Test your nutrition knowledge with dietitian Brooke Longfield’s quick quiz!
Q. True or false? A small can of baked beans has more fibre than an apple.
Answer: True. A 130g can of baked beans has 6g of fibre, double that of an apple. For quick and healthy summer meals, keep baked beans in the pantry, along with high-fibre chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans (all perfect for salads!).
Q. A serve of red meat should be the size of …?
Half your plate
Answer: Your palm. Most of us overdo our meat intake and this can increase risk of colorectal cancer. Wave goodbye to massive 300g T-bone steaks. When out shopping, look for cuts of around 100g when raw — that’s about the size and thickness of your palm. To help reduce your overall intake, incorporate 1–2 meat-free meals into your weekly menu.
Q. Which nutrient is the most filling?
Answer: Protein. Research shows that people who follow higher protein diets experience less hunger and are better able to maintain a healthy body weight. Fibre and low-GI carbohydrates also help us stay full. So for a healthy and satisfying start to the day, try a protein-rich fruit smoothie made with reduced-fat milk, and a slice of grainy toast with peanut butter.
Q. How much time should you spend in the sun to get enough vitamin D?
Answer: About 10–20 minutes each day. During the hottest part of a summer’s day, just 1–2 minutes of sun exposure to the hands or face will suffice. Eating foods such as fortified milk, egg yolks, mushrooms and oily fish (salmon, tuna, and sardines) provide alternative sources of vitamin D, important for strong bones and a healthy immune system.
Q. Packaged foods are the main source of unhealthy high doses of sodium. What’s the upper limit of sodium intake you should be looking for?
Answer: 600mg per serve. When comparing two products in the nutritional panel, use the ‘per 100g’ column and choose the one with the lowest amount of sodium. To help reduce the level of salt in your diet, look for ‘no-added-salt’ or ‘reduced-salt’ versions of pantry staples like stock, baked beans, canned legumes and tomato paste.
Q. Which of the following is classed as a starchy vegetable?
Answer: Corn. All vegies are good for us, but some have more carbohydrates than others. Corn, peas, potato and pumpkin are starchy, and should only make up about a quarter of your dinner plate. Non-starchy vegies, such as cucumber, cauliflower, tomato, Asian greens and carrots, can fill at least half your dinner plate.
Q. What is a healthy portion of nuts?
Answer: 30g, which is about a handful. Or more specifically, 20 almonds, 15 cashews, 30 pistachios, 10 Brazil nuts or 2 tablespoons of pine nuts. This amount of nuts eaten daily has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. To manage portions, divide a large bag into 30g servings and keep in smaller containers or zip-lock bags.
Q. Which bread has a lower glycaemic index (GI)?
Answer: Sourdough. Both are more filling than white bread, but sourdough made with lactobacillus culture has a GI of around 54 (wholemeal is around 74). Note that many supermarket sourdoughs are not made with lactobacillus and have a similar GI to white bread, which can be as high as 90 (glucose is 100).
Q. Rank these foods from the highest to lowest number in kilojoules.
1 row of milk chocolate
2 slices (40g) full-fat cheese
150g salmon fillet
While the salmon has more kilojoules than the chocolate, it’s rich in healthy omega-3 fats and protein. The nuts also have more kilojoules than the row of chocolate but are rich in protein, fibre and unsaturated fat. Instead of focusing on kilojoules alone, consider a food’s nutritional value, too.
Q. True or false? Coconut oil is better for you than olive oil.
Answer: False. Gram for gram, coconut oil and olive oil contain the same number of kilojoules, but olive oil contains just 16 per cent saturated fat compared to the 92 per cent found in coconut oil. The science supporting the health benefits of coconut oil is limited, whereas there is strong evidence linking olive oil to a reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers.
Q. Which milk has the most protein per glass?
Answer: Skim milk. When fat is removed from milk, additional skim milk powder loaded with protein and calcium is usually added. This gives it a high 9.25g of protein per glass, whereas full-fat milk has 8.75g per glass. Soy milk has around 7.5g per glass, thanks to protein-rich soy beans. In contrast, almond milk has a mere 1g protein per 250ml glass.
Q. True or false? A teaspoon of sugar has more kilojoules than a teaspoon of honey.
Answer: False. Honey has 94kJ (22cal) per teaspoon, whereas sugar has just 67kJ (16cal). Both are classed as ‘free sugars’ by the World Health Organization who recommends a daily intake of no more than 12 teaspoons. A 600ml bottle of Coke has 14 teaspoons of free sugars!
Q. Which of the following foods are gluten free?
Answer: They all are! As you can see, gluten free doesn’t guarantee a food is healthy. So it pays to look beyond the front-of-pack marketing claims and find out what else a food contains. Extra care needs to be taken when choosing packaged gluten-free foods such as biscuits, muffins and cake mixes, as these can be high in kilojoules.
Q. Which foods contain the energy-boosting mineral, iron?
Answer: All of them! Iron is found in both animal and plant sources, but our bodies are better able to absorb the iron in red meat. You can increase your iron absorption from plants by pairing them with vitamin-C rich foods. Try adding red capsicum to your next stir-fry, or toss orange segments into a spinach salad.
Q. Which has more saturated fat?
30g banana chips
Small McDonalds chips
Answer: Banana chips. A small handful of dried banana chips has around 8.2g saturated fat, which is 7g more than fried chips (1.2g sat fat). Why? Most banana chips are deep fried in coconut oil. (And remember, that sweetness isn’t all from the banana, but from added sugar!)