It's time for the latest instalment of the Chewsday Reviews! For those of you new to my blog, welcome! I'm Dr Kyla, a paediatric dietitian working with super fussy kids and their families. I see part of my job as helping parents navigate the tricky world of feeding their kids. Each Tuesday/Chewsday, I review a supermarket product and let you know what I think about it. You can request specific products or just join us for the ride- you can find me @mealtimebuildingblocks on Instagram (or click the icon in the bottom right hand corner of this page!)
I'm back on the yoghurts in this review, after a few requests about the new fruit and veg range from Rafferty's Garden. This product is Yoghurt- pear, sweet potato & carrot + nothing else. So, what does Dr Kyla think? Here are the facts for our Chewsday Review...
🔶Ingredients: yoghurt (83%) made up of milk, sugar, cream, milk solids and live cultures (probiotics). Then 8.5% pear, 5.1% sweet potato and 3.4% carrot.
🔹This works out to be 7g of pear, 5g of sweet potato and 3g of carrot. To put this into perspective, an individual M&M weighs about 1g and one thin/medium circle of carrot weighs 3g. My point is it might be something, but it's not a lot. This amount of veg provides (at best) about 5% of a child's recommended daily intake.
🔹Sugar is the ingredient in second highest concentration.
🔶 The positives:
🔹One of the kiddie yoghurts with the least amount of sugar (15% less than the standard amount)
🔹Reasonable protein content (28% of daily requirements)- but remember that Australian children often consume a lot more protein than required!!
🔹Contains probiotics for gut health
🔹Significantly less calcium than other kiddie yoghurts. This yoghurt has only a third of the calcium of Petit Miam, and only half the calcium of CalciYum. Even with the addition of fruit and veg, this is low.
🔹Almost double the amount of saturated fat (the bad fat) compared to other kiddie yoghurts.
🔹Rafferty's Garden yoghurt only comes in a squeezie pouch. Whilst this is good for keeping your child clean- your child learns to suck food rather than chew and mess actually helps kids to be more accepting of new foods. So I think the pouch is a negative for an everyday product.
🔹$1.86 per pack, making it the 3rd most expensive kids yoghurt.
🔶 The marketing:
🔹The 'real fruit and veg' tagline is somewhat misleading. As I explained earlier, the amounts are really little. If your child is really bothered by fruits and vegetables then perhaps you'd be better getting help from a qualified feeding specialist to help them trust with these foods, rather than consuming tiny amounts disguised in yoghurt.
🔹All the yoghurts advertise that they contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, and this yoghurt is no exception
🔹The packet reads "We know that grow ups want the best for their babies, so this pouch contains yummy, premium yoghurt made with whole milk and natural fruit and veg." This sentence really bugs me, because it insinuates that this is the best option for babies. I really dislike the emotional marketing to parents Stick with facts please food companies!
🔹Other yoghurts with less than 12g of sugar per 100g, and calcium content of more than 200mg per 100g.
Steggles Chicken Dino Snacks (tempura)
In this review I'm talking chicken nuggets again, because so many of you want to know more. These nuggets are shaped like dinosaurs, and eternally popular with lots of my clients. Without further ado, I talk Steggles Chicken Dinosaur Snacks (tempura)
🔶Ingredients: chicken breast (60%). This is one of the nuggets with the highest proportion of chicken. 🔹The other ingredients are a combination of ingredients mostly related to the crumb, like cereal flours, oil, starch and salt.
🔶 The positives: 🔹One of the lowest contents of sodium (salt) on the market. The tempura battered nuggets are most likely to have lower salt contents, but this is one of the better ones even still. 🔹Also the lowest saturated fat content of all of the 14 nuggets I surveyed (although this isn't an exhaustive list) 🔹High protein content, although remember that most Australian kiddies eat enough protein to easily exceed the protein requirements 🔹No artificial colours, flavours or added preservatives. Free of hormones and steroids (as is all Australian chicken) 🔹Made in Australia 🔹$1.25 per serving ($12.50/kg)
🔶The negatives: 🔹Slightly higher sugar content than some other nuggets (but realistically all are less than 2% sugar anyway so this is negligible) 🔹Overall, a reasonable nugget (as far as nuggets go!)
🔶The marketing: 🔹This product proudly states 100% chicken breast. I think this is quite misleading. At first glance it sounds like the whole nugget is made from chicken. Instead, it means that the 60% chicken in the nugget is all chicken breast. 🔹The declaration about the absence of hormones and steroids also adds an element of confusion for customers, given that all Australian chicken is free from hormones and steroids. 🔹The dinosaur shapes are probably the smartest marketing of all! . 🔶The alternatives: 🔹I'd be quite happy to choose this nugget over many of the others 🔹As always, working towards homemade nuggets or plain chicken is a good nutritional step. I do realise this is really tricky for some kids and families, so if your fussy child enjoys these dino snacks, then breathe a sigh of relief.
Woolworths butter flavoured microwave popcorn
This product is a perennial favourite with kids and adults alike- microwave popcorn! I chose the Woolworths brand popcorn, because it was the cheapest on the market. You'll soon see why!
🔶Ingredients: popping corn (76%), blended vegetable oil (soybean and palm), salt, natural flavouring, natural colour. 🔹Most of the pre-flavoured popcorn contains about 70 something per cent popcorn. The rest of the weight is made up from added fat, sugar or salt. 🔹Both soybean and palm oil are very cheap oils, with little nutritional benefit
🔶The positives: 🔹Great source of dietary fibre (one 20g serving, provides 16% of the daily fibre requirements for a young child). 🔹Good source of protein (one 20g serving provides 28% of the daily protein requirements for a young child- remember that most Australian children get plenty of protein!) 🔹No added sugar
🔶The negatives: 🔹And wow is this a big negative! The Woolworths popcorn contains a significant amount of trans fat (7% by weight). If you don't know much about trans fat, I'll give you a quick run down. It's the worst of the fats by far. It does occur in small amounts naturally, but trans fat usually comes from heating cheap oils and changing their chemical structure. This is done to keep them solid at room temperature (in this case I assume it's to adhere to the popcorn). This type of fat is particularly unhealthy for humans, and has been consistently linked with heart disease. In America, the government has ordered this type of trans fat to be removed from food products within the next few years. In other parts of the world, such as Denmark, the law states that a product can contain no more than 2% of the total fat as trans fat, and this law can be enforced with jail time. Yet, the Woolworths popcorn contains 32% of the total fat as trans fat. Certainly not good enough Woolworths. As a side note, in Australia, we don't even have a law to enforce companies to even tell us how much trans fat is in their products (they don't even have to put it on the label. Health groups have been campaigning against this forever!) 🔹This popcorn also has a very high saturated fat content (also not a good fat!) 🔹One of the highest sodium/salt containing popcorns on the market (more than double most of the other brands!)
🔶The marketing: 🔹Interestingly, the makers of this product chose to include the Health Star Rating on their packaging (also voluntary). The popcorn got 2 stars out of a possible 5, which clearly doesn't make it a healthy choice. Other popcorns, however, would likely get a much higher rating because they tend to be high in fibre, low in sugar and some are lower in fat and sodium. Interesting marketing technique...🙈 🔹No artificial colours, flavours or preservatives
🔶The alternatives. This product is NOT worth the dollar or two saving compared to the other brands. 🔹Pop your own popcorn and add your own flavours (you can use kernels and a brown paper bag in the microwave for simple homemade popcorn- check out my Instagram video for instructions) 🔹Choose a microwave or pre popped popcorn with less than 0.1g of trans fat per 100g 🔹Choose a microwave or pre popped popcorn with less than 500mg of sodium per 100g
Uncle Toby's low sugar Cheerios
Excellent request for a Chewsday review of the Low Sugar Cheerios. You might have seen them on the shelf and wondered if 'low sugar' is code for 'high fat', or maybe the sugar has just been replaced with another sort of sugar and called something different (lots of products out there doing this!) So, without further ado, I review Uncle Toby's Low Sugar Cheerios.
🔶Ingredients: 🔹Wholegrain cereals make up 78% of this product. The fact that they're 'whole', as opposed to 'parts' of the grain is a real positive. Health benefits of wholegrain consumption are many, 🔹Remaining ingredients are wheat starch, sunflower oil, salt, colours and an acidity regulator. These ingredients help the wholegrain bond together to form the circular Cheerio shape, otherwise this product would just be cereal flakes (a bit like Weeties). 🔹Added vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, zinc and folate.
🔶The positives: 🔹Low sugar content. Only 1.5% of this product is sugar, and none of that is added during processing. The small amount of sugar exists naturally in wholegrains. In comparison, Weetbix contains 3.3% sugar and Coco Pops contains 36.5% sugar. Regular Cheerios contain 14.7% sugar in the form of regular sugar and golden syrup. 🔹Reasonable fibre content. Ideally you want to aim for 3g of fibre per SERVE, and this cereal contains 2.5g of fibre per serve. In comparison, Weetbix contains 3.3g of fibre per serve and Coco Pops provides 0.5g of fibre per serve. 🔹Low fat and saturated fat content. Most breakfast cereals are low in fat, unless they contain nuts or are 'toasted' like muesli. Cheerios meet all guidelines for fat, with 4.5g total fat per 100g and 0.7g of saturated fat per 100g. 🔹Low Sugar Cheerios are fortified with vitamins and minerals, which basically means extra nutrition has been added to the cereal during production. These vitamins and minerals are usually not as easily absorbed as naturally occurring sources, but they definitely do count. For example, most of my clients are struggling to get enough iron in their diet (usually from meat sources) and a serve of Cheerios would give them a big boost of iron- up to 1/3 of their daily requirements. (Also check out my homemade chicken nuggets using these Low Sugar Cheerios in the bread crumb- here) 🔹Relatively low sodium content compared to most breakfast cereals. This product contains 295mg of sodium per 100g. In comparison, Weetbix contains 270mg of sodium per 100g and Coco Pops contains 425mg per 100g.
🔶The negatives: 🔹Nutritionally, these Low Sugar Cheerios perform pretty well. I'd be hard pressed to pick out a big negative. 🔹In terms of taste, I would liken these Cheerios to cardboard. They're pretty bland, with a bit of crunch. Having said that, most of my fussy clients love plain, boring and crunchy foods, and most of my clients seem to love this product. So, I guess that's a win for kids and parents alike!
🔶The marketing: 🔹This product really cashes in on the 'sugar fear' that I'm seeing on a daily basis. Parents are terrified of their kids eating sugar, because they've been told all sorts of outrageous things about what sugar does. Don't get me started on the one where sugar lights up your brain like cocaine does...ugh. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating for Froot Loops here (party because the spelling of Froot really bugs me!), but I truly believe that the hype around sugar is WAY out of control. A lovely client of mine has recently asked for a blog post about my views on sugar so watch this space! 🔹As always, no artificial colours or flavours. Additionally, no artificial sweeteners (which means they haven't replaced sugar with a different sweetener). 🔹4.5 health starts, which I think is a good reflection of the nutritional content (often health stars can be a bit misleading!)
🔶The alternatives: 🔹I think these are a pretty good option 🔹Similar foods like low-processed cereals including Weetbix, Weeties and oats.
Remember, submit your requests via Facebook or Instagram. And stay tuned every Chewsday!
Please note that the information in this blog is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to replace the advice of a dietitian, nor medical care for a child.
About the author of this blog post:
Dr Kyla Smith is a paediatric dietitian specialising in fussy eating, feeding difficulties and childhood nutrition. She has a private practice called Mealtime Building Blocks in Perth, Western Australia. You can connect with Kyla on her website www.mealtimes.com.au and her Facebook page or on Instagram