Mary’s Memo #2179


Remember the old days when the supermarket stocked only a few kinds of chips? Now the variety is astounding …. chips in every color of the rainbow and in dozens of flavors, from pickle to Tuscan Herb.

While most chips are no longer cooked in partially hydrogenated oils, a prime source of unhealthy trans fats, a one-ounce serving can contain up to 150 calories, 275 milligrams of sodium, 10 grams of fat and 2.5 grams of saturated fat. That’s 8 percent of the calories, 1 percent of the sodium, 15 percent of the fat and 13 percent of the saturated fat of your allotment for an entire day.

To appeal to health-conscious consumers, many manufacturers have rolled out “healthier” chips. It may seem like a healthier option to eat chips made from carrots or purple potatoes than ordinary potato chips, but think again. Most potato chips start with real potatoes. It’s the oil they are fried in that poses the nutritional problem. Pita chips may seem like a healthier alternative, but they are often made of white flour and fried in oil, making them a low-nutrient choice. On the positive side, chips made with lower amounts of fat can be a lighter way to enjoy an occasional snack, as long as you remember they are not a “health food.”

Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Food & Fitness
Advisor, September 2010.


My problem with chips is that I can’t stop with a single serving! Potato chips are not my only weakness. I like Bugles, too, and now there are Sweet & Salty Caramel Bugles and Chocolate Peanut Butter ones. For research purposes I ate a bag of each so I could report on them in Mary’s Memo (someone had to do it). The problem is that I ate both bags in a week! Sorry to say, the only way I can abstain from potato chips and Bugles is to not have them in the house. Once a bag is open I munch on them several times a day until they’re gone. That said I liked the caramel glazed Bugles best. They’re a tad on the pricey side, over $3.00 for a 6-ounce bag, but a tasty decadence to say the least.

If you must eat chips, pick a baked one like Lay’s Baked Tostitos and have some salsa with them. I usually buy medium-hot Pace salsa but a good cook in Bryan told me about Mrs. Wages Instant Salsa Mix available in the produce department at Chief and Rays. Mixed with a 14.5-ounce can of petite cut tomatoes, it’s ready to eat in 10 minutes. Be sure to use petite tomatoes with no sodium added or the salsa will be too salty in my opinion. Recipe makes a pint.

Finally, Keebler has introduced Flatbread Crisps in two flavors: Italian Herb and Sea Salt and Olive Oil. Unlike many other flavored crackers, Flatbread Crisps are MSG-free.


To reduce the risk of age-related hearing loss, eat fish, especially fish rich in omega-3 fats, suggest new findings from the Blue Mountain Hearing Study. People over 50 who reported eating at least two servings of fish a week had a 42 percent lower risk of developing hearing loss (prebycusis) over five years, compared to those who rarely ate fish. The higher the omega-3 intake, the lower the risk, researchers reported. Omega-3s may help preserve microcirculation in the cochlea (the auditory portion of the inner ear) among benefits, similar to how these fats help cardiovascular function.

Source: University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter, September 2010.


You may still be cooking chicken for casseroles but not me! When rotisserie chickens are on sale I usually buy one, strip it from the bones as soon as I get home, package it in 2 and 3 cup amounts and freeze for future meals. Most recipes I see call for either 2 or 3 cups of cut-up cooked chicken.
Swiss Chicken Casserole takes 3 cups.

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