There are a handful of foods that are commonly thought to be “healthy” choices despite some apparent nutritional issues when we look at things more closely.
Whether they exist as rice snacks, crackers or cakes, white rice is a source of concentrated carbohydrate, with a high glycaemic index and little dietary fibre. This means that the foods are digested relatively quickly and offer little else in the way of nutrition other than empty kilojoules. If you consider that ten rice crackers can contain as much carbohydrate as two small slices of bread without the wholegrain or fibre content, it may be clearer as to why these products are not good choices. If you do enjoy rice crackers or cakes, look for the wholegrain varieties.
2 minute noodles
A packet of 2 minute noodles can contain as much carbohydrate as three slices of bread and up to half your daily sodium requirement. Instead look for flat or hokkein noodles and enjoy with lots of vegetables and lean protein for a well balanced meal.
You probably were not aware that the average serve of Turkish bread contains the equivalent amount of carbohydrate as four slices of bread and that is before you consider how much margarine or butter seeps into all the holes! Sourdough or wraps are much lighter choices when you are purchasing sandwiches and toast away from home.
The average biscuit is a mix of white flour, sugar and fat meaning that they are not a good choice for anyone as a daily staple food. Limit your biscuit intake to special occasions and look for more filling, nutritious snacks such as wholegrain crackers and choice, yoghurt or fresh fruit as your daily snack food choices.
Regular cordial is a mix of sugar, water and colours and even the fruit based ones offer nothing nutritionally. The average glass of cordial contains as much as 6 teaspoons of sugar. While diet varieties may appear to be a reasonable option, remember that water should always be your first drink of choice.
Even if they say that they are 100% fruit, the fact is that fruit bars are packaged into an extremely concentrated food item, without the water, fibre and vitamin content of fresh fruit. The highly sticky nature of fruit bars also means that they are not great for the teeth.
While advertisers may claim that chocolate nut spreads are low GI and made from heart healthy nuts, if you check the label you will see that the first ingredient is actually sugar. It is also important to keep in mind that the product is only low GI as it is exceptionally high in fat. Peanut butter which can be found in “no added sugar” varieties is a much better option nutritionally and is less prone to being over consumed as chocolate spreads can be.