Uncle Tobys has found that the majority of Australians don't know what they should be eating and are unsure of how to identify healthy food options on supermarket shelves.
Key findings from the research:
84% of Australians are unsure about how to identify and choose healthy food options on supermarket shelves.
81% of Australians use nutritional information on food packaging to influence purchasing decisions.
54% of consumers felt there was too much conflicting information about healthy foods.
Leading Australian dietitian, Geraldine Georgeou believes consumer confusion is impacting their food choices and affecting their understanding of what to eat to get all of the nutrients they need each day.
Geraldine says, 'There can be a lot of confusion in the supermarket aisle that makes it hard to identify better food choices at a glance. Uncle Tobys 4+ Star range makes it easier than ever for Australians to choose a healthy breakfast each morning providing the nutrients needed to get through busy days."
To make it easier for consumers to choose healthy food options, Uncle Tobys has adopted the new Government Health Star Rating system to highlight the nutrients in their cereals. Uncle Tobys offers the largest range of 4+Star cereals with 44 delicious and healthy varieties, making it easy to choose the right breakfast cereal to suit individual tastes and nutritional needs.
Question: Are you surprised that 'the majority of Australians don't know what they should be eating"?
Geraldine Georgeou: With so many fad diets around I'm not surprised that Australians have lost their way on what to eat! A balanced diet is key and starts with a nutritious breakfast. In order for Aussies to provide themselves with the long lasting fuel and energy they require throughout their day they should look to consume foods which have the below elements:
Low glycaemic index carbohydrate
This will make them less likely to snack on high sugar and also high fat foods later in the day. Choosing an Uncle Tobys Plus Iron cereal can give Aussies the energy and nutrients they need to enjoy the rest of their day. Uncle Tobys' range of 4+ Star cereals offers a nutritious blend of whole grains, nuts and fruits to make it easy to have a good morning.
Question: What should Australians be eating, daily?
Geraldine Georgeou: Australians can ensure they are meeting their health food guidelines by being aware of the serves of each food group we need per day as per the Australian Guidelines of Healthy Eating. For example, food group target for 19 – 50 years of age:
Meat 3 serves per day
Grains 6 serves per day
Vegetables 5 -6 serves per day
Dairy 2.5 serves per day
Fruit 2 serves per day
Oil 40g per day
Fibre 30g per day
Question: How can Australians identify healthy food options on supermarket shelves?
Geraldine Georgeou: 1. When it comes to packaged food, look out for the Health Star Rating System - The Government's new Health Star Rating system is great for helping Australians recognise healthy food options. It's as easy as taking notice of the number of stars a food item has; the more stars, the healthier the choice. The Health Star Rating System analyses the nutritional profile of food items and provides a star rating based on energy, key nutrients and food groups (saturated fat, sugars, sodium, fibre as well as fruit, vegetable, nut and legumes content) to make it easier to identify healthier options at a glance.
2. If you fail to prepare then prepare to fail - Plan healthy meals for the week in advance by seeing what ingredients are missing from your cupboard and fridge. This way you can see what you actually need as opposed to having a guess with unhealthy temptations surrounding you.
3. Keep in mind the rules for a balanced diet - A balanced menu includes wholegrain breads cereal, lean proteins such as lean red meat, lean chicken, lean pork, eggs, tofu and fish, low fat diary including cheese, yoghurt and milk, fresh vegetables and fresh fruit. Include this balance in your trolley.
Question: What are your top tips for reading nutrition labels?
Geraldine Georgeou: Review the ingredient's list which is in descending order of predominance.
Review the per 100g on the nutrition information panel. This allows you to compare products to each other such as fat, total carbohydrates and sugars. A general guide is less than 10g of fat per 100g and less than 10g of sugar per 100g.
Look for the Government's Health Star Rating - the more stars, the healthier the choice.
Question: Can you explain the Uncle Tobys 4+ Star range?
Geraldine Georgeou: Uncle Tobys has adopted the new Government Health Star Rating system to highlight the nutrients in their cereals. Uncle Tobys has Australia's largest range of 4+Star cereals with 44 delicious and healthy varieties, making it easy to choose the right breakfast cereal to suit individual tastes and nutritional needs. A few in the range include Cheerios and Plus Iron.
Question: Why was it important for Uncle Tobys to implement this system?
Geraldine Georgeou: Uncle Tobys has adopted the new Government Health Star Rating system to highlight the nutrients in their cereals so Aussies know they're making a nutritious decision when they reach for one of these.
Question: How should nutritional information on food packaging to influence our food choices?
Geraldine Georgeou: The nutritional information on food packaging should help guide the consumer in choosing better food choices such as items that are lower in sugar, lower fat, lower sodium, have better kilojoules value and higher fibre.
Question: What do you suggest Australians have for breakfast?
Geraldine Georgeou: I suggest Australians choose a breakfast that contains a good source of low glycemic index carbohydrates such as wholegrain breads and cereals such as one of the cereals in Uncle Tobys' largest range of 4+ Star cereals, a source of dairy – reduced fat milk plus fresh fruit and even some protein such as a boiled egg.
Interview by Brooke Hunter