“Shop for the Right Foods”
Blog Six: Tuesday, 7 May 2019
Written by Mandy Sacher, CEO of Wholesome Child
How did you go with meal prep? I hope you made that list of your family favourite meals and grouped them together ready to tackle your shop and meal prep.
Speaking of shopping, when you do the supermarket shopping, do you actually know what your family is eating? It’s a great idea to learn how to read nutritional labels before you hit the shops, so you can decode and understand exactly what you’re putting in your trolley.
Clever marketing means it’s easy to miss nasties like MSG and sugar hiding behind another name. Add to that, the fact that potentially harmful preservatives are in some products means it’s easy to see why there’s so much confusion around making healthy choices.
Learning what to look out for on food labels will let you take control of your family’s health. Here are the top things to look out for…
Did you know, there are over 50 different names for the sweet stuff? The most common ones to look out for are ‘sugar’, ‘glucose’, ‘fructose’ and ‘sucrose’. Remember, while small amounts of natural sugar as an occasional treat is okay, try and avoid sugars in your everyday foods.
While salt and sodium are essential for the body to absorb other nutrients, too much of it can put stress on growing bodies and increase blood pressure in both children and adults. Some kids consume more than 75 per cent of their recommended salt intake every day from it being hidden in processed foods. Keep your eyes peeled for the names ‘salt’ and ‘sodium’ on packaging and even try and look for ‘reduced salt’ labelling.
Genetically modified organisms are ingredients that have been altered in a laboratory in order to become easier to grow and maintain. In Australia, it’s not currently required for manufacturers to label when genetically modified ingredients have been used, but personally, I try to avoid GMOs as I’m concerned about the long-term damage on growing bodies and immature immune systems. While avoiding these ingredients can be quite hard, your best bet is to keep processed foods to a minimum and cook from scratch using seasonal, local produce, or look out for ‘Non-GMO’ labels.
4. Food colouring
Artificial food colourings are popular in ice-cream, confectionary and icings and have been banned in many countries for contributing to hyperactive behaviour in children. But, they’re easy to avoid!
Reach for foods with the label ‘no artificial colouring’ and try natural colourings like beet powder, saffron and turmeric instead. In fact, in my book, I feature my incredibly popular Natural Rainbow Cake recipe that uses absolutely no artificial colourings!
Ever wondered why you can leave bread on the bench for 10 days without it going mouldy? That all comes down to this preservative which is most commonly found in bread and other baked goods to stop bacteria growth. Consuming too much propionate can lead to irritability, disturbed sleep and poor attention amongst little ones. Why not bake your own bread? Check out my super simple Gluten-Free Yoghurt Bread on page 55 of my book or simply opt for bread without this.
Keep your eyes peeled for these on labels and opt for fresh produce and homemade meals to keep those nasties at bay.