Simply Lunch? I don’t think so

This is lunch?

This is lunch?


What’s your thinking about the food industry’s efforts to help us with healthy eating? It would be wonderful to think they would aid consumers move towards a healthier diet – just voluntarily on their own. But then you might say I’m a dreamer or an optimist or maybe even a fool.

The latest offerings from Schneider’s are certainly disheartening. They’ve just introduced a new line of ready-to-eat lunches. (Thanks to fellow dietitian Mark McGill for alerting me to the product.)

The Simply Lunch kits come in two varieties: Schneiders® Simply Lunch™ Ham and Cheese  and Schneiders® Simply Lunch™ Turkey and Cheese. The website says, “ Send them off smiling with a lunch you’ll feel great about with NEW Schneiders® Simply Lunch™ Ham.  They’ll love the delicious slices of smoked ham made with natural ingredients, yummy real Colby cheese, wheat crackers, and fun mini chocolate chip button cookies!”

The package contains the standard line made by so-called natural deli meats:  “No nitrites or preservatives added*”. Note the asterisk. It’s for the claim “Beyond those naturally occurring nitrites and additives in the ingredients”.

Yes, the cultured celery extract, a.k.a. nitrites are naturally occurring.  Whether the nitrites come from an artificial source or from a natural one, nitrites  can potentially form a carcinogen called nitrosamines. And this is what has given sodium nitrite a bad reputation.

Consider that when you eat nitrate-containing vegetables, the quantities you are consuming are considered to be safe. But when you consume an extract, you are having a more concentrated amount than when you munch on some celery stalks.

How can Schneiders say there are no nitrites added? How is it that this claim is still allowed by Health Canada when it is clearly misleading? Nitrites are nitrites, no matter what the source.

What about the other components and nutritional profile of the ingredients? Processed meat, refined grain crackers and cookies for dessert.  Yes, there is some cheese but come on.

Each  type of kit supplies 570 milligrams of sodium per serving. Keep in mind  that the  recommendations are to  limit sodium to  1,200 milligrams for four- to eight year- olds and 1,500 milligrams for older kids.  So that lunch option would be almost half a day’s intake for a young child with plenty of other food to consume the rest of the day.

It’s one thing for companies such as Schneider’s to change products already in the marketplace (yes I can dream) but it’s another to introduce a whole new line of these products.

Shame on you, Schneiders.

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Categories: Children's Health, Rosie's Rants

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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2 Comments on “Simply Lunch? I don’t think so”

  1. Lazyretirementgirl
    June 10, 2016 at 10:51 am #

    Plus, no vegetables, no fruit. Not a lunch I would “feel good about” feeding a school child.

    • June 10, 2016 at 11:42 am #

      I absolutely agree! I would have thought that we would see food companies moving towards creating healthier products. But unfortunately, I was wrong. Not all food companies feel a responsibility to provide the best for their customers.

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