Archive for February, 2011

Sow Your Oats

February 27, 2011


Mc Donalds recently added oatmeal to their fast food breakfast line-up. So why does this “bowl of wholesome” as their marketing refers to it, contain 22 ingredients?

I just checked my box of the Quakers Old Fashioned Oats, and it contains just one;

“100% natural whole grain Quaker quality rolled oats.”

To prepare it, you need to add water, and cook it for about 5 minutes.  Easy, right?

So how did McDonalds take one of the simplest and healthiest foods and make it so complicated, and nutritionally deficient?

In making it more compatible with the average American taste palette, they have added cream, sweetened dried fruit and brown sugar, and a variety of unpronounceable ingredients that preserve, color and flavor the cereal.

There are also 32 grams of sugar, 6 grams of fat, 160 grams of sodium and almost 300 calories per serving.

Conversely, a Snicker’s bar has only 19 ingredients, 30 grams of sugar, and 280 calories. While hardly a sound breakfast choice, by comparison it’s not an unreasonable one.

The entire 42 oz. tub of Quaker oats contains about 30 servings and cost $5.89, at an overpriced New York City grocery store. Do the math, and it equates to less than 20 cents per bowl.

The McDonalds version costs $2.38 per serving, and I would gather that it takes at least 5 minutes to wait in line, order, and pay for it.

Unless you have a major craving for sodium stearoyl actylate, or carrageenan, the homemade version wins hands down.

Which one are you going to have this week?

photo: Glasshouse Images

Pay it Forward

February 10, 2011

What would happen if you had a restaurant where you let the customers decide how much to pay for their meal?

Panera Bread tried the concept on for size, and has created a successful business model based on the honor system, and a “pay what you wish” policy.

The first nonprofit Panera Cares eatery opened in Clayton, Missouri and expansion plans are already underway.
When an order is placed, the cashier gives the customer a suggested price, and accepts whatever they offer, no questions asked.  According to the chain, about 60-70% pay the full amount, with about 15% paying extra, and another 15% paying less or nothing at all. A handful have left generous donations, such as the customer who left $20 for a cup of coffee.

A Panera spokesperson says that the nonprofit chain is a challenge to other corporations to push their philanthropy beyond writing checks.

“The fascinating question is: Can we take our skills, our core competencies and apply them very directly to solving some of the problems in society? And not just for publicity, but to make a difference.”

Given the early indications of the concept’s long term success, the answer appears to be a resounding yes!

photo: Glasshouse Images

Food Rules

February 1, 2011

Yesterday, the government released its updated food and nutritional guidelines for 2010. No big surprises here, except that it took a large team of government appointed experts to come up with it. In a nutshell, it’s everything we should already know:

  • Eat less and exercise more.
  • Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and less fast food.
  • Eat lean meats and seafood, and less fatty foods.
  • Cut sugar and sodium intake, and drink more water.
  • Eat less of the white stuff, and more whole grains.

Sound like a no- brainer? Then why aren’t more Americans doing this?

Statistics show that a whopping 72% of all men, and 64% of all women in this country are over weight. Clearly, it will take more than good advice to end the obesity epidemic.
What would it take you to change your eating habits for good?

photo: Glasshouse Images

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