FGC videos help make healthier eating easier

13 September 2016

The NZ Food and Grocery Council wants to help grow Kiwis’ food literacy through four short videos that aim to make healthier eating easier. 

The videos, written and presented by trained dietitian and Registered Nutritionist Nikki Hart, tackle subjects people are often confused about: what to eat for breakfast, fad diets, processed foods, and how to use the new Health Star Rating system.

Katherine Rich says the video series is one of the many ways the food industry is working to help reduce obesity rates.  

“The industry has taken on board the challenge by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman for it to improve public information and resources as part of the Government’s ‘Childhood Obesity Plan.’

“Food literacy is absolutely vital to enable us to choose, prepare, and consume a healthy diet. Healthy eating information can be confusing and contradictory, given the many sources of different information.

“With the rise in social media anyone can claim to be an expert or become so popular or appealing that people do what they say. But often these ‘experts’ do not have the right knowledge base to give that advice, or it’s based on personal experience rather than sound science. These videos allow people to hear directly from an appropriately trained nutrition professional.”

In the videos, Nikki Hart, who has 20 years’ experience helping people eat healthier, offers practical tips to support healthier eating with plenty of real food examples. The videos are based on the Ministry of Health National food and Nutrition Guidelines, so the information is consistent with what New Zealand-trained food and nutrition experts advise. 

Ms Hart says food literacy is something people are continually building over their lifetimes.

“It begins in childhood and continues throughout our lives. Because our lifestyles, including the way we eat, have changed so much over the past few decades, the biggest challenge is often knowing what a healthy diet looks like.

“I want people to see that healthy eating can be easy, and that there are no good or bad foods. It’s about how often and how much we eat of different foods, and choosing the lower fat, lower salt and lower sugar versions when we can. The videos show simple and practical advice to build food literacy.”

In her own nutrition practice, Ms Hart continually sees how, for most people, a few simple changes to their food choices or eating habits can lead to positive changes they didn’t expect.

“Eating breakfast, for example, means they are more likely to have good intakes of important micronutrients, they won’t eat as much later in the day, and may even be more active because they have energy.”

Choosing the best options from packaged and prepared foods can be difficult, given the wide range of similar products available. The HSR video explains what the system means and how to use it when shopping.

FGC believes that to successfully beat obesity, every sector of society needs to adopt a culture of healthy eating and activity. Member companies are manufacturers and suppliers of New Zealand’s food, beverage, and grocery brands. The videos will also be shared internally among their combined workforce of more than 200,000 as part of companies’ health and wellness programmes. 

Today, FGC is releasing the videos on what to eat for breakfast, fad diets, and processed foods. They are available on FGC’s Healthy Balance website here.