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Food checklist - what's good and not so good

We've compiled a guide to the best, fair and poor choices of individual foods that you can also download for easy reference.

Aim to eat the ‘best’ choices in the majority that is; include ‘best’ choices on a daily basis, ‘fair’ choices in moderation and ‘poor’ choices occasionally and in smaller quantities.

This food checklist is not an exhaustive list of foods, but will provide some informative choices for you to make. The checklist is separated into foods rich in proteins, carbohydrates and fats rather than food groups.

A healthy diet should be made up of real natural foods as much as possible, what we mean by this is foods that our grandparents used to eat, foods that are in their natural form with the aim to avoid highly processed foods. 

In the food checklist you will find best, fair and poor choices of foods.  You will notice that many of the highly processed foods are within the poor choice category which means that these should only be consumed occasionally and in smaller quantities. 

Choosing a variety of foods will provide you with energy and essential nutrients to keep you well and aid you with weight management. Eat real foods as much as you can as part of a more positive lifestyle. 

With foods that you prepare yourself you control the ingredients – you know what is included within the dish and this is preferable.

Pre-packaged foods can be labelled differently. 

Below are a couple of ways to guide you through reading labels so that you can make a better choice for highly processed foods.

Many nutrition labels use red, amber and green colour-coding. This can be useful at-a-glance to see if the product has a high, medium or low content of certain nutrients: total fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt.

  • Red is high
  • Amber is medium
  • Green is low

Therefore aim to choose the food that is all or nearly all green.

Another way, is to look at the Ingredients list. The list is in order of weight so the first ingredients will be the main one and so on.  Therefore if the first or next ingredient is sugar, you know that this food is high in sugar, bear in mind there are many different types of sugar.

Shopping Guide

When shopping in the supermarket, shop the L. That is the fruit and vegetable aisles which usually make the first arm of the L.  The second arm of the L tends to be the delicatessen counter that runs along the back wall of the store.  Shop this for fresh lean meat, poultry and fish. The central aisles of the supermarket contain mostly processed foods. Simply dip into here for staples such as porridge oats and brown rice or wholewheat pasta.

 

Meat and Poultry

These foods listed are foods rich in protein. For meat, fish and chicken, aim for a palm sized portion as indicated in your menu suggestions to get you started

Best choice Fair choice Poor choice
Chicken breast, skinless Beef, lean cuts Bacon
Turkey breast, skinless Beef, lean (minced) Beef, fatty cuts
  Chicken, (dark meat) skinless Beef, minced
  Corned beef, lean Beef liver
  Duck Chicken Liver
  Ham, lean Hot dog (pork,beef,turkey,chicken)
  Lamb, lean

Pepperoni

  Pork, lean Pork sausage
  Pork chop Salami
  Turkey (dark meat, skinless) Skin from chicken, turkey or duck
  Turkey bacon Pate

Protein: Fish and Seafood (those with * are oil-rich fish)

All Best choice
Bass *Mackerel
Calamari Prawns
Catfish *Salmon
Cod *Sardines
Clams Scallops
Crabmeat Snapper
Haddock Trout
Halibut *Tuna (steak)
Lobster *Tuna (canned in water)

Protein: Eggs

Fair choice
Egg

Protein-Rich Dairy (note: cheese can often be high in salt)

Best choice Fair choice Poor choice
Cheese (fat free and low fat) Cheese (reduced fat) Hard cheese
Cottage cheese (low fat) Camembert Cream cheese
Ricotta Cheese Edam cheese Full cream milk
Low fat milk Mozzarella cheese Full cream yoghurt
Low fat yoghurt    

Protein-Vegetarian

(Check that soy products have no added sugar)

Protein-Rich (Best choice) Mixed Protein/Carbohydrate (Fair choice)
Pulses Nuts
Soybeans Tofu (soft)
Soy flour Soya bacon
Tempeh Soya burgers
Tofu (firm or extra firm) Soya hotdogs

Dairy free milk alternatives eg oat, almond and soya milk

Soya sausages

Carbohydrates–best choices

(Rich in Complex Carbohydrates – these include fruit, vegetables and wholegrains)

Cooked Vegetables Raw Vegetables Fruit Grains
Artichoke Alfalfa Sprouts Apple Barley (whole)
Asparagus Bamboo shoots Apricots Brown rice
Beans (green) Bean sprouts Banana Buckwheat
Broccoli Beans (green) Blackberries Oatcakes
Brussels sprouts Beetroot Blueberries Oatmeal
Cabbage Broccoli Boysenberries Pasta (wholewheat)
Chickpeas Cabbage Cherries Popccorn
Corn Cauliflower Grapefruit Rye
Eggplant Celery Guava Quinoa
Kale Cucumber Kiwi Wholegrain bread
Kidney beans Endive Kumquat Wholemeal bread
Leeks Green peppers Lemon  
Lentils Jalapeno peppers Lime  
Mushrooms (boiled) Lettuce (iceberg) Mango  
Okra Lettuce (romaine) Melon (cantaloupe)  
Onions (boiled) Mange tout Melon (honeydew)  
Pak choi Mushrooms Nectarine  
Parsnip Radishes Olives  
Peas Salsa Orange  
Sauerkraut Shallots Papaya  
Spinach Spinach Peach  
Swiss Chard Tomato Pear  
Tomato (puree) Water chestnuts Pineapple  
Tomatoes (canned) Watercress Plum  
Turnip   Raspberries  
Yellow Squash   Strawberries  
Zucchini      

Carbohydrates sources – fair choices

These are more starchy foods or have more sugar than the complex varieties - dried fruit are also a source of fibre - aim to limit fruit juice to one glass a day, there is no benefit in having more.

Unrefined starchy foods Fruits Fruit Juices – fruit juices are high in sugar and are best consumed when diluted. We suggest 1/3 juice to 2/3 water (still or sparkling)
Bagel (white) Dried fruit All fruit juices such as -
Pasta (white)   Apple juice
Ptta (brown)   Cranberry juice
Pitta (white)   Grape juice
Potato (mashed)   Grapefruit juice
Rice (white)   Lemon juice
Wrap (brown)   Lime juice
Wrap (white)   Orange juice
    Pineapple juice
    Tomato juice
    Vegetable juice

Carbohydrates – poor choices 

These are more starchy foods or are highly processed, some can also be high in sugar and fat.


 

Grains, cereals and breads Other
Biscuit All processed foods, here is a small example
Breadsticks Baked beans (not reduced sugar)
Cereal (sugar coated) Barbecue sauce
Croissant Cake
Croutons Chocolate bars
Doughnut Cocktail sauce
English Muffin Cook-in sauces
Naan Crackers
Noodles (egg) Crisps
Pancakes Frozen chips
Ricecakes Ice cream
Tortillas Jam
  Ketchup
  Plum sauce
  Relish (pickle)
  Sauces in jars
  Sugar (confectioners’, brown, granulated, caster)
  Sweets
  Syrups

Fats and fat rich foods

Fat is a rich source of energy

Best choice (rich in unsaturated fats) Fair choice (lower in unsaturated fat) Poor choice (high in saturated fat)
Almonds (whole) Almond butter Butter
Almond oil Cashews Cream
Avocado Cream cheese (light) Cream cheese (regular)
Guacamole Mayonnaise (light, regular) Hard cheese
Hazelnuts Peanut butter Lard
Macadamia nuts Peanuts/peanut oil Mayonnaise (regular)
Oily fish Tahini Palm oil
Olive oil   Salad cream
Sesame oil/seeds   Sour cream (light, regular)
Soybean oil   Vegetable shortening
Sunflower seeds    
Vegetable oils    
Walnuts    

Drinks

Best Choice Fair Choice Poor Choice
Water Fizzy drinks, sugar free Alcohol
Sparkling water Squash, sugar free Caffeinated drinks, tea, coffee, cola
Naturally caffeine-free tea   Cordials and squashes
    Fizzy drinks (full sugar, low sugar, sugar free)
 
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Long Marston
Stratford upon Avon
Warwickshire
CV37 8RH

07778 218009


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