The popcorn range on our supermarket shelves has expanded it seems this year. I have reviewed a number of different brands to show which is the best choice, with Messy Monkeys coming out on top. Read on to find out why.
Of course popping corn yourself and giving to the kids in reusable containers saves you money, reduces packaging, and will almost certainly be lower in fat and salt.
These popcorn brands do provide some fibre at around 8-9% and a slightly better choice for kids' lunch boxes than chips.
Just to compare:
Messy Monkeys Lightly Salted Popcorn has the lowest fat and salt that I have looked at.
Before Messy Monkeys appeared at my IGA I was buying Sunbites popcorn as it was lower in fat and sodium than other brands. This one has 21% fat and 500mg sodium.
The next brands of popcorn are similar- Snackers and Cool Pak. They have 26% fat and 700mg sodium.
This pack of Cobs popcorn has 3 flavours inside- all with 23% fat and 300mg sodium. However the "Lightly Salted, Slightly Sweet" packet has 16% sugar. All the other savoury popcorns I looked at have only 0.1-2% sugar.
The Perfect Pop by Community Co is an IGA brand. It had the highest fat at 44% (and it certainly tasted buttery!) and 470mg of sodium per 100g. This popcorn wasn't packaged in individual bags.
So next time you are looking for kids' snacks compare the fat and sodium and choose the lowest you can find! If you have the time, popping corn yourself is healthier and will save you money and reduce the need for single-use packaging.
I was asked about the sugar in breakfast cereals, so I have been shopping and busily reading labels to show the difference between them. Here are the top 4 sugary cereals with 1 sugar cube= 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams. I chose to use per 100g to display, as the serves listed on cereal packets are very small and unrealistic. Remember we are looking as a guide for foods with <10% sugar.
Coco pops is 37% sugar, Crunchy Nut Cornflakes is 32%, and both Nutrigrain and Milo cereal are 27%.
Sultana Bran is high in sugar at 28% (7 tsp) but most of this sugar comes from the 26% sultanas. Sultanas appear in the ingredient list before sugar which tells us that there are more sultanas than added sugar. This is also a high fibre cereal so it has more nutritional value than other sweet cereals.
Choice have been campaigning for labelling of both natural and added sugars which would make this process easier!
To the disappointment of my kids, Weetbix Bites are also on the high sugar list. They are 22% sugar with sugar high (second) on the ingredient list, along with the sugars invert syrup and honey. And the only fruit I can find on the label is 3% berry puree.
The next cereals have similar amounts of sugar but sugar appears lower in the ingredient list at eighth (after fruit, in Sustain), and fifth (Plus), and they are a source of fibre.
So we come to lower sugar cereals in Special K, muesli, nutty Be Natural, Weetbix and the sugar-free rolled oats! All are good sources of fibre and great breakfast options.
You can see that Corn Flakes and Rice Bubbles are not very high in sugar, both about 7-8%. But they don't rate as an everyday choice because of their low fibre content. Corn Flakes are 4% fibre and Rice Bubbles are only 2% fibre. In contrast both Carman's berry bircher muesli and Weetbix are 11% fibre.
Like my Facebook page for continued food reviews based on people's questions and comments- keep your thoughts coming!
Thanks to all my supporters, clients, colleagues, friends and family who have helped me achieve so much in my business in the past 10 years!
My business started with one clinic half a day a week 10 years ago. Now I work every day, in five towns, six medical centres, five aged care facilities and one private hospital.
My amazing 12 year old daughter Emily made a perfectly coloured fondant cake complete with my logo, to celebrate my business’ 10th birthday.
Here’s to another 10 years of helping people eat well.
In my last blog we looked at how to read food labels, looking at the sugar and fat using the 100g column.
It is also helpful to look at the sugar in the per serve column for some foods. It is useful to know that 1 teaspoon of sugar weighs 4 grams.
If you look at sugar per serve below, you can see that a Nescafe cappuccino sachet has almost 1.5 teaspoons (5.5g) of sugar per cup. This surprised me as people may also add their own sugar to this coffee, not realising that it already contains sugar.
The Ingredient list also gives us clues about about how much sugar is in food. Ingredients are listed in descending order. In the regular coffee sachet, glucose syrup (a type of sugar) and sugar are listed as third and fourth in the ingredient list.
In the Butterscotch sachet below you can see that sugar is listed as the first ingredient in this sachet, which means it is the most prominent ingredient, before even coffee!
The sweet coffee sachet below has more sugar at almost 2 teaspoons per cup.
The skim sachet has the same sugar as the regular sachet, almost 1.5 teaspoons per cup, but also has less fat than the regular sachet.
Finally, the butterscotch latte sachet below has nearly 3 teaspoons of sugar per cup, with sugar is listed as the first ingredient.
Knowing how to spot the sugar in food helps us make informed decisions about what to eat and drink.
Reading food labels can be confusing and time consuming! By the time we weigh up health concerns, whether our family will eat the food we buy, and the cost of food, we can all get overwhelmed when grocery shopping!
Here's my top five tips for reading food labels to make the whole process easier.
There are other words listed below for fat, sugar and salt to watch out for on the Ingredient list as well, and some targets for what to aim for in your total fat, saturated fat and sugar intake.
In the last blog post we looked at the how of eating, now we'll look at the where to eat. Leading such busy lives means we often eat on the run- in the car, while getting dressed or even standing in front of the open fridge door.
It is difficult to focus on enjoying food and eating more slowly when we are rushing around. Eating while sitting down at a dining table or breakfast bar not only helps us eat less but is better for our digestion!
All of these tips help us to be more mindful of what and how much we are eating. This, in turn, helps us enjoy our food, stop eating when we are full and eat less.
Often weight loss information focuses on what we should be eating. But looking at How, When and Where can really transform someone's eating for the better.
So, how should we eat?
Our family are quite experienced in travelling for sport particularly for athletics. Here is the food I packed for our regional athletics trip for the weekend for two of our kids, who were competing in Wollongong last month. With state athletics coming up this weekend in Sydney, it is a good time to plan the food you will take with you.
Most food groups are covered here. The protein is in the quiche (eggs), the nut bars and the tuna with crackers. Protein helps muscles repair after exercise and should be eaten 1-2 hours after exercise for the greatest benefit.
The carbs are in the cereal, wraps and hot cross buns and of course, the snakes for the car trip. Carbs provide energy for active kids and are a good source of fibre.
And then there's the ultimate training and competition food for energy- bananas.
Planning the food you will pack for travelling helps your athletes to perform at their best! It is less likely to be high in fat or salt than take-aways. High fat foods cause tummy upsets and salty foods make us more thirsty.
Make sure the food you pack is food they like and have tried before. There's nothing worse than them feeling sick in the stomach after eating something new just before competing, especially remembering the nervous energy that might be present.
Packing food also saves money as well- you don't need to depend quite so much on the junk food available on the highway!
Our hope is that our kids enjoy their sporting events and do their best!
One in 70 people have coeliac disease but 80% of people remain undiagnosed. The symptoms vary and you can use the assessment tool below to work out if you may be at risk. It only takes a few minutes.
Bread makers, gluten free hampers and cookbooks are available for some great competitions through Coeliac Australia to celebrate Coeliac Australia Week. Check out their website or follow them on social media!
Leanne is an experienced dietitian who is passionate about helping people eat well.