Let’s get this whole full disclosure thing out of the way before I begin this post: I work for the Canadian PR agency that represents Loblaw Companies Ltd. – makers of the iconic President’s Choice (PC) brand. Between my two maternity leaves, I spent most of my week working on the PC business. I loved PC products long before I ever worked in PR, and I love them still.
Love might not be a strong enough word.
My firm did not ask me to write this review. In fact, when I said that I wanted to, the higher-ups reminded me how important it is to disclose my relationship to the brand.
So there you have it. Let’s get on with it.
A few times a year, President’s Choice publishes Insider’s Reports. These take me back to my childhood; I remember flipping through them sitting around the dinner table when I was in grade school. Trying all of the new products, especially in recent years, is always fun. We love to stock up and do taste tests.
This time of year, it’s all about healthier choices; probably good timing with the majority of folks falling off of their New Year’s resolution food wagons right about now.
I’ve had the pleasure of trying a few of the new products featured in the 2013 Healthy Insider’s Report, and here are some of my faves for families:
I’m a coconut water fanatic. In the Caribbean, it’s sold like bottled H20 in every corner store and vending machine. It’s been really hard to get unsweetened coconut water in Canada but in the last 18 months or so, it’s becoming easier to find. I’m thrilled that President’s Choice has introduced its own coconut water; the stuff is filled to the brim with potassium (one serving offers more than double the potassium of a single banana) and is so supremely refreshing that I often prefer it to water when I’m working out. Electrolytes and all that.
Although The K Man isn’t a fan, Miss Q laps up coconut water like her mama. Juice is a big treat at our house, but I’m happy to offer coconut water every day; the natural sugar content is low (only five grams per cup) and it’s said to help with digestion and metabolism.
If you haven’t quite acquired the taste of the stuff – and although I loved it the first second it hit my taste buds, it is an acquired taste for many – give it a try in a delish smoothie recipe first.
We are long past the baby food stage. In fact, with Miss Q, we skipped it altogether by doing baby-led weaning. But, boy, do my kids love their “squishers” for snack time. (This is the generic name we’ve given to all food pouches with any kind of fruit and/or veg purée in them.)
There’s no reason that this PC Organics “baby food” pouch can’t qualify as a squisher. Miss Q – at 27 months old – delights in gobbling these up, and these are bigger than the average squisher, which is great for the bigger appetites of toddlers and young kids. While your baby may enjoy it by the spoonful and this could last you a few meals over a day or two, your older kids will suck back one of these bad boys in a couple of minutes.
I read ingredient lists – religiously. I have no issues serving the PC Organics strained food pouches because here’s what’s in them: organic apple purée, organic banana purée, organic strawberry purée, organic yogurt (organic milk and bacterial cultures), concentrated organic lemon juice, and ascorbic acid. In case you don’t know, ascorbic acid is good ol’ vitamin C and is used as a preservative – a very healthy one.
While baking is something I really enjoy doing with the kids, I’m no kitchenista. Baking from scratch happens only when the mood strikes and I have oodles of time. Both are rare occasions. So we’re big fans of at-home muffin mixes. We call muffins “cupcakes” most of the time, too. (Yes – I lie to my children.)
The first ingredient in this PC Blue Menu DIY muffin mix? Whole-grain stone-ground whole wheat flour. Forget whole wheat – if you want a nutritional powerhouse when it comes to your carbs, you need to look for whole grains in the ingredient list. The other ingredients I like seeing on this package: wheat bran, rolled oats and oat hull fibre. Although I wish there was slightly less sugar, the sodium content is nice and low and – most important for my two toughest critics – the Cranberry Lemon Bran muffins are yummy. As a lemon lover, I normally find products with lemon in them just aren’t lemon-y enough, but these really surprised me.
These have been great for school lunch snacks, and if we’re on the run in the morning, these muffins are a good alternative to cereal or toast. Keep in mind when you’re serving them that they’re a bit on the crumbly side, so you might want to reserve them for table or outdoor eating. Or you could also try adding another egg and extra oil to make it more moist; I haven’t tried this yet myself but plan to the next time we buy this mix. And there will be a next time.
Check out more PC products online at pc.ca, and get the Healthy Insider’s Report in-store until the end of the month.