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Friday, March 27, 2015

Making the switch with Food Switch

This post is in conjunction with Bupa Australia and The George Institute for Global Health

I'm a bit of a habitual buyer when it comes to grocery shopping. I tend to stick with what I know. Having said that I am prone to going through phases when it comes to food, but for the most part I usually buy the same things week in and week out. Not all of our choices are healthy, however since becoming parents to a child with numerous food allergies we are making better choices than before. I've become well versed at reading ingredient labels for bub, but I sometimes forget when it comes to us.

Thanks to Bupa I've been introduced to the new FoodSwitch app which is a free app that allows you to make better choices when it comes to packaged food. FoodSwitch was developed by The George Institute for Global Health in partnership with Bupa. It's available for both android and apple devices for free via Google Play or the App Store. 

Using the app is really simple. Essentially you just have to scan the barcode of a food item and it displays whether its a healthy option or not and also lists other healthier options below. The contents of the food is displayed as grams and % of an adults daily intake. You can choose the traffic light display mode or health star rating mode. We chose to use the traffic light mode which shows each section in either red, yellow or green which makes it even easier to work out if the levels are good or bad. Obviously red is bad and green is good.

We actually started playing around with the app at home going through half our pantry contents scanning it to see what was healthy and what wasn't {other than obvious things like chocolate}. It's kind of hilarious how much fun we had playing around with the app, even at home. Its like a grown up version of playing shops, and who didn't love playing shops as a kid. It's just as much fun using the app at the shops, however a few people may have given me weird looks taking photos of T scanning things.

It was actually quite interesting when some things that I thought would be healthy turned out not to be. We both thought these Waterthins twists would be relatively healthy {although we mainly based that on the fancy packaging and the fact they were near the healthier biscuit versions in the aisle}. Turns out they're not that great, which makes it obvious that you shouldn't just pick the items with the fancier packaging.

Another one which pleasantly surprised me was the fried rice packets we've recently discovered. We bought them one week when they were on special and fell in love with the flavour. I thought for sure that they'd be bad for me so scanned them with a bit of apprehension, however turns out they're quite healthy. Now I don't feel bad about occasionally having fried rice as a side dish on the nights I couldn't be bothered cooking a huge meal :)

There were some others that didn't surprise me at all, like my beloved Tim Tams. Of course they're bad for me, but deep down I already knew that. Something that tastes so good has to be bad. Another product that rated as expected is the Cocobella Kids coconut water juice range that we give bub. No surprises that it's super healthy.

As well as the choice of display image mode, the FoodSwitch app also has 6 different modes you can switch through depending on what your health goal is. We just stuck to the FoodSwitch classic which gives general healthier alternative suggestions. You can tailor the mode to suit your needs if you're looking to minimise or eliminate one element e.g. sugar.
  1. FoodSwitch Classic is great for anyone looking to make overall healthier food choices.
  2. SaltSwitch is great for people with, or being treated for, high blood pressure. It’s also useful for people with heart disease and kidney disease.
  3. GlutenSwitch helps people living with coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance to identify gluten-free products.
  4. FatSwitch has been designed for people with, or being treated for, high cholesterol by helping to find healthier foods with lower levels of saturated fat.
  5. EnergySwitch can help people choose foods with lower energy (kilojoules) to help them manage their energy needs.
  6. SugarSwitch helps people choose healthier foods with less total sugar.

Overall the FoodSwitch app is very informative and extremely simple to use. Its a great tool to help those trying to achieve certain nutrition goals and also those who are just looking to make healthier food choices. I love that it's available on both apple and android devices and best of all its FREE.

Do you read ingredient labels when you buy food?

Toni x

Disclosure - I was sent a gift card to go food shopping using the Food Switch app. I wasn't obliged to post about the app, however I think its something that you guys would benefit from. I did not receive monetary payment for this post.

Linking with Grace & Sonia

Would you like to comment?

  1. This is a great idea- I spend aaaages reading packets!

    1. I love the traffic light version because I just need to look at the colours to know if its ok :)

  2. OMG! This is awesome!! I will definitely download this app. I'm spend way too long in the supermarket checking for preservatives, sugar content etc. This will save me time. I'll download it later and then go crazy in my cupboard. Lol. What a wild life I lead ;)

    1. Its scary how much fun it is going through your pantry Renee lol.

  3. I'm coeliac so I have to! I like the idea of glutenswitch!!!


  4. GlutenSwitch! Awesome. This could be so handy for us when shopping.

    1. I need to look into the GlutenSwitch part more I think too.