The key to any great recipe is making sure you have the ideal balance of ingredients; bringing together the right amount of each, and allowing the flavours to mix and complement one another. With an abundance of one or more ingredients, certain flavours can become overpowering and undermine the enjoyment of a meal. Maintaining your health and wellbeing is very similar — the difference being that you aim for the right balance of nutrients. Central to this is a good knowledge of which nutrients can be found in different foods — and that can only come from effective food labelling.
Food packaging is improving — giving us more information than ever before to help us understand the food we’re eating. But, while nutritional labels are a good start, it’s not always as easy as just glancing at the back of a packet — we have to know what we’re looking for.
Here are a few tips to making food labelling work for you:
• always look closely at the suggested serving size as packets often contain multiple servings
• keep an eye on the calorie count — this shows how much energy is contained in the product
• remember recommended calorie intakes: 1,800-2,200 for women and 2,200-2,500 for men (dependent on levels of exercise) so be sure to measure the calories on the label against this recommendation
• look out for the amount of salt in each product — many foods are marketed as free of artificial flavourings and preservatives, but this can be replaced by a higher salt content
• know your carbs — some people avoid carbohydrates altogether, but it’s important to get the nutrients that complex carbohydrates like fruit and vegetables provide (as well as fibre)
• it’s important to check for sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, mannitol and maltitol — ‘sugar-free’ or ‘no added sugar’ products might still have a sugar alcohol count on the label.
It’s important for us all to look after our health and wellbeing, and one of the key elements in achieving this is to know what we’re eating. We understand that making it easier to know how healthy food is can make a big difference in keeping people fit and well. That’s why we’re committed to offering our customers healthier choices and have introduced clear nutritional labelling across each of our sites in an effort to lead the way in championing health and wellbeing in the UK.