Chewsday Review- Freedom Foods Maple Crunch

Today's Chewsday Review features Freedom Foods' version of Nutri-Grain, known as Maple Crunch. Both foods have 4 stars in the health star rating, so which is the better option?

🔶Ingredients:

🔹Gluten free flour mix (76%) including rice, sorghum and corn flour, sugar, psyllium husks, maple syrup (2%), canola oil, salt emulsifier and flavours. Just FYI- Nutri-Grain contains similar ingredients, but use gluten-containing flours and have added protein and added vitamins and minerals.

🔹The two sources of sugar in this product are regular sugar and maple syrup. Maple syrup has almost the exact same nutritional content as regular sugar, so please don't be fooled into thinking this is a 'healthier' sugar. In comparison, Nutri-Grain contains sugar and molasses.

🔹Psyllium husk is a type of soluble fibre, which is useful for preventing constipation. In comparison, Nutri-Grain contains oat fibre.

🔶The positives:

🔹If you have a child with confirmed food allergies, you’ll know how hard it is to find suitable cereal options. This one is free from gluten, nuts, wheat, dairy, eggs and soy. Having said that- if your child is not allergic to these ingredients, please don't avoid them! Gluten, nuts, wheat, dairy, eggs and soy are all nutritious ingredients and provide protein, fats and carbohydrates for growth, as well as a host of vitamins and minerals. Lots of people think that gluten free means healthier, but this is rarely the case.

🔹Good fibre content with 3.5g per serve. In comparison, Nutri-Grain offers 2g of fibre per serve.

🔹Generally low fat and saturated fat content (within healthy guidelines), although not as low as Nutri-Grain.

🔹Not a super high sodium (salt) content at 255mg/100g (but also not super low!). Nutri-Grain has 30% more sodium, which isn't so good.

🔶The negatives:

🔹Generally we aim for less than 15% sugar in a food product. This cereal contains 15.7% sugar, tipping it just over the recommended level for foods. However, all of this sugar is added sugar (cane sugar and maple syrup) which isn’t ideal. In comparison, Nutri-Grain comprises 26.7% sugar.

🔹Half the total protein of Nutri-Grain, but remember that most Australian kids have plenty of protein in their diets. This isn’t a true negative.

🔹Not a source of iron, calcium or folate like Nutri-Grain is. I’m only really interested in the added iron though. A cup of Nutri-Grain provides 1/3 of a young child's daily iron requirements, whilst Maple Crunch doesn't.

🔶The marketing:

🔹I find the marketing of Maple Crunch almost nauseating. There are so many 'claims' all over the box, but most of them are pretty vague. E.g. "Good food karma" "Nourishing food that loves your body back" Blah Blah Blah 😷.

🔹The "Free From Allergens" is also a big selling point. For kids with allergies, this company guarantees a cereal manufactured in an Australian factory that has absolutely no risk of contamination from gluten or nuts. For those anaphylactic kiddies and parents, this is very reassuring. Again though, if neither you nor your child actually have a confirmed allergy, then this fact shouldn't convince you to buy the product.

🔹"Naturally sweetened with maple syrup". Ok this is just downright ridiculous. Maple syrup is no more 'natural' than regular sugar. Sure, maple sap comes from a tree, but you can't just hold your container underneath and fill it up. There is a production process including heating and filtering and packaging. I love maple syrup as much as the next person, but 'natural' is purely an emotional term, and highly misleading at that. Additionally, there’s more cane sugar (ie/ regular sugar) added to this product than there is maple syrup. So I’d argue it’s sweetened with sugar. Not such a great selling point I’m guessing…

🔹Maple Crunch: $1.66 per 100g vs Nutri-Grain $1.59 per 100g. This is based on the 300g packets- bigger packets of Nutri-Grain are obviously cheaper. Same same.

🔶The alternatives:

🔹Maple Crunch has a lower sugar content and higher fibre content, but Nutri-Grain has a lower fat content and higher protein and iron content. I think they're probably much of a muchness overall, and to be honest I wouldn’t recommend either of them.

🔹Realistically, both of these products are sources of sugar, which isn't a necessity at breakfast time. If you've got other options then I'd choose Weetbix, oats or porridge and add your own toppings.

About Toddler Mealtimes

Toddler Mealtimes is an online subscription for parents who want to feel confident about teaching their toddler to enjoy a variety of foods. It's particularly helpful for those who are noticing their toddler becoming increasingly fussy, but they're not quite sure to handle it. The 12 month subscription guides you through managing toddler fussiness with confidence with regular tips and tricks via videos and photos. Sign up here www.toddlermealtimes.com.au

About Baby Mealtimes

Baby Mealtimes is an online subscription for parents with babies aged 4-12 months. It’s your one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about introducing solid food to your baby. The 12 month subscription guides you through what to offer and when, with meal ideas and a photo gallery of over 120 finger foods organised by age. Sign up here www.babymealtimes.com.au

About Mealtime Building Blocks

Dr Kyla Smith and Liz Beaton ares paediatric dietitian specialising in fussy eating, feeding difficulties and childhood nutrition. Lauren Pike is an occupational therapist working in fussy eating and feeding difficulties. They have a private practice called Mealtime Building Blocks in Perth, Western Australia. You can connect with Kyla, Liz and Lauren on their website and sign up for their newsletter, and the Facebook page or on the Instagram page.

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