If you haven’t already started to look at ingredient lists on the packets of the food your family eats it’s time to do so. Just because ingredients are allowed to be put into our food, it doesn’t mean they are safe to eat. Harmful food additives can cause a range of symptoms including asthma, behavioural problems, learning difficulties, hay fever, migraines and the list goes on.
My family have been eating additive free for quite a long time now. I hadn’t actually given it any thought at all until my oldest daughter who is 18 now was about 7 and one of the mums at ballet was talking about a book she was reading. She told me her friend went over to her house, looked in her pantry and told her that everything needed to go! Now I thought my family had a great diet, and we mostly did, but when I took a closer look I was pretty shocked!!
So how did I start? The book I read was Julie Eady’sAdditive Alert. It came with a handy book mark that I then took every time I went to the supermarket so I could really easily check an ingredient list and know whether to buy or not. It can be really overwhelming when you start this process so I suggest you do it slowly.
Read a book – there are HEAPS of great books on this topic now, even books your kids can read to help them understand what’s in their food. Every time you go shopping look at the ingredients of what you are needing to buy and if the ingredients are not good look for an alternative.
In no time at all you will have replaced your pantry staples with additive free food and it won’t be too hard. There are also some great apps that you can get for your phone and that’s what I use now if I am not sure what an ingredient is.
It’s really important to actually read the ingredients list rather than just look at the marketing hype on the packet. It often says ‘all natural’ or ‘no artificial colours and flavours’ but it isn’t always necessarily true. Be smarter than that and take a couple of seconds to check if this is true.
You can get really well educated on this topic by following some bloggers and Facebook pages too. Some of them show you a product on their Facebook page that isn’t great and their suggested alternative and that’s a great way to start. They also show you what their kids’ additive free lunchboxes look like to give you some easy ideas, as well as some easy family recipes that they like to use. Take a look at some of these blogs and their Facebook pages.
Additive Free Pantry has a really handy shopping guide you can purchase that takes the hard work out of reading labels. You can just look up what you want eg. yoghurt and then it lists all the brands available that are free of additives.
So you might wonder what do we do at parties or when eating out?
Everyone has a different opinion on this but this is what I think. We don’t eat out much – we can’t because of Alex's allergies. When we do we usually just go to Grill’d and we all order what we want and enjoy the treat. Same at parties. I will certainly encourage my kids to choose better options but I’m not going to ruin the moment by telling them what they can and can’t eat so I let them choose and enjoy it (I take Alex's own food due to allergies). When I prepare party food at my home however I do ensure that it is additive free and it’s really easy to do. Remember that additive free doesn’t have to mean lots of hard work and flavour free.