Judging Books By Their Covers…

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Do you remember the schoolyard lesson – ‘never judge a book by its cover’??? There’s so much more than what’s on the outside. You and I are great examples of that. But what if a book cover literally said ‘read me, I’m a Mills and Boon Romance’ – would you read it? I know I’d run a mile and yet I love reading. I’d much rather read something saying ‘read me, I’m a thought-provoking thriller.’ But what does this have to do with food choice you might be asking? Well, I’m thinking along the lines of making your food choices based on their covers – judge those books by their covers otherwise known as food labels... 

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I often talk about granola being a great way to start your day. It’s full of third level proteins like nuts and seeds. They can be complemented with a second level protein like Greek yoghurt, but the full value can be felt with adding that top-level protein in the way of protein powder. The granola from retreat is a great example, but there’s plenty of pre-packaged varieties appearing at the supermarket these days which blur the lines of me saying granola is a great breakfast food.


Granola seems to be very ‘en vogue’ at present. Food marketers are exploiting the idea that granola is considered healthy, but unfortunately, that means they are adding a lot of other bits and pieces to make theirs tastier than the next. That’s what worries me. Each week I feel like I’m seeing more and more granola brands on the supermarket shelf, and in my mind, that means judging these books by their covers is really important. I’ve been seeing patient’s lately describing dumping symptoms and the common food choice between them seems to be pre-packaged granola. That’s what takes me to the hot seat this month…

Drews Hotseat – fresh is best

Who has time to read food labels at the supermarket? I know the realities of life might prevent you from this, although it’s an activity I really encourage as often as possible. It’s your way of knowing if a food choice meets your needs in terms of being low risk for dumping. For example, you’ll see there are three food labels for pre-packaged granola below. Have a look at each of them to consider their appropriateness as a food choice.  


Which granola would you choose for your breakfast? I’m hoping you’re thinking number 2? it’s within the label reading guidelines for sugar, and while the fat is approaching 10g per 100g, this can be explained by the granola containing a whole lot of nuts and seeds. In other words, the healthy fats, but remember fat is fat so go easy with your portion control to avoid consequences of having too much. As for options 1 and 3, you’ll see the sugars are well above 10g per 100g and that’s enough for me to think these are high risk for dumping – considering they contain ingredients like dried fruits which pushes the sugar content up really high. 

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The Take Home

At the end of the day – fresh is best. The granola recipe used on retreat is an example of that. With a recipe, you have control of knowing what goes in, and that means you have control over what to leave out or use in lower amounts. Say for example you dislike linseeds – there’s no need to add them in the amount suggested or even add any at all. On the other hand – pre-packaged granolas have had their ingredients like dried fruit or straight sugar already added, and that makes them tough to take out. That’s why I’m always suggesting to try and find time in your weekend to get the ingredients together and make up a granola rather than rely on pre-packaged options from the supermarket. Remember, the recipe is available in the Healthy Living Blog (recipes) on this website. If time stops you and you do go with a pre-packaged option, remember to judge that book by its cover when choosing it.

All the best until next month.