Tips for Healthy Shopping
1) Be aware when shopping
Adverts and food marketing agencies are very good at making their product appear ‘healthy’ and ‘perfect for kids’, when in reality they are not. The problem is that ‘health’ sells.
For example, many foods claim to be high in omega 3 and omega 6, which are essential fats that help reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and rheumatoid arthritis. It is recommended we eat 3g of omega 3 per week and good sources are oily fish, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and green leafy vegetables. Below are just a few examples of foods claiming to be high in omega 3 and the amount you would have to eat to reach the recommended 3 grammes:
– 168 slices of bread (15,000 calories)
– 42 tins of beans (7,000 calories)
– 20 eggs (1,400 calories)
– 2 portions of oily fish – eg mackerel, sardines, salmon (520 calories)
All of the above have ‘a great source of omega 3’ (or similar) written on them, but how much do you have to eat to benefit from them?
2) Understand the language
Advertisers can be very inventive with their language. Be careful of claims such as ‘healthy’ or ‘good for you’. The product may be low in one nutrient such as salt but doesn’t always mean its low in sugar or fat, and could be high in calories. Low fat products are nearly always very high in sugar to compensate and therefore not necessarily the healthy option.
up to 3g fat per 100g
up to 1g salt per 100g
up to 5g of sugar per 100g
‘Light’ – this is not always saying it’s a low fat product, the advertiser may just be describing the texture, like a mousse. For example, ‘light’ puff pastry may still contain 45% fat.
‘Nutritious’ – this can mean almost anything, it can even mean it contains lots of sugar.
‘Reduced’ – just means the product has at least 25% less than the regular product (see a pot of mayonnaise)
‘Ideal for lunch boxes’ – does not always mean it’s healthy for kids, it may just mean it comes in a small pack easy to fit into lunch boxes.
‘Sports drinks’ – generally contain high amounts of sugar and calories. Unless you are training extremely hard I would try and steer clear of these drinks which sound and look healthy. Water is best.
Also beware of fancy names. Food manufacturers try to avoid the word sugar on many products, other names that basically mean sugar are: corn sugar, fructose, maltrose, dextrose, glucose (and many words that end –ose).
3) Check the labels
A LOT per 100g:
5g saturated fat
A LITTLE per 100g
1g saturated fat
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