Food Labels Are There To Help?
Kids eating patterns are very much under the microscope these days. We are constantly told that we should only buy healthy foods for our family but then we are bombarded by marketing and confusing food labels that make it hard to work out what is best for our family. Maybe you have been able to update your food buying patterns to only purchase and consume organic whole foods and your kids wash them down with water. If that is you, Well Done!
Unfortunately, due to budget and time constraints I, like many other people, have not been able to do this. I buy processed and packaged food and serve it to my family for breakfast, lunch, dinner and/or in between. To save myself from looking like a ‘terrible mum’ I do try to read labels and compare products on shelves but that isn’t always the easiest (especially when you have 2 kids with you and are rushing to pick up the other two from school).
Food labels can be a bit tricky to us mere mortals without scientific training. Here are a few things to keep in mind next time you get a spare moment to read the side of the pack:
– Sugar, by any other name, is still sugar – Just because something has ‘honey’ in it doesn’t mean it more natural or has less sugar in it. Brown sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, golden syrup, honey, fruit juice concentrate, fruit syrup, lactose, malt, maltose, maple syrup and molasses are ALL sugar.
– Serving sizes are not always obvious – Don’t assume that a single serve pack is counted as 1 serve. Always double check how many serves are in a box or pack before you feel good about the numbers.
– Sodium = Salt – Adults should have no more than 1,600 mg of sodium a day and kids should have much less depending on their age. Babies under 1yrs should have close to none. If nothing else, look at sodium on packaging and keep it low.
– The fewer the ingredients the better – Look for food products that have few ingredients and look for ingredients that you can pronounce. This is a good rule of thumb when searching for healthier food options.
– Don’t use the Daily Allowance Percentage for kids – The Daily Allowance % is based on 8700kj for an adult. Kids require different nutritional intake to adults and this varies by age. Check with your local doctor or baby health centre to find out what your child needs.
These are just a couple of things to look out for. Let us know if you have any thoughts or insights on what to look for when it comes to food labelling, we’d love to hear from you.
Have a great week,