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With Smart Eating Week underway, Connect Health & Community dietitian, Angela, gives us some tips on how to overcome confusion when trying to make healthy choices in the supermarket aisle.
Often when we shop for food we can be confronted with conflicting nutritional messages on the items we consider.
Products boasting ‘no added sugar,’ ‘low fat’ or ‘all natural’ make the decisions we’re trying to make confusing, especially if we are trying to manage or improve our health.
But five years ago the Australian Government introduced a new food scoring system, the Health Star Rating, in an effort to make our choices easier.
Similar to the system for rating whitegoods’ energy use, packaged foods are given a star-based assessment of their overall nutrition. The Health Star Rating compares similar products and rates them from ½ a star to 5 stars.
But the program is voluntary, so while companies don’t need to apply the rating to their product, where it is available it can be a handy tool.
So you can compare one yogurt other yoghurts, or a cereal to other cereals. But you wouldn’t compare a packet of chips to yogurt, because they are different products.
Check out this video by Choice and the Australian Government website for more information:
And if you are still seeking a little more help when you shop, another resource you can use to identify better food choices is the FoodSwitch app.
This app allows you to scan a product’s barcode to see its health star rating. It will also give you information on fat, saturated fat, energy, sugar and salt.
The app also provides suggestions of similar products that may have a higher Health Star Rating and features other handy features including information on gluten content.
And being electronic, it is updated regularly so you have the latest information at your fingertips.
Happy, healthy food shopping.
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