Be A Food Label Detective #1

Food labelling can be so overwhelming!

It can take a matter of minutes to interpret exactly what the food is, let alone sort through the hundreds of words and numbers on the packaging to find out if it's actually any good for you.

Because we spend hours looking through packaged foods when trying to make a healthy choice, we wanted to help you navigate your way through the supermarket with ease.

In this blog, let's distinguish what is on the packaging of our foods.

HEALTH CLAIMS - These are things like "nutritious", "healthy" and "no sugar added". These claims can be the most misleading part of the food label. They are not well regulated and often the claims are false. Most of the time, avoid making a judgement based on these claims!

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION - This is the panel which tells you how much fat, carbohydrate and protein are in the food. This is where things get tricky.

First of all, if you are going to refer to this panel, look at the values per 100g, not per serving size, as serving size differs across the board.

Again, you shouldn't judge your food too much by this panel, but main things you might want to look out for are the amounts of sugar (you'd be surprised when you start thinking about the % of sugar in your food) and perhaps the amount of protein and fat if you are trying to find a satiating food choice.

INGREDIENTS LISTING - This is where the gold is! The list of what is actually in your food. The listing begins with the ingredient that is in the food the most down to the least. 

It is easy to see by looking at this panel whether the food is going to be good for you or not.

In the next blog, we'll talk more about what the numbers and chemical-sounding names mean, but for now, look for foods that sound the most whole.

Do you recognise the ingredient listed? Is it a whole food?

If the answer is YES than you're probably on the right track. If no, you may need to look for an alternative or weigh up whether to go ahead or not. 

IE. If sugar is your number one ingredient, perhaps best to stay away!

Other easy to avoid ingredients are vegetable or canola oils, processed flours, gluten and dairy if you're intolerant, highly processed parts of whole foods and flavourings (even natural ones).

We'll cover these more on the next blog, but for now, start taking notice of what goes into your trolley.

The easiest thing to do? Avoid the packaged foods where possible. Use the outside aisles of your supermarket more than the inside ones.

Can you make it yourself or find an alternative? Or do you even need it?

For more nutritional tips, recipes and alternatives please make an appointment with Mel.