Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Assembling the Nutrient-Dense Junk Food

Location: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, Kenner, LA 70062, USA
So, it seems I was in the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, waiting to fly to Chicago O'Hare International, when I realized this was a fairly long flight and I was already hungry. Having flown from Chicago to New Orleans, I knew that United Airlines would not serve a meal--at best, I could secure two sodas.

In my part of the terminal, however, dining options were starkly limited. There were a few vending machines around and one pizza place. They only served personal pizzas, and these at two to three times a reasonable price for an inferior product. Unwilling to shell out ten bucks for a "meal" that would leave me hungry, I went to a convenience store.


And not knowing any better, I selected these three items for a little snack. Yes, they too left me hungry but it was my hope they would leave me nourished in some form or another. That Big 100 bar is labeled a "meal replacement" bar, in fact, and I chose this Vitamin Water because it's supposed to emulate a multi-vitamin. And the Snickers? I just like Snickers.

This arrangement totaled 635 calories, just under one-third of a 2000-calorie diet, or about a fifth of what I need in a day. That's fine with me, I think between 1/5 and 1/3 is a suitable range for one meal's caloric intake.

The Big 100 bar provided 50% of a generic RDA all by itself, so I approved of its nutrient density. I did not approve of the nasty, cardboard-like musk they tried to pass off as "peanut butter cookie dough" flavor. It was tough and chewy, and much of its bulk was whipped air. The Snickers didn't contribute significantly to my RDA, except as pertained to saturated fat. The Big 100 bar had 5% saturated fat and the Snickers added 25%. The Vitamin Water contributed nothing.

The Vitamin Water and Big 100 bar together provided 150% of the vitamin C needed for a 2000-calorie diet, as well as 90% of folic acid (B9), 85% of vitamin B12, and 75% of vitamin A, niacin (B3), vitamin B6, pantothenic acid (B5), and zinc. Eat those two and you're almost done with those vitamins for the day!

I would love to throw a Clif bar into the mix and see whether one could top off one's nutritional requirements in one meal that will not fill one's stomach.

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