Last week a few Ready Steady Mums hit the supermarket with dietitian Laura Clark to myth bust their way through the aisles. Laura our nutrition expert shares the highlights from the tour.
Laura: Supermarkets bombard you with a variety of messages from the minute you walk in. The choice can sometimes feel over-whelming especially when you have a baby in tow and you might be feeling a little sleep deprived.
Give yourself the best chance of making it out the other side with the right foods for your family with these simple tips:
Fruit and vegetables aisles
Variety is the key here and aiming for the magic 5 a day. A portion is generally what you can fit into your cupped hand.
Bread/ bread products
- Choose wholegrain/ wholemeal.
- Don’t worry about calories – any unadulterated carbohydrate food should take up a 1/3 plate as a portion. Carbs should form part of every meal and there’s no need to stop eating them at a certain time of day.
- Try a variety of ‘breaded’ products e.g. wholemeal pitta, tortilla wrap, crispbreads e.g. ryvita, bagels.
- Breaded products with lots of seeds will have a higher calorie content – not a problem unless you’re trying to lose weight.
- Remember bread isn’t evil but adding salted butter to it doesn’t make it quite so saintly ☺
…Can be very confusing. The best advice is to not let the label trick you!
General guide – always compare products per 100g as manufacturer’s portion size will differ:
Total fat – high >20g; low <3g
Saturated fat – high >5g; low <1.5g
Sugars – high >15g; low <5g
Salt – high >1.5g (0.6g sodium); low <0.3g (0.1g sodium)
- Look for the words wholegrain.
- Be aware toasted cereals and those with a high quantity of nuts are going to be high in fat.
- Some cereals have a surprisingly high amount of sugar but as long as they aren’t coated in sugar or containing a lot of dried fruit, then this isn’t a bad thing unless you’re conscious about calories in an effort to lose a few pounds.
- Making your own muesli is a good idea – oats, handful of dried fruit, handful of seeds.
Dairy is a really important food group for women to maintain peak bone mass. Dairy is high in fat but is an excellent source of calcium and vitamins. Women need 3 serves of dairy a day to meet their calcium needs. A serve is 200mls milk, 1 pot yoghurt or a matchbox of cheese.
- Choose low fat or fat free yoghurts for you as these have a lower overall sugar content.
- Choose full fat dairy foods for baby but still aim for saturated fat to be under 5g per 100g.
- A matchbox size of cheese is a portion – the highest fat ones are the hard cheeses e.g. Cheddar, Babybel, Stilton and Emmental.
- Healthier cheeses include Edam, feta, Haloumi, half fat cheddar, ricotta, mozzarella, cottage cheese and soft cheese.
- Cheese is very nutritious and part of a balanced diet but you do need to be a little careful of how much you have.
A nutritious protein food – no need to limit amount over the course of a week.
An excellent source of protein and fibre which can be added to soups and main meals for extra nutrition.
Variety is key – palm of hand is a portion for you and it’s good to have oily fish at least once a week. Do not avoid red meat but choose lean cuts.
A few high fat, high sugar foods are part of a balanced diet. Don’t rely on them for energy – ensure you have regular balanced meals instead. But indulge guilt free once in a while and as a general guide aim for no more than 150kcals worth in one go! ☺