Like a lot of people, I am starting the New Year trying to be healthier, I hold my hands up and admit that I have gained weight over recent years and I want to change that. I want to lead a healthier life and I want to lead by example so that my children lead a healthier life in return. My children are 3,4 and 15 and I admit that as a result of me not being as healthy as I should be my youngest two have been allowed a few too many treats recently.
I do try and ensure they eat a balanced diet, they have three meals a day, one of which is always a home-cooked meal. We don't allow them to drink pop, they are limited to just one packet of crisps and/or sweets per day and we encourage them to eat fruit as snacks. However bad habits have started creeping in, as they have got older they want to choose their own foods more often and chocolate covered cereals, sugar-laden drinks and a few too many convenience foods have crept in.
So when I recently heard about the new Change4Life Food Scanner app I downloaded it straight away to my iPhone, as I thought this would be a great way to help us make better food choices as a family. You can find out more about the app at www.nhs.uk/change4life
PHE (Public Health England) who are behind Change4Life say "Without realising it we're all eating too much sugar, saturated fat and salt. That's why the brand new Food Scanner app is here to help you and your family make healthier food and drink choices. Simply scan the barcode of your food and drink to find out whats inside."
Downloading the app is completely free and it is available for android or ios devices. It is so easy to use as you simply open the app and you are ready to start scanning straight away. You just hold your phone over the barcode on the product and it scans and brings up the results within seconds. It will tell you the name of the product, how much sugar, salt, saturated fat and calories are in the product you scan and it also shows the traffic light symbols too. It really is so quick and easy to use.
I can easily use this app when we are shopping as it is so quick and easy to use and I don't think anyone would even realise what you were doing. When we go to the shops and the children pick up a drink or some sweets I can easily scan the item and see what it contains, it is so much quicker and useful than reading the ingredients myself. For example, I let the children have a fruit juice that had no added sugar and I naively thought this meant it was good for them. When I scanned the drink I found it actually had the equivalent of 3.7 sugar cubes and was an amber traffic light for sugar content. Safe to say I won't be buying them again.
If you are thinking of making better food and drink choices for your own family then I really do recommend you download this app. It is free, easy to use, quick to use and like me you might be surprised with just how much sugar, salt or saturated fats are in foods without us realising.
Just search for the Change4Life Food Scanner app in your app store to get started. You can download from Google Play for Android devices or app store for Apple devices.
Disclosure This is a collaborative post with Mumsnet and Change4Life.