Eat Smart

The Guinea Pig: All-natural SpaghettiOs!

Seriously, how good are SpaghettiOs?  I’ll tell you how good —when I was an undergrad, I once sat in my dorm room and pried open a can with a screwdriver. The lesson here: buy a can opener, no matter how little you think you’ll use it.

Like most food products geared towards children, however, SpaghettiOs (name brand and generic) is lacking in nutrition. Even though Campbells jumped on the health conscious-band wagon recently by adding whole wheat to the product and lowering the sodium content, it doesn’t take away from the fact that it still contains high fructose corn syrup and offers very little in terms of vitamins and minerals. In other words, it’s canned junk food.

So guess how excited I was to find out that the health conscious, eco-conscious Full Circle had their own version of the childhood favorite.

Full Circle – Organic Pasta Rings, 15 oz. can, $1.99

If you’re worried about the healthy version not tasting like the original, don’t. It looks, tastes and smells just like the original, with tender little pasta rings swimming in a sweet, mild tomato sauce. I was salivating before I even removed the piping hot bowl from the microwave. But how does it stack up in quality and nutrition?

The pasta itself is whole wheat, providing a small amount of fiber for each serving. It’s also very low in calories and fat, and contains no cholesterol, saturated fats or trans-fats.

But one look at the nutrition label had me doing a double take. There’s a large amount of sugar —sure, it’s natural sugar, but the amount is only slightly less than what’s in SpaghettiOs. I was also disappointed to find that the sodium content was unusually high. Whatever benefits the all-natural ingredients offer are totally overshadowed by these flaws.

To be fair, this isn’t an everyday kind of food. It’s an emergency meal, a quick late night studying snack, if you will (see above screwdriver  and can incident). Indulge, but indulge with caution.

The Verdict: A little too similar to SpaghettiOs. Eat in moderation.