Shopping can be rushed or confusing or daunting with the wealth of information about food that super markets provide.
Here are some good ideas that you can use in preparation for your weekly shopping trip
· Prepare a shopping list and stick to it! ,
· Always go shopping after meals to resist buying more than you intended. Shopping on an empty stomach can encourage temptation.
· Avoid buying more than you need. Have a fixed budget,
· Keep away from aisles where foods you want to avoid are displayed,
· Look out for healthy eating logos e.g. light, low in fat , reduced fat, low in saturated fat, be good to yourself, no added sugar, diet, low in sugar, low in salt, healthy options, high fibre.
· Look out for leaner cuts of meat, chicken without skin, buy fish especially oily fish e.g. sardines, mackerel, pilchards, fresh tuna, salmon,
· For ready meals, buy low fat (aim < 5g/100g or per serving). Have these meals with extra vegetables which can be bought frozen or fresh or have as salad
· If you have little children who can be a distraction, try to take your partner or friend along to help, so you can make informed decision when buying not be rushed or stressed.
A brief guide to nutrition claims
The nutrition information on labels is controlled under food legislation.
Food label decoder per 100g/ml
Low food will be the healthiest choice
· Fat 3g or less
· saturated fat 1.5g or less
· sugars 5g or less
· Salt 0.3g or less
Medium food fine as part of a balanced diet
· Fat 3.1g-17.5g
· saturated fat 1.6-5g
· sugars 5.1-22.5g
· Salt 0.31-1.5g
High food not to eat too much of
· Saturated fat >5g
· Sugars >22.5g
· Salt >1.5g
Energy is the white box on the colour coded label. An average man needs 2,500kcal/day an average women needs 2,000-kcal/day
Reference intake tell you how much your daily healthy maximum is in the portion.
Aim for green as much as possible when you shop.
Using the ingredients list
The ingredients are usually listed in order from the biggest amount to the smallest.
No added sugar - means may still contain a lot of natural sugars e. g fructose in fruit juice
Low sugar- contains no more than 5g sugar per 100g/100ml of food
Low in fat-the food contains less than 3g fat per 100g/100ml of food
Low in saturated fats-contains no more than 1.5g per 100g/100ml and should not make up more than 10% of the total energy of the product. May still be high in total fat
Reduced fat/sugar/salt- must contain 25% less than the regular product
Light / lite - the product is at least 30% lower in one value than the standard product. E. g calorie or fat content.
14 major food allergens must be emphasized e.g. highlighted or bold or contrasting colour on the ingredients list
"A health claim is a statement about the positive effect a product can have on health. Claims which appear on pack have been approved by the European food and safety authority and EU risk assessment body for food safety."
Remember to check and compare similar products and choose healthier options. The more you do this the more you become aware and are in control of the food you eat. Good luck!
There are different types of carbohydrates in our food.
Sugars: simple sugars are fructose (fruit sugar), Glucose (this circulates in our body as blood sugar) table sugar found in honey, soft drinks and confectionary,
Disaccharides-sucrose (table sugar), Lactose (milk sugar)
Starches: complex carbohydrates found in cereal, bread ,flour, rice, pasta, couscous, some fruits and vegetables- potatoes, root vegetables, pulses
Dietary fibre: non- starch polysaccharides major component of dietary fibre, found in root vegetables, nuts, seeds, oats, fruit, cereals and whole meal bread.
Carbohydrates provide you with energy for your organs to function properly, starches and dietary fibre help regulate blood sugar and protects you against heart disease, cancer, prevents constipation, give you a feeling of fullness to help with weight control.
Sugary foods generally from soft drinks and confectionary do not contain many other nutrients so small amounts after a healthy meal is preferable. BDA Fact sheet. www.bda.uk.com
Risks of having too much simple sugars in our diet.
Increased risk of heart disease
Increased risk of cancer
Increased risk of type 2 diabetes
Decreased consumption of nutritious food
Britons average 15 teaspoons per day - 330ml fizzy drinks alone contain seven
Experts say we should be having 5 tsps. instead per day. Use the sugar reckoner below to help you cut down and find alternatives.
Reading food label
Traffic light labels of food make it easier to choose healthier options
Some supermarkets are using labels with % guideline daily amount (GDAs) instead.
To apply traffic light to a product, look at the per 100g information panel on the pack and make a healthier choice:
High >15g /100g product
Low<5 g/100 g product
Another way to check is to note the ingredients list at the back of pack. If sucrose, glucose, added fructose powder is higher on the top of ingredients then the product maybe high in sugar. To tell if a processed food contains added sugars, you need to look at the list of ingredients. Besides those ending in “ose” such as maltose or sucrose, other names for sugar include high fructose corn syrup, molasses, cane sugar, corn sweetener, raw sugar, syrup, honey or fruit juice concentrates.
The scientific advisory committee on nutrition recommends 2015:
The intake of free sugars should account for no more than 5% daily energy intake. This is: 19g or 5 sugar cubes for children aged 4-6, 24g or 6 sugar cubes for children aged 7-10 and 30g or 7 sugar cubes for over 11 year olds.
The consumption of sugar sweetened beverages should be minimized by both children and adults
Public Health England (PHE) has published a paper, “Sugar Reduction: Responding to the Challenge”, marking its commitment to help reduce sugar intake and improve the nation’s health.
If you are trying to reduce a particular type of ingredient to have a healthier diet e. g less fat, less sugar, it is not always easy to recognize these on the ingredient list.
So here's a guide to help you recognize fat, sugar, fibre and salt:
· saturated - animal fat/oil, butter fat, coconut oil, vegetable fat, shortening, palm oil, dripping, margarine, hydrogenated fat, milk solids, ghee
· Polyunsaturated- safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, soya bean oil
· Monounsaturated - olive oil, rapeseed oil, peanut oil
· Glucose syrup
· Brown sugar
· Corn syrup
· Raw sugar
· Malt extract
· Golden syrup
· Invert sugar
This is found in wholegrains, fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, dried fruits, beans and pulses.
· Oat bran
· Rice bran
· kibbled wheat
· rolled oats
· Rye bran
· Wheat bran
· Wheat meal
· Wheat germ
· Whole wheat
· Sea salt
· Rock salt
· Monosodium glutamate