Is That Right? Goldfish Crackers Provide 1/3 Serving of Real Vegetables
Let me be clear: I have nothing against Goldfish crackers. I agree with Cristin Dillon-Jones, Self magazine's "Eat Like Me" blogger, who wrote in a guest blog for The Checkup this summer that occasional treats such as Goldfish can be part of a healthful diet. Not every food we put in our mouths has to be a nutrition powerhouse.
The ingredient list for this new breed of Goldfish indeed names many vegetables. Its "dehydrated vegetable blend," the fifth item listed (sixth, if you count the "smiles" cutely listed first), contains dried peas, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, potatoes and a smattering of additives such as cornstarch and wheat gluten.
So one might reasonably expect the Nutrition Facts panel to report that the crackers contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C and plenty of fiber, which that particular group of vegetables should provide in abundance.
Sorry. A 56-cracker serving (one-sixth of the bag) provides just 2 percent of the Daily Value for Vitamin A, 1 gram of fiber (for 4 percent of the DV) and no Vitamin C at all.
It appears that those vegetables are veggies in name only.
Even if you tripled up your serving, theoretically boosting it to a full, rather than just a one-third, serving of vegetables, you'd be getting just 6 percent of the DV for Vitamin A, 12 percent of your daily fiber and still no Vitamin C. Plus, you'd be ingesting 420 calories (150 of them from fat) and, at 750 milligrams, 30 percent of the sodium you should have in a day.
The packaging makes clear that these crackers are meant for kids: It offers suggestions for "fun" activities such as playing tic-tac-toe using vegetables and this joke: "What did one tomato say to the other? You go on ahead and I'll ketchup." (I think that may have been Ronald Reagan's favorite riddle.)
I think it's high time we all stopped acting as though vegetables are so objectionable they need to be sneaked into kids' diets.
Here's a suggestion: For a snack, why not serve a handful of, say, pizza-flavored Goldfish--which, with 140 calories (45 of them from fat), 230 mg of sodium and no pretense of providing Vitamin A, Vitamin C or fiber, have the added benefit of actually tasting good--plus a handful of baby carrots?
Do you and your kids eat lots of fruits and vegetables? Is it a chore requiring subterfuge? Or have you managed to make eating veggies a positive experience?
Jennifer LaRue Huget
September 25, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Is That Right? , Nutrition and Fitness
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