Bonnie: Tyson just introduced these flavored balls of chicken coated in a highly seasoned breadcrumb mixture. "For whom?" I wondered as I began to test them. Who would want to eat an additive-laden, Ping-Pong-ball-sized piece of chicken with 50 to 80 calories, 2 to 4.9 grams of fat, and 150 to 226 milligrams of sodium? No one I know.And then serendipitously an Any'tizers commercial appeared in the background on TV. I turned and saw a mom serving these to trim, adolescent boys. You know the kind: kids who grow almost daily, need additional calories, eat without thinking, and wouldn't notice or mind the nutritionals of Any'tizers or an occasional piece of gristle. They're the only people I might recommend these to.
Carolyn: The Any'tizers name markets these new Tyson frozen fried-chicken treats as appetizers you can eat anytime. Thanks, Tyson, but as an adult who eats cookies for breakfast and cereal as a snack, I don't need your permission. Tyson would have been smarter instead to emphasize the superior quality of these products to their many freezer-case and fast-food competitors.
I know all companies say their stuff is the best, but in this case, it's true. Any'tizers are real white meat chicken in stick, nugget or boneless "wyng" form. The Chicken Bites contain real bacon, jalapenos and cheese. The result is a wonderful Cheddar & Bacon but a too-hot-for-tots Cheddar & Jalapeno.
The Wyngs are also delicious but less distinct. The Homestyle Chicken Fries are the only Any'tizer I wouldn't recommend not because they're bad, but because the Ranch Flavored Chicken Fries are so much better.The line as a whole could be improved with the addition of sauce pouches. The boxes feature recipes to make dipping sauces, but I doubt there's one Any'tizer snacker in 100 who could be bothered to do so. Duh that's why they're buying Any'tizers instead of making their own chicken snacks from scratch, Tyson.
Breyers Smart! Yogurt With DHA Omega-3. Strawberry, Blueberry, Mixed Berry, Peach, Black Cherry, Red Raspberry, Pineapple and Strawberry-Banana. 79 to 99 cents per 6-ounce cup.
Bonnie: Eating a container of yogurt is good for many reasons. It's a good source of calcium, protein, and important vitamins and minerals even before yogurt makers began adding in other good-for-you ingredients. These include probiotics, fiber and now (in Breyers Smart!) DHA, or Docosahexaenoic acid, a heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acid.
Breyers calls this yogurt Smart! because of what the company claims are the "brain-boosting properties of life'Sdha," the manufactured omega-3 DHA that it has added to this yogurt. Some recent research has connected DHA to brain functions, but those studies are not conclusive.
Moreover, a 6-ounce cup of Smart! yogurt contains "just 32 milligrams of DHA as much as you'd get in three-quarters of a teaspoon of salmon," according to consumer watchdog group CSPI, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (a fact that Breyers does not deny).
So reach for these yogurts not to enhance your brain health, but just for the goodness of yogurt itself.If you want more DHA, follow the American Heart Association's recommendation to eat fatty fish mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon at least twice a week.
Carolyn: For shame, Breyers, trying to hawk your Smart! yogurt on a token amount of brain-boasting DHA (as Bonnie just explained). Maybe Breyers is hoping that people with concerns about their brain functions won't be smart enough to look into whether this product is worth buying or not. That's obviously not you, if you're reading this.The real shame is that Breyers doesn't have to stoop to such chicanery. Its yogurt varieties already have a taste and texture advantage over other brands. They are the yogurts for people who don't like the sour taste of yogurt they're so sweet and smooth. This Smart! variety is also one of only a handful of mainstream national brands with fruit on the bottom. Truly smart people will buy these yogurts only for those reasons.
Del Monte Organic Canned Vegetables. Cut Green Beans, French Style Green Beans, Sweet Peas, Whole Kernel Corn, Baby Leaf Spinach and Sliced Carrots. $1.25 per 13.5-ounce to 15-ounce can.
Bonnie: Del Monte has just expanded its organic line to include six more vegetables. Like the others in this line, these are grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers, and are thus good for our environment.
All the veggies contain the eponymous vegetables, some sea salt and/or sugar. Nothing else, except some calcium chloride in the carrots to provide, as the company says, "a consistent texture throughout the growing season." Nutritionally, they're all good for you, containing lots of vitamins and minerals and some fiber.
Frozen vegetables are my convenience vegetable of choice because of their fresher taste. But I'd recommend Del Monte Organic over other canned vegetables in mixed dishes where the softer texture of canned veggies isn't as noticeable.Whichever you choose, try to eat the government-recommended five servings (or 2.5 cups) of vegetables each day, which also includes legumes such as beans and lentils.
Carolyn: You might think organic foodies would mainly buy fresh vegetables. Apparently not, or Del Monte wouldn't be expanding its line of organic tomato products to include veggies.
There is no solid scientific evidence to support the idea that organic food is any safer, healthier or more nutritious than foods grown with conventional farming methods. But organic is definitely better for the environment. If that matters enough for you to be willing to pay the 25 percent premium over conventionally grown foods, then I commend these to you.At least these are less expensive than organic canned veggies from smaller natural food companies like Westbrae.
Bonnie Tandy Leblang is a registered dietitian and professional speaker. Carolyn Wyman is a junk-food fanatic and author of "Better Than Homemade: Amazing Foods That Changed the Way We Eat" (Quirk). Each week they critique three new food items. For previous columns, visit www.supermarketsampler.com, and for more food info and chances to win free products, visit www.biteofthebest.com. © Universal Press Syndicate