yum. Gluten Free had the pleasure of talking snack foods and how to determine what’s natural and what’s not with Health Coach Army founder, Brooke Glew. Brooke struggled with health ailments her entire life prior to becoming a Naturopath, Herbalist, Nutritionist, Homeopath and Iridologist. She is extremely passionate about food and product labelling for best health and is a proud supporter of the well-known brand, Vege Chips.
yum. gluten free: Hey Brooke! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, I’m Brooke Glew. I’m a Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist. I run a busy Naturopathic Clinic on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and an online wellness community on HealthCoachArmy.com.
ygf: Buying Guide: What you need to know about food labeling and what natural really means?
“Natural” means that the ingredients are as close to natural as possible. When I’m looking at the label, I want to see ingredients that I know what they are. If there are any words that I can’t pronounce, I’ve never heard of an item or numbers representing an ingredient, then I put it back.
ygf: How to tell if your favourite chip is natural?
First and foremost, it’s important to know why we’re buying natural. If you’re buying snack foods for yourself and your family, what you choose can have a direct effect on your health, your mood, your energy levels, and your weight. With convenience being a big factor today we know that a lot of these foods are often packaged, unless you’re going for a fruit snack or vegetable sticks. Let’s break down the back of pack. When it comes to packaged food, here are some guidelines to consider before purchasing:
- Look at the ingredients. The ingredients are ultimately what are going in to your body and then in to your blood stream. Try to choose a product with the most natural ingredients list! Vege Chips are a great example. When you check out the back of the packet, you can instantly recognise and know what you’ll be consuming.
- The lower number of ingredients, the better. When reading the ingredient list, if you’re looking at a list that has multiple ingredients, put it back on the shelf.
- Avoid Numbers. Any numbers in the ingredient list are an indication of a chemical or preservative. If your snack food has numbers as ingredients, put it back on the shelf and go for those that don’t. Vege Chips have the ‘clean labelling’ approach and are empowering their consumer’s to be aware of the ingredients in their products.
- The order of ingredient list matters. What order your ingredients are in reflects the quantity of that ingredient.
- Don’t discount the last ingredients. The last ingredients on the list are those in the smallest amount, but they’re often where the chemicals hide out.
ygf: Does natural mean that it’s healthy when it comes to snack foods?
It means it’s the best option in terms of snack foods. That is, if you’re conscious and educated about navigating through this area. Natural is when you know what the ingredients are and they come from a natural source. Be wary of vague labeling like ‘vegetable oil or natural flavouring’ where the food manufacturer doesn’t list the specific ingredient. You need to wonder why? They’re not telling you exactly what is in the food you want to eat.
ygf: What are five snack foods that are natural all the way?
The key thing I look for when it comes to a natural, packaged snack is the ingredients list. The front of pack can be confusing with so many different claims, but with the ingredients list there’s nowhere to hide! My rule of thumb is, if you don’t know the ingredient or if there are number’s instead of words put it back on the shelf! It’s definitely not natural and it’s definitely not going to nourish you!
Here are my top five healthy snacks for any time of the day, that are natural all the way!
- Vege Sticks Don’t underestimate the humble vege sticks! My favorites are carrot, cucumber, celery, capsicum… but the possibilities are endless!
- Fruit Two serves of fruit a day? Easy! Two snacks a day!
- Vege Chips Chips are my guilty pleasure! But they don’t have to. My favorite natural chip choice is Vege Chips. With no added nasties they are the much healthier, more natural choice! They are also 100% gluten-free, which is great for coeliac but also anyone else that’s wanting to reduce their gluten intake!
- Popcorn Most snack sized popcorn is lower in saturated fats and salt then the original. To ensure you’re choosing the most natural variety, stick to the brands that use Australian Grown or organic corn, and go for sea salt variety.
- Rice crackers Wholegrain rice crackers are the perfect bread substitute! I love to top them with your favourite veggies or protein.
ygf: Your top tip for general health?
Too many of us are walking around trying to not have certain foods, which sets us up for failure. With so much conflicting information about what is good for us and what isn’t, it can get confusing. Be kind to yourself, eat plenty of wholefoods and have your treats every so often. If the basis of your diet is plant foods, and clean water, your body will begin to function optimally.
ygf: How do our readers stay in touch with you?
You can find me at www.healthcoacharmy.com. Come all! Get involved in our community, we love to share stories, experiences and knowledge.