HOTLINE: Sunday, April 14

Posted: Updated:

Maya Nahra, RD, LD
Founder, My Intentful Life, LLC

Beware of these tricky yet common nutrition label claims

NO TRANS FAT - Any products with less than 0.5 grams of trans fat - an artificial ingredient that leads to increases in artery-clogging bad cholesterol (LDL) - can be legally claimed as having zero trans fats. If you happen to eat several servings or a few different 'trans fat-free' foods a day, you can wind up consuming a measurable amount.

Label Lesson: Avoid products with partially hydrogenated oils, which contain trans fats, listed
as an ingredient.

MULTIGRAIN- Many of us confuse the 'multigrain' claim on our bread, pretzels and even chips to be the same as "whole grain" or "whole wheat" - both of which are associated with reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes. Don't be fooled - multigrain means the product is made from several types of grains which can include refined and less nutritionally-positive varieties.

Label Lesson: To make sure the product is made primarily with whole grains, check the first
ingredient listed on the label - it should have the word "whole" in it!

SUGAR FREE - More and more consumers are looking for products that are low in sugar; however, beware of sugar-free claims as these foods typically use artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols which often cause digestive issues.

Label Lesson: Be on the lookout for ingredient lists that include artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols such as aspartame, saccharin, sucralose and erythritol.

LIGHT - A product claiming to be light must have one-third fewer calories, fat or sodium than the regular version of that same product. Be on the lookout, though, as a light ice cream, for example, may have less fat but around the same calories.

o Label Lesson: Before piling up on what you believe is a 'light' snack, be sure to read the label
to see which category the food has less of and more importantly, stick to the serving size!

Chef Dad's Cabo Casserole

1 lb. Box of Macaroni Noodles
1 lb. Ground Chorizo (pork or beef)
½ lb. Ground Beef
1 Green Bell Pepper (diced)
1 Red Bell Pepper (diced)
1 Onion (diced)
2 Tbsp. Garlic (diced)
1 lb. Box of Velveeta® (cubed)
½ Stick of Butter
1 Pint (16 oz.) Half & Half
½ Cup Manchego* or Parmesan Cheese (shredded or grated)
½ Cup Bread Crumbs (Panko or Regular)
Olive oil

1)         Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
2)         In a saucepan over low heat, combine cubed Velveeta, butter and half & half then cover.  Allow ingredients to heat slowly.  Stir every few minutes until cheese has completely melted.  Turn off heat and keep covered until later.
3)         Start heating a large pot of salted water for noodles but don't put them in yet.
4)         Heat a large skillet over medium high heat for a few minutes then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and both meats.  Chop well with a wooden spoon and cook meat completely.  Remove from heat, drain fat and set aside.
5)         In a frying pan over medium high heat, sauté diced veggies (peppers, onion & garlic) in a skillet with about 1 tablespoon of each olive oil plus a few pinches of salt & pepper.  Stir vegetables often until tender, approx. 4-5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.
6)         Cook macaroni noodles per box instructions.  Drain well.
7)         In a large bowl, combine and mix together the meat, veggies, cheese mixture, noodles plus the manchego cheese.  Pour mixture into a large buttered or sprayed casserole dish.  Sprinkle about ½ cup of bread crumbs then a few tablespoons of olive oil over top then bake for 30-35 minutes or until sides are bubbling and the top starts to brown a bit.

Cooks Notes: *Manchego cheese can be found in most grocery stores in the same place you find wedges of fresh parmesan cheese.  In fact, it's the Spanish version of parmesan but slightly nuttier.  But, parmesan cheese can be used instead if you'd like.

Severson Sisters