As I innocently sat on my behind watching TV last night, I was predictably lambasted with commercial after commercial touting breakfast cereals (like the new Fruity Cheerios) with “essential vitamins and minerals” that are “part of a this complete breakfast”.  I suffered silently through Cici’s Pizza ads about a “delicate flower” filling her plate at the buffet.  Finally, I lost it when the new Subway Fresh Fit™ meals commercial ran.

With the advent of Jared, Subway has tried to position themselves as being a healthy alternative to other fast food restaurants.  And it appears that they’ve had some success.  Now, in addition to continuing to market to adults, they’ve moved on to our children.  The new “better-for-you” sides that they have added to their menu include apples, raisins and Baked Lays potato chips.  The “better-for-you” drinks include bottled water, 12 oz. of 1% milk or diet soda pop for adults and low-fat milk or fruit juice for kids.

Where should I go with this rant… Well, perhaps I should first mention that many nutrition experts agree that sandwiches consisting of cold cuts and large sandwich buns don’t top their lists of healthy foods.  I’ll just point out that a person should consider the sodium content of processed meats and the simple carbohydrate load of the processed white/wheat breads.  The shocking part, however, was that the kids sandwich options contained double the saturated fat of the adult choices even though the sandwiches are smaller!  (And the nutritional information does NOT include condiments such as mayonnaise or cheese, ubiquitous features on many sandwiches.)

Then, chips are chips are chips – another simple carbohydrate that adds substantial calories but very minimal nutritional value.  (Subway has approached this by not including the chips as an option for their kids mini meals.)  Apples and raisins are natural foods, yes, but how much processing have they endured to make it to the Subway stores where they might sit indefinitely.  Add to that that apples are on several high-pesticide containing food lists (in the top ten) and you’ve effectively eliminated TWO of the three “better-for-you” sides.

Scratch that – here’s another top ten list.  You guessed it: grapes made this one!  So, sorry, no real “healthy” sides.

Are they “better-for-you” as Subway claims?  Well, even though it’s somewhat a matter of opinion, I would say that in the strictest sense, yes, they have made good on their statement based on the fact that there are less calories and fewer grams of fat in these choices than those on their regular menu.  I still find the ads to be, as most advertising is, misleading to the general public.  When are we going to stop complainingabout how it takes “so long” to prepare our own foods?  When are we going to understand that “convenience foods” that are faster to find and eat are also KILLING us faster?  Well, now, I’ve just stumbled upon a future topic now, haven’t I?