How Can 2 Pizza Brands be So Different?
My name is Theresa and I am a working mother who sometimes uses packaged foods.
There, I said it. There are times when I feel like I have to declare myself and defend what others may think of my choices. I shouldn’t have to but when you have the “nutritionist” moniker stuck to your name people hold you by some nebulous standard. It is true that I assess very carefully what I will allow into our home and mouths for the sustenance of our family. In order to get this right as often as possible here is my technique: I read labels and ask questions.
When McCain came to me and asked me to compare their pizza pockets to the competitor’s pizza pops I kinda shuddered. I mean, it’s still a snack food, right? But if there is something different between one and the other I want to know about it. I want to be able to say yes to something that my kid wants, that will save me time and make sure she gets some real food to support her through her hours of study and dance that follow hours of school. If that “something” is tasty and she can quickly prepare it independently, we both win. I am able to entrust the snack task to her and she is less likely to eat the chips that the other kids bring and wash it down with sugar water. Minor mothering catastrophe averted. (Veggies and dip are always front and centre in our fridge to go with whatever snack she has.)
These are the key factors I found when comparing:
McCain Pizza Pockets
Pillsbury Pizza Pops
|Pepperoni Variety||Pepperoni Variety|
|Real cheese||Cheese is not listed as an ingredient|
|Source of fibre||Not a source of fibre|
|230 Calories||260 Calories|
|430 mg Sodium||620 mg sodium|
This is why those things matter:
- In Ace Your Health, I outline why consuming fried food should be avoided. In general fried foods contain higher levels of fat and are higher in calories.
- The difference between the cheese in these products is like night and day. Simply put, one contains real cheese and the other does not. While the McCain product is made with real cheese, one cannot be sure what the cheese like substance in Pops is made out of. When discussing food for my child, that is just not OK.
- I read labels looking for the presence of something good and/or the absence of something bad. One doesn’t make up for the other but it can influence my decision when directly comparing two products.
- Each McCain Pizza Pocket contains 2 grams of good fibre ( North American kids currently get about half of the recommended 19-25 grams per day, we need all the help we can get). Much of this fibre comes from the presence of flaxseeds (that are undetectable to the child’s eye or tongue, btw) which also add some much need good fats.
- Consuming fewer calories and less salt when I do choose packaged food is high on the priority list. We choose whole foods over packaged foods when possible and are careful to limit to the best packages we can find and use them in moderation.
In the final analysis, I am comfortable with the occasional McCain Pizza Pocket. The competitor…no way. It is important to note that McCain did pay for the cost of my time to assess, write and discuss this topic. They paid for my time. My nutrition knowledge, love and opinions were not for sale.
ps-some kid named Charlie is on a mission to convince his mom too let him eat Pizza Pockets…take a look…