*This is a collaborative post
Over the last few months LP has been learning about health and nutrition at school. Every day she’ll talk to us about what we’re having for dinner – and as we cook from scratch quite often she’ll talk about the different parts of the meal and whether she thinks they’re healthy or not. But, it’s hard for her to understand what processed and pre-packaged foods are made up of, whether they contain a lot of sugar or salt, whether they’re high in saturated fat and whether, overall, they’re as healthy as we would like.
But over the last few weeks I’ve been using the Change4Life Be Food Smart app to find out exactly what is in the things we’re eating. I have got into a bit of a food rut – buying the same things and things I know we enjoy eating when it comes to breakfast cereals, snacks and treats rather than ever looking at the ingredients or nutritional information. Downloading the Change4Life Be Food Smart app has made me reassess our food choices at home – and I’m loving it so far.
The Change4Life Be Food Smart app can be downloaded onto your smartphone and tablet and once installed you literally just scan barcodes of products to find out how much salt, sugar and saturated fat they have in them. This is all displayed in a really cute and simple graphic style – with piles of sugar lumps and then a traffic light system too so that it matches the information we already see on food packaging.
The first time I showed the app to the children I took them to the supermarket with it and they loved scanning products themselves. Although, they were keen to pick up and scan their favourite characters who they saw on cereal boxes but soon realised that these cereals aimed at children are often full of sugar and aren’t something we can eat every day. But, their favourite cereal is wheat biscuits and they were so happy when they came out as three green lights. It’s like a game to them – trying to pick food items that will give us three greens instead of the amber circle that appear so often.
But, to make the Change4Life Be Food Smart app into even more of a game it has mini-missions that you can complete and stickers that you can collect. The children have already collected stickers for three and ten successful scans – they are now working towards the 25 Successful Scans sticker and have also earned a sticker for scanning low sugar cereal. It’s nice that children learn more about what’s inside the foods they eat whilst having fun too – and the stickers really help with that.
The mini-missions that the children can take part in are things like giving up chocolate for a month or having cereal that is low in sugar, salt and sat fat. These mini-missions are fun – like the stickers – but also slightly more challenging, getting the children as well as Hubby and I, to think more about lifestyle choices and the decisions we make where foods are concerned.
Using the Change4Life Be Food Smart app has really helped us teach the children more about a healthy balanced diet. We’re making sure that the children know that there are healthier food choices where we can and it’s more about Hubby and I setting a good example for the children
There are products that we don’t use often – like pasta sauces – that we were all surprised by the amount of salt and sugar in them. It’s now inspired me to scan more products in the shops – and in our cupboards – to find out what is really in everything we eat. The great thing about the Be Food Smart app is that it saves all your scans so you have a ready-made directory to look back on and don’t have to repeatedly scan the same things.
It’s so nice to find an app that fits in so well with family life and that the children love to use too. It’s just so important to teach children about healthy living as early as possible to give them the best foundations in life.
*This is a collaborative post