Here at HFG, we’re always being asked, “what’s the best?” and “what’s the worst?” when it comes to food. So we went on a search to determine which products are not only the healthiest – but the tastiest
The expert opinion
HFG expert Bobbie Crothers is an Accredited Practising Dietitian. She has five years’ experience working with the food industry, making her very familiar with food labels, ingredient lists and on-pack nutrition information.
We all know what it feels like to walk up and down the bread aisle of a supermarket and feel slightly overwhelmed by the vast array of options on offer. Multigrain, wholegrain, wholemeal, wholewheat, reduced-wheat, wheat-free, gluten-free... it’s really no surprise that we receive regular questions on which products to buy!
To help you make the best choices, we created the Healthy Food Awards. Of course, our picks aren’t just healthy. We think taste is a big part of healthy eating (forcing yourself to munch on bland, tasteless food every day just isn’t good for you!) so our Food Award winners are judged on taste, as well as their nutrition credentials. Read on to discover just how we picked the best – and to find out the winners!
Determining our winners was a three-step process
We asked you to vote for your favourite brands and products, in a variety of categories. Over 500 of you sent in your top picks, on everything from bread and milk, to your favourite gluten-free sweet treats.
After collating the results, we ranked them in order of popularity. The top three contenders in each category were all put up for consideration for the winner’s title.
HFG’s resident dietitian, Bobbie Crothers, analysed the nutrition profiles of each of the top three contenders in each category, taking into account everything from portion size to popularity to saturated fat, sodium, fibre and kilojoule content. Once she’d taken everything into consideration, she crowned the winners.
Winner: Bürgen Soy-Lin Bread
It was hard to determine a winner in this category – these finalists have very similar nutrition credentials, so popularity ruled in the end. Bürgen Soy-Lin bread is high in fibre and contains phytoestrogens from the soy and linseeds. Overall, an excellent choice.
Highly commended: Another great choice, Tip Top 9 Grain Original is also high in fibre, and is made with nine wholegrains.
Winner: Pura Light Start
This milk had the lowest saturated fat and the lowest sodium content, compared with the other milks in the running.
Highly commended: PhysiCal Low Fat Milk is not quite as low in saturated fat, but it is high in calcium.
Winner: All-Bran Wheat Flakes Honey Almond
This was another very close race! Of the top two most popular cereals, All-Bran Honey Almond is higher in fibre – containing twice as much as the runner up. It also tastes great, so you don’t need to add anything sweet to it.
Highly commended: Sanitarium Weet-Bix is also a good choice since it’s made with 97 per cent wholegrains, however it just couldn’t compete in the fibre stakes
Winner: Bega So Extra Light Tasty Cheese 50% Reduced Fat
The proof is in the name with this one. This cheese has a lower saturated fat and sodium content, and has more calcium than some of the other contenders. It has also earned itself the Heart Foundation Tick.
Highly commended: Dairy Farmers Coon Light & Tasty cheese has a higher saturated fat content than our winner, but it’s still a good option over regular (full fat) cheeses.
Crackers, rice/corn thins
Winner: Real Foods Multigrain Corn Thins
These corn thins have a lower sodium level than many other crackers, are made with four different wholegrains and are also gluten-free.
Highly commended: Made with wholegrains, Arnott’s Vita-Weat 9 Grains are also a good choice (and they taste great!).
Winner: Yoplait Formé French Vanilla
With only 0.2g fat and 287kJ per tub, and a high calcium content, this yoghurt is a delicious snack when watching your weight.
Highly commended: Vaalia French Vanilla: although higher in kilojoules, this low-fat yoghurt is also really yummy!
Winner: Changs Vermicelli Rice Noodles
A gluten-free, low-sodium, easy-to-prepare product that is so versatile you can use it in salads, with stir-frys or even as a snack.
Highly commended: Hakubaku Organic Soba Noodles were also popular with readers, but they are much higher in sodium.
Winner: Bertolli Five Brothers Summer Tomato Basil
This was the most popular pasta sauce by far – not surprising when you consider that 95 per cent of the sauce is fresh tomatoes! Bonus – it’s lower in sodium than many other pasta sauces on the shelf.
Highly commended: Raguletto Red Wine with Garlic pasta sauce is low in fat and has less sodium than other sauces.
Winner: Carman’s Classic Fruit Muesli Bars
These snack bars have 4.3g fibre per serve and are low in sodium. And although they aren’t gluten-free, they are wheat-free.
Highly commended: Be Natural Trail Bars Nut & Fruit. These yummy bars contain five different wholegrains and make a great on-the-go snack.
Winner: Nestlé Diet 97% Fat Free Chocolate Mousse
This is the perfect little treat when those sugar cravings hit. We love the individual portions that help keep kilojoules low. You get a great chocolatey taste that’s still low in fat!
Highly commended: Weight Watchers Sticky Date Pudding also comes in portion-controlled packs and is high in fibre, but it does have more sodium than our winner.
Winner: Soyco Tofu Thai
This is a great meat alternative: pre-marinated in Thai spices, it’s flavourful and convenient, so it’s a good product to start with if you are new to the world of tofu. And, compared with many other flavoured tofus, it has less sodium.
Highly commended: Sanitarium Vegie Delights Vegie Sausages. Although higher in sodium, they are fortified with vitamin B12, which is especially important for vegans.
Winner: Country Life Low GI Gluten Free
This bread is high in fibre, which is sometimes a difficult nutrient to obtain adequately for those on a gluten-free diet. It also has less sodium than some other gluten-free breads.
Highly commended: Country Life Gluten Free Multigrain bread is also high in fibre, but has a little more sodium than our top pick.
Gluten-free sweet snack
Winner: The Gluten Free Bar with Fruit
Low in saturated fat and sodium, this fruity bar makes a great gluten-free snack, and it’s even a source of fibre!
Highly commended: Melinda’s Blissful White Choc Custard Biscuits. This gluten-free treat may be higher in saturated fat, but it’s low in sodium. It’s also pretty easy to prepare and bake, even for those of us who are baking-challenged!