Posts Tagged ‘food selection’

Grocery store shelfAre you being tricked at the grocery store? Are you sure products you are buying really are as healthy as they claim?

Many consumers are tricked by words on the label and ingredients in food into making choices which cost more money but may not be the healthiest choices. Watch out for these tricks of the trade by companies:

• Companies add vitamins and minerals to junk food or plain water. Thus, junk food appears healthier. Skip expensive waters and drink plain water. If you need vitamins and minerals take a daily vitamin pill.

• Companies use flavorings, colorings and other ingredients to create fake berries or other fruit. Check ingredients to make sure real fruit is in the product.
• Colorings and flavorings are also used in beverage drinks so you will pay more and not realize you are not getting fruit or very little fruit. Read labels to find and buy only 100% juices.

• Monosodiumglutate and hydrolyzed vegetable protein are used so companies can skimp on the real food. These usually help with meaty flavors. Check ingredients to avoid or limit these.

• Transglutaminase (enzyme) allows companies to put some pieces of meat together so it appears as a larger steak. Make sure your steak is one piece of meat.

• Companies want you to drink more soda so they add caffeine as it is mildly addictive. Drink water.

• Carotenoid Colorings such as canthaxanthin and astaxanthin are added to make farmed salmon pinker, so it looks more like expensive wild salmon. Check the ingredients or ask if “wild caught” or “farmed.”

Beware of some words such as “real, fresh, simple, premium and artisanal. “ These words do not have defined meanings in the food industry.

Real conveys the image of no fake or chemical ingredients. However, real doesn’t have to be chemical-free or not be processed food.

Fresh does not have a time period associated with it according to the Food and Drug Administration. Fresh means the food cannot have been frozen or preserved.

Simple can have multiple meanings. We think it means less processed and less ingredients. However, the food can include sugar and fat as part of the ingredients.

Premium is another word that does not have a meaning. It can trick you into thinking you are getting a better product or deal than you are.

Artisanal conveys the image of handcrafted baked goods and cheeses. Many grocery store products labeled “artisanal” are not produced by small-batch producers and may have many ingredients only used by larger producers. Check the ingredient lists.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension Fayette County

Reviewer: Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension Wood County


Jacobson, M. [2014]. Food Safety: Learn More about Food Additives with this Helpful Infographic What are additives used for and which should you avoid? Downloaded from Nutrition Action.Com Downloaded at http://www.nutritionaction.com/daily/food-safety/food-safety-learn-more-about-food-additives-with-this-helpful-infographic/?mqsc=E3775989&utm_source=WhatCountsEmail&utm_medium=Nutrition_Action_Daily_Tips+Nutrition%20Action%20Daily&utm_campaign=2014.07.19%20Daily%20Tip:%20Food%20Safety

Consumer Reports, [2014]. Consumer Reports: New food label gotchas, Downloaded at http://articles.courant.com/2014-07-12/business/hc-ls-consumer-reports-food-gotchas-20140712_1_new-food-label-consumer-reports-food-packaging

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Driving down a country road every roadside market is selling pumpkins this time of year.  Is the goal to find the biggest, roundest pumpkin?  It depends on its purpose.  If you are looking for a pumpkin to decorate – you probably do want one that is big and round.  But, if you are choosing one to cook then you want a smaller, heavier pumpkin.

Pumpkin contains antioxidants, Vitamins A and C, and some B vitamins, iron, calcium and fiber.  It is a great way to obtain your daily vegetable requirements. They can be baked, boiled, steamed or pressure cooked.  1 pound of pumpkin yields about 1 cup of cooked pumpkin.

  • Start by washing the pumpkin thoroughly with cold water.  Do not use soap, dish detergent or bleach when washing since these household products are not approved for human consumption.
  • To bake:  cut in half or pieces, remove seeds and stringy parts.  Place cut side down in a baking dish, add 1/4 inch of water and bake until tender.
  • To boil:  cut in half or pieces, remove seeds and stringy parts.  Cook in salted water, scrape out shell and use as a puree in pies, breads, or casseroles.
  • For longer storage, extra pumpkin can be frozen.

Don’t waste the seeds you cleaned out of the pumpkin, roast them.  A  one-ounce serving has 163 calories and almost 8 g of protein.  Try this recipe from the University of Illinois Extension.


  • 1 quart water
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil or melted, unsalted butter
    1. Preheat oven to 250°F.
    2. Pick through seeds and remove any cut seeds. Remove as much of the stringy fibers as possible.
    3. Bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the seeds and boil for 10 minutes. Drain, spread on kitchen towel or paper towel and pat dry.
    4. Place the seeds in a bowl and toss with oil or melted butter.
    5. Spread evenly on a large cookie sheet or roasting pan.
    6. Place pan in a preheated oven and roast the seeds for 30 to 40 minutes. Stir about every 10 minutes, until crisp and golden brown.
    7. Cool the seeds, then shell and eat or pack in air-tight containers or zip closure bags and refrigerate until ready to eat

On a nice fall day traveling through the countryside, choose a couple of pumpkins, a big, round one for decoration and a small, heavy one for cooking and eating.

Author:  Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewed by:  Elizabeth Smith, NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, Ohio State University Extension.

Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.


Ohio State University Extension Ohioline, Selection, Storing and Serving Ohio Squash and Pumpkin. http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5530.pdf

USDA ARS NAL Nutrient Data Laboratory http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/list

University of Illinois Extension, Pumpkins and More. http://urbanext.illinois.edu/pumpkins/seed.cfm

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