand.
    But I was pleasantly surprised to see Gruyere listed as one of the higher fat cheeses, which is great because I have a fantastic recipe to share for Quiche Lorraine.
    Quiche Lorraine
    3 large eggs
    1/2 cup shredded/grated gruyere cheese*
    1/3 cup heavy cream
    1/2 cup whole milk
    1/8 tsp salt
    dash of pepper
    1/4 cup finely chopped onions (we use white ones)
    8 large slices of crispy bacon (the less fat the better)
    1 9-inch deep dish pie shell frozen for 24 hours then thawed for 10 minutes

    * The secret to a great quiche is the quality of the cheese. If you have the means and budget, find a gourmet cheese shop and ask for a recommendation for the best gruyere to bake with. You won't be disappointed.
    Fry the bacon and break into small bits, trimming fat where necessary. Beat the eggs, milk and cream together. Then add the cheese and stir well. Next, add the onions, salt and pepper. When the pie shell is thawed, spread the bacon bits in the bottom of the pie shell. Pour the cheese mixture over the bacon bits, making sure that the cheese is spread evenly over the bottom of the pie shell. Bake at 375 degrees Farenheit for 35 minutes or until the crust starts to brown. Remove from oven and use a pie crust shield or just cover the crust edges with thin strips of tinfoil. Return the quiche to the oven for 15 minutes or until a fork comes out clean in the center of the quiche.
    To truly low carb it, I found a crustless receipe using bread crumbs as a base here:

    More “cheesy” articles here:

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

    Formula formula and oh more formula

    It was tough for me to write the previous post because I didn’t want to open up the breast vs. bottle mommy bashing debate. So I was thankful to receive one nice “hello” message from a fellow mom!

    The fact is, when dealing with CF, it’s pointless to argue the virtues of choosing breastmilk over formula. If a CF baby is getting enough nutrition and mom is mentally happy, then all is right with the world.

    That said…personally I hate formula. It stinks, never mixes right and is so darn expensive. But I couldn’t be a full-time working mother without it. So formula, reluctantly, is my friend.

    With Big Guy, we went through so many formulas. I tried every organic version on the market – even obscure ones from Ohio and Vermont.
    Big Guy did not tolerate a single one.

    Frustrated, I finally turned to Nestle-Gerber-whatevertheycallittoday Good Start Protect in the green can. It's like the Coca-Cola of formula. But presto chango Big Guy was happy again.

    When switching Lil Guy over to formula, I didn’t even take the chance of trying something new and the fact that the Good Start Protect had probiotics seemed like a big plus for that digestive boost.

    Here is how the top formulas on the market stack up with fat and carbs. It's really hard to tell if one whole gram of fat or carbs per bottle is really going to make a positive/negative impact on a CF baby in the long run. Ironically in our Gerber’s Good Start Protect is near the bottom of the list!

    Similac Advance Powder
    Similac Expert Care Neosure Powder*
    Similac Go & Grow Milk Powder (Toddler)**
    Enfamil EnfaCare Powder*
    Enfamil Enfagrow Gentlease Powder (Toddler)
    Bright Beginnings Organic Milk Based Organic Infant Formula
    Earth's Best Milk-Based Formula
    Vermont Organics DHA Milk Based Organic Infant Formula
    Bright Beginnings Gentle Milk Based Infant Formula
    Bright Beginnings Premium Formula
    Enfamil Newborn Powder
    Enfamil Premium Powder
    Gerber Good Start Nourish Powder*
    Enfamil A.R. for Spit-Up Powder
    Gerber Good Start Protect Powder
    Gerber Good Start Gentle Powder
    Baby's Only Organic Dairy Toddler Formula***
    All per 100 calories and 5 fluid ounces (except where noted)
    * per 4.5 fluid ounces
    ** per 5.2 fluid ounces
    *** per 4 fluid ounces

    Friday, June 22, 2012

    Want to breastfeed a NICU baby? Yes it’s possible!

    I will reveal one thing about Lil Guy’s health – he had surgery and an extended stay at a children’s hospital right after birth, and he didn’t really eat for the first two weeks as his doctors waited to introduce him to food.

    Thus, being in the NICU did not bode well for my hopes to breastfeed him.
    Still, I was adamant to his doctors and nurses that when he was allowed to have milk, he was to be exclusively breast fed. Actually, I think the conversation went something like this in the hospital…

    "If you so much as give a drop of formula to my child I’ll sue you all."

    Yes. I was THAT mother in the NICU.

    To be fair, as a mom, it was the only thing I felt I could do to help Lil Guy at the time.  If you are a new mom and stuck in the NICU on an endless repeat of the same Groundhog Day, know that it is possible to breastfeed a sick newborn.
    Here are 10 tips you might find handy:
    1. Rent a hospital grade breast pump. Even the fanciest pump at Target isn’t going to cut it to help establish an initial supply. Hospital rentals are surprisingly more affordable than you would think and with Obama’s new health care plan, they might be reimbursable.* Some children’s hospitals carry them too so if you’re going to be visiting yours for a long time, check out their pharmacy for a rental.
    2. However, the hospital grade pumps are BIG and HEAVY. I had the Medela Symphony and it was like carrying around a DJ turntable only not nearly as cool. Your NICU might have pumps on site that you can borrow and just bring your personal pump kit. Sometimes you can pump at the baby’s bedside with a screen shield. Other NICUs have separate pump rooms available down the hall. Just get a bag for your pumping supplies and some liquid dish detergent to clean on site. I was able to air dry my supplies in a clean plastic tub that I kept out of the way in the NICU.
    3. Keep a pumping chart with the day, time pumped and amount pumped. It’s frustrating to establish a supply when pumping because you can see the volume coming out and… it’s not a lot in the initial weeks. The chart will help you see changes in your supply – you should slowly start to see your supply increase as the weeks go on.
    4. Talk to your OB/GYN, NICU nurses, lactation consultants, etc. You will find different levels of measured support and conflicting opinions. That’s okay! When I talked to “experts” they differed a lot on how often to pump. I found three hours in between to be helpful at the beginning. When I tried to switch to every four hours, I felt like my body was starting to realize the baby wasn’t there. Your schedule may be different. Remember, even if you don’t get a lot of milk after let down, it’s still a signal to your body that the breast is empty and needs a refill.
    5. Nurse as soon as you can in the hospital so your child doesn’t lose the latch instinct. Be insistent to the doctors but be flexible. Lil Guy’s doctors agreed to let him nurse after I pumped just to keep his latch instinct. Ask the hospital to use the lowest flow nipples possible – babies will get lazy with higher flow nipples and they can sometimes refuse to latch after being bottle dependent.
    6. If you can, smell your infant before pumping or smell something he/she’s been wearing for a while. A baby’s smell is really important in establishing a supply. Supposedly, infant and mother can identify each other by smell within 24 hours of birth. Don’t wear perfume or scented lotion and request that your NICU visitors do the same so the baby isn’t confused by artificial scents.
    7. Sleep and nourishment are key. It is really tough to take care of yourself when you have a child in the hospital, especially if you have other kids at home or need to go back to work. This is where your spouse needs to buck up! They should always be reminding you to eat, drink and sleep when possible and they should be doing everything in their own power to make that happen. Keep a big bottle of ice water handy at all times. Get family and neighbors to drop off casseroles or heck, just go get some take out and worry about dropping the weight later.
    8. Don’t worry about the pacifiers. If your baby is getting a lot of pacie time in the NICU – perhaps to help pain management or keep them distracted for additional tests – it won’t hurt your breast feeding – in fact a new study found it may help. We like to use Soothies brand.
    9. Some CF babies seem to have a lower appetite. This was hugely apparent with Lil Guy, especially after having Big Guy (who was and still is a BIG eater). When your CF baby starts eating on his own, you may need to put him/her on a feeding schedule. Lil Guy kept sleeping through the night and I was really worried about his weight gain as a result. So we woke him up at regular intervals to eat. He wasn’t happy about it but tough love.
    10. Be your biggest cheerleader. Breast feeding a NICU baby takes a LOT of work. And you will find a surprising lack of support among family and friends who want what’s best for you and to see you get some sleep. What got me through the long nights was trash TV like Mob Wives and DVRed shows.
    Finally, as an FYI, I asked Lil Guy’s pulmonologist if breast feeding moms of CF babies needed to eat a high fat, high sodium diet to pass on to the baby and the answer is NO. So unfortunately breast feeding a CFer is not a license for mom to eat McDonalds every day. Oops.

    * It remains to be seen if commercially-available pumps will be covered (just read the fine print of Aetna’s latest policy here)

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012

    Where it counts: French fries

    Here’s a quick tip - I was browsing the excellent double freezer selection of frozen potato products at Target this weekend and came across a difference in fries. They have regular French fries and something called “fast food like fries.” The “fast food” version had a lot more fat in them. So it pays to read labels for fries apparently. I had Lil Guy with me so couldn’t pull out my camera out but I’ll try to post photos of this subtle difference later.

    Saturday, June 2, 2012

    Recipe: Turkey Meatloaf Sandwiches

    I have to give credit to Giada DeLaurentiis for the original recipe, and my best friend from my high school years for showing me how to make it with some alterations that make it easy for a novice cook like me.

    Picture of Pancetta and Turkey Meatloaf Sandwiches Recipe
    Photo courtesy of the Food Network
    • 1/2 cup plain dried bread crumbs (alternatively you can use Italian breadcrumbs and just leave out the next ingredient)
    • 1/4 tsp of Italian seasoning
    • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    • 2 tablespoons whole milk
    • 1/2 cup grated Romano (don't use the shredded kind)
    • 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (look around the veggie counter at your local grocery store, sometimes they sell ones that are already julienned and come in a resealable bag)
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat (I really like Perdue's version)
    • 1 package of bacon, preferrably without too much fat on it (cooks easier that way)
    • 4 to 6 Italian rolls (We like Gonnella's cut top hamburger buns)
    • 3 cups arugula, about 3 ounces
    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (we prefer Hellman's)
    • 1/2 cup sour cream

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

    In a large bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, seasoning, eggs, milk, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Add the turkey and gently mix to combine, being careful not to overwork the meat. Sometimes I use my hands to get it all together and shape it into a loaf.

    On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (NOT wax paper), lay out the bacon strips vertically, overlapping the edge of the slices slightly, until you've made a large rectangle shape. At one end of the rectangle, place the turkey loaf. Using the parchment paper, wrap the bacon up and around the turkey loaf to cover completely. You might need to fold the ends (with the ends of the bacon) under the loaf. This is the trickiest part of the whole recipe, you can always reshape the loaf in the parchment paper if it gets squished in this process.

    Place the parchment paper-covered loaf on another sheet of parchment paper - this will help absorb the grease that will come out from the bacon while cooking and won't make as much mess of your baking sheet. Bake the loaf until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. This usually takes about 1 hour 15 minutes in our oven and we cut the meatloaf in half about 45 minutes into baking to make sure the center is cooked well. Remove from the oven and let cool.

    Sauce (optional) In a blender, combine the arugula, mayo and sour cream and process until smooth. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

    To make the sandwiches, slice the rolls and spread with the sauce. Slice the turkey meatloaf and place on the rolls to make sandwiches.

    My Notes
    Once you get the hang of rolling up the loaf inside the parchment paper, this is an easy recipe for the whole family to enjoy. Unfortunately the original recipe doesn't list any nutritional information. But anything wrapped and baked in bacon is bound to be heavier on the fat content, right?!

    To add extra calories for CFers, toast the bread and spread some butter on it, add a slice or two of cheddar cheese, and don't be afraid to use that sauce (or sub in some ranch dressing).

    If you're trying to low-carb it, serve it like regular meatloaf (but I have to tell you it's delicious on a gourmet hamburger bun). To strip calories for non-CF family members, you can skip the sauce and trim off the bacon before serving.
    Lay out strips of bacon, place meatloaf at one end. Starting from the right, roll the meatloaf down to the left with the parchment paper.
    Fold the extra ends of the parchment paper (with the bacon) underneath the meatloaf; reshape the loaf if some shifting has occured.
    Cut meatloaf in half about 45 minutes into baking to help center cook nicely. Note the extra parchment paper helps soak up the bacon grease!
    When fully baked, cut parchment paper away from loaf and slice into thick burger-style slices.
    And serve! CFers don't forget the extra mayo/sour cream topping! (Yes, ,that is Chinet.)

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Where it counts: Sun Chips

    I love Sun Chips. Frito-Lay really has me with their promises of multi-grain healthiness. But let's be honest, they aren't all that healthy for the average person. Then again, they aren't all that healthy for a CFer either - need more fat!

    But being a Sun Chip lover, I recently bought their snack pack multipack, which gives you small bags of each of the following flavors: Harvest Cheddar, French Onion, Garden Salsa, and Original. Easy peasy to compare.

    Not much to report here. All packages hold the same total calories and total fat. But you'll get 10 fewer calories from fat with the Original version.

    And there are some interesting changes in the sodium, I presume they essentially bake the same chip and then just dust them with a different type of high-sodium powder? It's probably not enough to make much of a difference but here's the breakdown:

    Harvest Cheddar 200mg sodium
    French Onion 150mg sodium
    GardenSalsa 140 mg sodium
    Original 120mg sodium

    Thursday, May 17, 2012

    Kraft Dinner vs. Annie’s – and the bunny wins by a nose!

    I’m not sure the makers of Annie’s are going to be happy about this post…

    Macaroni and cheese is a staple food in our home. My Canadian husband calls it Kraft Dinner and refuses to eat any other brand. My personal choice is Annie’s. Regardless of preference, mac and cheese is one of those great quick meals that is easy to customize for the CFers and non-CFers in your household. Just cook the pasta and split the portions, then add whole milk and extra butter to the CF bowl and skim milk and less butter to the non-CF bowls.
    One Saturday I was embarrassed to find our pantry filled with not one...not two...but EIGHT different boxes of macaroni and cheese. All had the same serving sizes but recommended different preparations (as noted in the prior paragraph). Still, there were some interesting differences in nutritional content just with the mix in the box.

    Who knew that little rabbit was such a porker?!
    I have to say, Annie’s wins this contest hands down. It was the highest in overall calories and calories from fat than any of the KD mixes. Plus the Annie’s mixes alone had less sugar and more fiber in the carb count, and a bit of extra folic acid and Vitamin B1. I think this is because they use organic wheat shell pasta instead of an enriched macaroni product. The cons? Annie’s was a bit lower in iron and sodium than the KD dinners but extra salt can always be added.

    (mix only)
    Annie’s Shells & Real Aged Cheddar
    Annie’s Regular Mac & Cheese
    Annie’s White Cheddar Shells
    KD Veggie Mac & Cheese*
    Regular KD
    KD Spirals
    KD Sponge Bob Shapes
    KD Organic
    Fat Calories
    Total Fat
    Saturated Fat

    After comparing, I think I’ll try to convert Lil Guy over to my Annie’s preference – we can always add more salt to the mixture to increase sodium content but I like the idea of more fiber and vitamins, particularly for a carb-heavy meal.

    *A word about KD Veggie Mac and Cheese – don’t expect this to be on the shelves long, it is nasty stuff! I picked up a box thinking it was just a marketing gimmick. When I started to cook it, the smell of broccoli permeated my kitchen. Turns out they substituted cauliflower as one of the main ingredients. I’ll eat a lot of stuff but this was just gross.

    Update: The "creamy" version of any boxed mac & cheese (the one that comes with the liquid cheese package inside) packs twice as much fat but isn't a big hit in my house. Of course, nothing beats the fat content of homemade mac & cheese!