Chocolate syrup update!

>> Thursday, July 31, 2008

Last week I posted a review of a HFCS-free chocolate syrup that would do in a pinch but wasn't quite what we had hoped for. Well, I found another HFCS-free chocolate syrup at our grocery store this week! And best of all, it's perfect. No funny metallic aftertaste with this one, and it has a very simple ingredient list (Organic Sugar, Water, Organic Cocoa; Organic Vanilla Extract; Xanthan Gum). So, keep your eyes open for Santa Cruz Organic Chocolate syrup. It gets two thumbs up from us!


Homemade, kid-friendly trail mix

>> Tuesday, July 29, 2008

One of the tips that was given in The Dinner Diaries was to mix nutritionally-lacking foods with nutritionally-superior foods to make the good foods more appealing to children. The author would make a trail mix that mixed the "bad" foods that her kids craved with the "good" foods that she wanted them to have. A very simple concept, but not one I had really thought of before. I've hidden vegetables in cookies and that sort of thing, but I had never put the good stuff in plain view of my picky child before. I tried it recently with my son, and it worked!

Here's the trail mix that I made recently for Ben: a handful of Reduced Fat Cheez-Its (HFCS-free, of course), a handful of almonds, and a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds. He really enjoys this trail mix and asks very specifically for it as a snack. Best of all, it's packed full of good fats (including wonderful Omega-3 fatty acids), vitamins, and minerals thanks to the nuts and seeds! And, it's fluid. I can change the mix to suit his ever-changing mood, and since his food likes seem to change daily (and sometimes by the minute), that's important!

If you have any suggestions for a healthy but kid-appealing mix, let me know! Sometimes my mind gets stuck in a rut and overlooks great combos.


The Dinner Diaries - a book review

I recently finished the book The Dinner Diaries: Raising Whole Wheat Kids in a White Bread World by Betsy Block. I bought it because the title really reflects what we're trying to do as parents. The book is about a mother of two - including one very picky kindergartener - trying hard to make her family's diet both ethically sound and super healthy.

The book is chocked full of information - vitamins, eating locally, eating sustainable foods, whole grains, fish, and more - but it's written in a conversational, anecdotal way. It was funny, sometimes a little disheartening (since I'm after some of the same goals), and sometimes inspiring reading of her family's trials as they worked to change their diet. The kids (and sometimes the husband) were resistant to all of the changes and compromises had to be made along the way. I loved that even though the book was about very high-minded eating concepts, it never felt preachy. It's just a book about one mother's quest to do what she feels if right for her family.

I learned a lot from the book, and it's a great jumping off point for my own nutritional education. As much as I enjoyed the book, though, I did find myself skimming a few sections - especially sections that I wasn't as interested in for my own family (like eating locally - a wonderful thought, but not one that I'm going to put into practice in my current location) - and sometimes wishing for more in depth information. Still, for what it was, I thought it was an enjoyable and humorous book, and it will stay on my shelf for me to refer back to.


Ketchup review

>> Monday, July 28, 2008

When we started on this quest to rid HFCS from our home lives, I was really more than a bit concerned about finding a suitable ketchup replacement. My husband is a ketchup fiend. He loves ketchup and uses it liberally. And until recently, only one ketchup would do - regular, HFCS laden, Heinz ketchup. He was adamant about his ketchup brand, and I have to admit that I thought that Heinz was the best too. So, I'm more than a bit surprised that we found three HFCS-free ketchups that we find perfectly acceptable, and we found them fast. Yay!

Let me start by saying that there are not many ketchups out there that do not have HFCS as an ingredient. And the ketchups that are HFCS free are muy expensive. It probably isn't surprising that all of the HFCS-free ketchups that I found were organic. I'm not knocking organic foods, but the organic label generally knocks a product's price into a higher zone. I know that organic foods generally cost more to grow in large quantities, but I also suspect that an extra premium is placed on foods simply for the organic label. Is it too much to ask for some non-organic products that don't contain HFCS? But I digress...

Back to ketchup. Here's what we found. First up, Heinz Organic Tomato Ketchup. It has a good texture that is very much like the HFCS-containing Heinz ketchup. I thought that the flavor was very much like the original Heinz too, but my husband thought there was a slight flavor difference (though he couldn't or wouldn't elaborate on the difference). The only problem with the Heinz is that it was the most expensive of the three ketchups that we found at 20 cents an ounce. (I can get regular Heinz ketchup on sale for 6 cents an ounce!)Our next ketchup find was Muir Glen Organic Tomato Ketchup. My husband (here on out referred to as Ken, since that's his name) thought that it had a pleasant worcestershire kind of kick to it that Heinz doesn't have. The texture, which is a bit runnier and grainier than Heinz, reminded me of ketchup you might get at a cheap diner. Overall, the flavor was pleasant, and even though the texture is a departure from what we're used to, we could be happy using this ketchup.Last is Wild Harvest Organic Ketchup. Wild Harvest is Albertson's new organic line (at least, I think that it is exclusive to Albertsons). This ketchup's texture is kind of in between the organic Heinz and the Muir Glen ketchups. And it had a fine flavor. (I couldn't get a flavor review from Ken, and I'm not so much of a ketchup connoisseur to have much of an opinion on the flavor.) And, at 13 cents an ounce, the price is almost bearable!
In the end, we've decided to go with the Muir Glen ketchup. Price is what swayed us. At the grocery store, we can get it for 16 cents an ounce - not as economical as the Wild Harvest ketchup. But, we don't mind buying in bulk, so I just ordered a 12 pack of Muir Glen ketchup from Amazon for 11 cents an ounce. That's a lot of ketchup, but we'll go through it fast!


Chocolate syrup review

>> Friday, July 25, 2008

We had a heck of a time finding a chocolate syrup that doesn't have HFCS in it. We use it in chocolate milk, which is about the only way I can get my 4 yr old to drink milk these days, and to give my almost 2 yr old her vitamins. But then one day a HFCS-free chocolate syrup magically appeared at our local health food store.

So, we've been using Ah!Laska brand chocolate syrup. Take a look at it's ingredient list:

Organic evaporated cane juice, water, organic cocoa (non-alkaline), xanthan gum (a natural fiber thickener), organic vanilla, citric acid

Pretty innocuous. It's thicker than regular Hershey's syrup and has an odd slight-metallic aftertaste. I don't know what the aftertaste is all about, but my husband and I both experience it. Maybe it's because the cocoa is non-alkaline (I'm pretty sure Hershey's syrup uses Dutch cocoa, which is alkaline treated)? If someone knows, fill me in! It does a fine job making chocolate milk, though, and I find that chocolate is chocolate with Emma.

We do have another option at our fingertips - one that a friend alerted me to. It seems that Hershey's Sugar Free Syrup is also HFCS free. But take a look at it's ingredient list:

water, erythritol, glycerin, cocoa, natural flavors, citric acid, xanthan gum, salt, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, caramel color, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, vanillin, artificial flavor, zinc sulfate vitamin e acetate, niacinamide and biotin

A little more confusing, no? I had to look up what erythritol was. In case you're curious as I was, it's a plant derived sugar alcohol that is 70% as sweet as table sugar and has no calories. Sugar alcohols are sometimes used in sugar-free products for sweetness because our bodies don't process them the same way that they do sugars. They don't cause tooth decay (xylitol, another commonly used sugar alcohol, actually inhibits tooth decay), and they don't really impact blood sugar levels. One problem with sugar alcohols is that because they aren't completely absorbed by our bodies, they can ferment in the intestines and cause bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Lovely. Erythritol is a smaller sugar alcohol than most of the commonly used sugar alcohols and doesn't cause as many intestinal problems as the others, but consuming too much can still lead to these unpleasant side effects.

Glycerin was another unexpected ingredient - mainly because it was the third ingredient. Glycerin is a common candy ingredient as it helps with moisture retention and is also a sweetener, but I don't recall seeing it used in such amounts in a food product before.

Between the erythritol, glycerin, and all of the preservatives, artificial sweeteners (Sucralose, aka Splenda, is also in there), and artificial flavors, we've decided to stick with the Ah!Laska syrup despite the metallic aftertaste. It's not a home run, but it's good enough.


Maple syrup review

>> Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Back when we dined in blissful ignorance on HFCS-containing foods, our favorite syrup was Log Cabin. The first ingredient in Log Cabin's list - and on pretty much every non-pure maple syrup out there - is HFCS. So, we switched to pure maple syrup. You might think that maple syrup is maple syrup, but not so. There are different grades and different classifications within the different grades, and they all have different flavors.

Unfortunately, the only kind of maple syrup that the grocery stores out here sell is Grade A Dark Amber, and the maple flavor in that grade is just a little too strong for mine and Ben's tastes (though my husband loves the stronger flavor). So, after doing a little digging we learned that Grade B actually has a stronger flavor than Grade A, and that Grade A Medium Amber and Grade A Light Amber are most commonly used as table syrups. Amazon came to our rescue, as usual. We were able to order some Grade A Medium Amber maple syrup. And, I'm happy to say that it has a much less pronounced maple flavor that is just right.

I've found some benefits to using maple syrup. First, it isn't nearly as viscous as Log Cabin and the other HFCS based syrups, and with the thinner consistency a little maple syrup goes a long way - and that's a good thing because it's expensive! Second, did you know that maple syrup actually has some health benefits? It contains a ton of manganese and zinc - two trace elements and natural antioxidants that are good for your health. It's also loaded with calcium - the same amount as whole milk! (That just blows my mind - in a good way.) Last, it has fewer calories than corn syrup. With all of that going for it, I can overlook the steep price, I suppose, and not feel so bad when we have a syrup laden breakfast.


Salad dressing review

>> Sunday, July 20, 2008

I have a bunch of HFCS-free products to review! We've had a lot of success finding suitable substitutes for most of our favorite HFCS-containing foods, so look for reviews to slowly trickle in. I'm going to start with Thousand Island salad dressing.

We eat a fair amount of salad with our dinners, and one of our rules is that Ben (our 4 yr old) has to have a small lettuce salad too. Even though he's not much for vegetables (with a few exceptions), he's come to accept this and not complain about it - as long as his salad has his beloved Thousand Island dressing on it. That presented a minor challenge when we went HFCS free because it seems that most of the conventional salad dressings (like Kraft and Wishbone) have HFCS in them, and few of the organic or "healthy" lines of salad dressings have Thousand Island in their lineup.

We did find a fine substitute, though. Annie's Naturals Organic Thousand Island Dressing is HFCS free and very tasty. In fact, I think that we might like it better than the Kraft version we had been using. It's creamy and has a more pronounced dill pickle flavor. It's a yogurt base, but I don't think that it has any active cultures in it - too bad because then it would really be a home run. The only downfall is the price. Luckily, a little goes a long way, so I'm not going to a moan too loudly about the slight price increase.

(Oh, just as and FYI, I think that Newman's Own Thousand Island also does not contain HFCS, but I haven't seen it in our stores here yet even though they carry Newman's Own. I'm guessing that it would be a little less pricey than the Annie's salad dressing.)


Surprising HFCS food of the week

>> Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This week's food is applesauce. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised that it has HFCS in it, but I was. I guess I wouldn't have been surprised if it had been one of the funkier twists on applesauce - like cherry flavored applesauce, or Scooby Doo! (from Mott's) applesauce - but it was just regular applesauce. Both Mott's and Mussleman's regular (or original, depending on the brand) applesauce contain HFCS. Go figure. HFCS is the second ingredient listed - bleh! The unsweetened applesauce does not have HFCS, and there are probably other brands that sweeten using cane sugar, but if you're looking for a HFCS-free applesauce, beware and read those ingredient labels!

The Natural Mott's at the center of this picture is the only applesauce without HFCS!


High maltose corn syrup

>> Monday, July 14, 2008

A friend asked me about high maltose corn syrup the other day and whether it was as bad as HFCS, and I had absolutely no idea what the stuff was. So, I thought I'd educate myself and then do a post on high maltose corn syrup in case any of you dear readers run across it in an ingredient list.

There are lots of different sugars out there, and maltose is but one of them. For example, lactose is a common sugar found in dairy products that is a disaccharide (or two sugars joined together) of glucose and galactose. (People have lactose intolerance when their body is missing or doesn't have enough of the enzyme lactase to process the sugar.) Fructose is a sugar that is found in fruit and honey. Maltose is another commonly found sugar. It's a disaccharide that is composed of two glucose molecules. It also goes by the name "malt sugar" and is the primary sugar in beer. Maltose isn't as sweet as fructose. Fortunately, our bodies have an enzyme (maltase) that easily breaks down maltose into two glucose molecules, and glucose is easy for our bodies to process.

So, high maltose corn syrup (also known as maltodextrin) is a corn syrup that is rich in maltose, just as HFCS contains fructose as its major sugar. High maltose corn syrup is a specially prepared acid-enzyme converted corn syrup. High maltose corn syrup is used to replace sucrose (table sugar) because it can improve flavor, body, and texture while imparting resistance to color formation, moisture absorption, and crystallization in products such as hard candy (

So, there you go. The short answer is that high maltose corn syrup is still a processed food, but it is not nearly as heinous as HFCS. It's basically maltose (a couple of nice glucose molecules stuck together) floating around in a glucose syrup. I haven't seen high maltose corn syrup yet, but I have seen maltodextrin.


Why are we doing this again?

>> Sunday, July 13, 2008

Oh yes, the fructose. So what do you do when fructose is listed as a separate ingredient? Since we're giving up HFCS because of the potential problems that consuming loads of fructose might have, right now I'm taking the tack of giving up foods with fructose as an ingredient too. A healthy diet shouldn't have too much of any sugar, but fructose in particular gives me the willies because our bodies seem to have a difficult time metabolizing it. High fructose consumption has been linked to diabetes, high triglycerides, and bone loss. Here are a couple of article excerpts that go into a bit of detail about fructose problems:

a Washington Post article (see second article in this compilation:

For example, consumption of glucose kicks off a cascade of biochemical reactions. It increases production of insulin by the pancreas, which enables sugar in the blood to be transported into cells, where it can be used for energy. It increases production of leptin, a hormone that helps regulate appetite and fat storage, and it suppresses production of another hormone made by the stomach, ghrelin, that helps regulate food intake. It has been theorized that when ghrelin levels drop, as they do after eating carbohydrates composed of glucose, hunger declines.

Fructose is a different story. It "appears to behave more like fat with respect to the hormones involved in body weight regulation," explains Peter Havel, associate professor of nutrition at the University of California, Davis. "Fructose doesn't stimulate insulin secretion. It doesn't increase leptin production or suppress production of ghrelin. That suggests that consuming a lot of fructose, like consuming too much fat, could contribute to weight gain." Whether it actually does do this is not known "because the studies have not been conducted," said Havel.

Another concern is the action of fructose in the liver, where it is converted into the chemical backbone of trigylcerides more efficiently than glucose. Like low-density lipoprotein -- the most damaging form of cholesterol -- elevated levels of trigylcerides are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. A University of Minnesota study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2000 found that in men, but not in women, fructose "produced significantly higher [blood] levels" than did glucose. The researchers, led by J.P Bantle, concluded that "diets high in added fructose may be undesirable, particularly for men."

This quote found in Wikipedia ( puts it more succinctly:

"When fructose reaches the liver," says Dr. William J. Whelan, a biochemist at the University of Miami School of Medicine, "the liver goes bananas and stops everything else to metabolize the fructose."

Not everyone agrees that fructose causes any metabolic problems, but I've read enough to think that while we won't be hurting ourselves by limiting the amount of pure fructose, we may be harming our bodies by consuming too much of it. The science behind fructose metabolism is complex (and those two little blurbs above don't even hint at the complexity), but there seems to be enough scientific evidence pointing at fructose as a bad player for us to cut it out. There's plenty of information out there from the opposing camp on why fructose and HFCS are no worse than sucrose out there too, but I'm not going to spend time on that. If anyone out there is interested and wants to see what that camp has to say, e-mail me and I'll dig up some sites with that information for you.

I've been really surprised by how many foods have pure fructose listed as an ingredient. Lots of "health foods" use fructose instead of HFCS. I guess because it's super sweet (1.2-1.8 times sweeter than sucrose) and sounds healthy. It actually has some really useful properties that make it very attractive for food production - such as flavor enhancement, shelf stability, surface browning, and others. I was surprised to learn that pure, crystalline fructose is a relatively new thing. It's only been around for about 20 years. It's often a recommended sugar for diabetics because it doesn't give the same insulin response as other sugars. But while a little is not a bad thing (and might even be a good thing), we're so bombarded with fructose that I'd rather do away with it all together in our home foods - at least in a pure form.

We will still get fructose from fruit and honey, but that fructose will come along with all of the benefits of fruit and honey. We'll also get fructose in plain ole table sugar. Table sugar - aka sucrose - is a disaccharide of glucose and fructose. At the very least, the body has to break up that disaccharide enzymatically to free the fructose - a step that is missing with pure fructose and HFCS.

But that brings me to the next reason why we're doing this. I want us to eat healthier. Period. That means less sugar, less bad fat, more good fat - better food in general. And that is HARD, especially when you have a 4 year old who will choose a cracker or chip over a piece of fruit every time - and don't even bring up having a vegetable as a snack! We do pretty good at dinner time. They eat what we eat or nothing at all. But snacks are just hard. And it becomes even harder when places like summer camp (that touts serving healthy food) serves things like electric blue and hot pink yogurt (yes, loaded with HFCS) or chocolate pudding as a snack. (To be fair, they do also have fruit or veggie snacks. And, to be fair, my dear, beloved 4 yr old son refuses to eat the fruit or veggie snack every darn time.) And it's even harder when it's so easy to toss a processed snack in a bag as you step out the door. Or to give a processed snack instead of a piece of fruit because you know they won't whine about a pack of crackers. Giving up HFCS and pure fructose brings us a step closer to my goal of healthier eating simply because it eliminates so much (but not all!) of the junk food out there.

I'm reading a couple of books right now that are driving home the importance of eating well - especially for children. And then you hear statistics about how life expectancies are starting to go down for the first time. Why is that? I'm sure that there are a whole host of reasons, but I would bet that the quality (and quantity) of food that we're eating is a big factor. This is really important stuff, and it feels like it's us against the world! And it doesn't help that the foods that aren't as good for you taste SO good - especially to a child. When I was growing up, I was as likely to eat a piece of fruit or a carrot stick for a snack as I was a cracker or cookie. I had both available to me, but there was a balance. I want my kids to find that balance. I want my kids to recognize the deliciousness of a good apple and the lusciousness of a peach. I want them to know the crunchy sweetness of a carrot and not look at raw vegetables with disdain.

We've got a ways to go, and giving up HFCS is just a start. Somehow, I want to teach my kids how to balance good foods and bad foods (because the bad foods will always be out there), but first I have to find ways to get them to like the good foods. Heck, I have to find ways to get my picky eaters to even TRY the good foods! We won't be completely giving up the bad foods (though HFCS has been purged from this house!), but I do want the balance to switch in favor of good foods around here. This is going to be a slow process, but I hope and pray that we can make it a lifelong change.


Surprising HFCS food of the week

>> Thursday, July 10, 2008

I missed posting a surprising HFCS food last week. Sickness and company kept me busy. But, I'm back!

And this week's surprising HFCS containing food of the week is....Lea & Perrin's Worcestershire Sauce! When you look at a Lea & Perrin's Worcestershire sauce bottle you think tradition and fine ingredients. I mean, it has a seal that says "Same Premium Quality SINCE 1835" on it, and the name of the sauce is even The Original Worcestershire Sauce. Smart marketing! It's implied that they've been using the same recipe since 1835, but it never actually says that. So, imagine my surprise when I saw that the third ingredient - after vinegar and molasses - is good ole HFCS. Since HFCS has only been around since the '70s (and I'm not talking about the 1870s), I think that it is safe to say that the original recipe has been tweaked a bit since 1835.

There are non-HFCS Worcestershire sauces out there. We don't use a ton of the sauce, so I can't vouch for their flavor vs. Lea & Perrin's sauce, but neither Western Family brand nor French's brand contain HFCS.

Special thanks to Consumer Reports. A recent edition pointed out that Lea & Perrin's has HFCS in it on it's funny back cover section.


Chewy granola bars

>> Monday, July 7, 2008

As promised, I'm posting the recipe for Chewy Granola Bars. This is a really tasty recipe. The bars are thin and more delicate than a store-bought bar, but soft and chewy and they pass the Ben test. I get about 16 small bars out of a batch. I haven't experimented much with the recipe yet, but it's a recipe that can be customized to whatever mood you're in. I'm making a batch tonight with 3 extra tablespoons of flaxmeal in it, and just tasting the raw mix, I can't even tell that it's in there. Score! Future additions will include dried fruit (though must be careful with that because Ben might refuse to eat bars with dried fruit chunks) and also substituting real dark chocolate chips (or chunks if I can't find good dark chocolate chips) for the semisweet chips.

So, here you go! Hope you enjoy as much as we do!

Chewy Granola Bars

3 cups rolled oats (I used quick oats for a finer texture, but coarser oats would be better for you)
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup and 3 TBSP butter, softened
1/3 cup honey
3 TBSP and 1 and 3/4 tsp packed brown sugar
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips (or more if you'd like)
3 TBSP (or more! I think that it could handle more.) flaxseed meal (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly grease a 9"x13" pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking soda, vanilla, butter, honey, and brown sugar (and flaxseed meal if using). Stir in the chocolate chips and any other additions.

Firmly press mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 F for 20 min or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 min and then cut into bars. Let bars cool completely in pan before removing or serving. On hot summer days, might want to store in the fridge so that they're not as crumbly and the chocolate doesn't melt.



>> Thursday, July 3, 2008

Yes, defeated - for now at least. Our quest to find a HFCS-free hamburger or hot dog bun at our Albertsons was a failure. Every last bun option had HFCS in it. Very discouraging. We're not ready to make the leap to hamburgers without the traditional bun, so tonight we're breaking the rules and having a HFCS containing bun. We're still hopeful that our local health food grocery will have a HFCS-free hamburger or hot dog bun. The search continues - hopefully not in vain!


A brave new HFCS-free world

>> Wednesday, July 2, 2008

We've been at our no-HFCS diet for about a week and a half now and so far so good. Of course, we started the week with a bang - donuts for breakfast. A smart, healthy breakfast choice. They were tasty, but afterward I think that we regretted the choice. All of that sugar, and the frosting (that probably contained HFCS), it just left a bad feeling in my mouth. But that's good, right? It's good that a donut now leaves me feeling yucky afterward, I guess. Of course it's bad that even though I didn't like the mouth feel after eating a donut or the way all of that too-sugary goodness felt afterward that I still ate so many - two days in a row. Despite the (rare - thankfully) donut binge, we've otherwise been HFCS free.

It seems that concerns about HFCS resonate with lots of people. Several friends have decided to take on the challenge with us. (How's everyone doing out there?) And oddly enough, my SIL and BIL gave up HFCS foods about a week before we did. We had no idea until they read the blog and informed us that they were doing the same thing. Anyway, it's nice to know that we have company in our endeavor.

This past week was our week of transition. It was a week to find substitutes for some of the HFCS items that we use a lot. We still have more to find, but we're making a dent. Syrup was first. Gone is Log Cabin syrup, and here to stay is plain ole pure maple syrup. That one was greeted with mixed results. At first, my 4 yr old son, Ben, didn't even notice the change - or so I thought. But after several days of eating syrup with pancakes and biscuits, he told me that he didn't particularly like the flavor of the syrup. And, I must admit, I find the flavor of the maple syrup that we're using a bit strong as well. We're going to play around with different grades of maple syrup and see if that helps.

Bread was next. It was surprisingly hard to find a non-HFCS containing sliced sandwich bread. There are a few out there, but they're HEAVY and typically aimed at adults looking for healthy, hearty bread. I mean, we want healthy, but we (at least the kids and I) would also like a nice soft bread that is in the typical bread shape (and not the large rectangle shape). I haven't found that quite yet. For now, goodbye to our super-soft Sara Lee Honey Wheat bread, which is super-soft in large part because of its HFCS content, and hello to Sara Lee Hearty and Healthy Whole Wheat bread. It's in the large rectangle shape that I'm not fond of because it makes BIG sandwiches, it's heavy - though not as heavy as most of the non-HFCS breads that I found - and it has wheat berries throughout. I mean, it's ok, but I guess I'm a typical American who likes my wheat bread to be blander. On the bright side, Ben took the switch without flinching. We made him a sandwich with it a few days ago at lunch, and he didn't seem to notice anything was different - at least he didn't say anything. So, for now, I think that we have our bread, though I will try other varieties as I find them. I can learn to like - or at least tolerate - this healthier, heavier, chunkier bread.

Yogurt is also a staple of our diet, and so many yogurts are filled with HFCS. Our Yoplait was no exception. Fortunately, there are also lots of non-HFCS yogurt selections if you're willing to spend a little time reading the ingredients. Most of the yogurts that are marketed as packed with probiotics seem to not have HFCS, though you should definitely double check the ingredients.

Finding a tasty chewy granola bar from the grocery store thus far has proved impossible. Seems like all of the tasty ones (at least in my son's opinion) are packed with HFCS. The ones without HFCS (that we tried at least) are either calorie laden or just not quite tasty enough. Chewy granola bars are one of my son's favorite snacks, so we all want a good replacement for them. Happily, I've found a recipe that is extremely easy to make and extremely easy. Not sure about the calorie content, but they're homemade, easy, and have ingredients that don't give me the heebie-jeebies. Look for the recipe next week in a separate post.

Ketchup proved to be easier than expected. Our local health food store (affectionately referred to as FoodTown by locals) had two varieties that we found acceptable. I'll leave you in suspense for now and post a more detailed review of our ketchup finds later.

We still have a few holes that need to be filled. Chocolate syrup is still a problem, though we've found a recipe worth trying as a substitute. I'd still love to find an already-made chocolate syrup without HFCS in it, but not sure that's going to happen around here. Rice Krispies have HFCS too. I'm pretty sure that I can find a substitute but haven't searched for it yet. And buns - buns are going to be hard. I don't know how I'll sell my kids on a non-HFCS containing hot dog or hamburger bun. I hope that I can find a nice, soft bun that doesn't have HFCS in it, but I'll also be surprised if I do. Oh - and bagels! While we are not big bagel eaters, my friend and fellow HFCS giver-upper Jehnie says that it's dang hard to find a good bagel without HFCS in it at the store, so we'll be on the lookout for bagels too.

Right now, we're enjoying company and getting ready for 4th of July fun, so look for reviews and recipes (or at least a granola bar recipe) to show up next week!


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