We all want to eat more healthily. And that means getting the right balance of nutrients from the food and drink we consume. Now, at last, there’s a simple system of food labelling called guideline daily amount (or GDA) designed to do just that.
Making healthy food choices can be confusing. So it’s no wonder so many of us still feel left in the dark about how much sugar, fat, saturated fat and salt we should be consuming. And if you and your family eat a combination of home-cooked and ready meals, it can be even harder to keep tabs on what you’re really eating.
The answer lies in a system of labelling called a guideline daily amount (GDA). But how does it work?
The GDA label not only tells you how many calories, sugar, fat, saturated fat and salt a particular food or drink contains per 100g or 100ml, say. More importantly, it also says how much is in each portion or serving – a far more practical indication.
The GDA for a quiche or pie, for example, is usually worked out for a one-quarter slice, which is typical serving. So there’s no more fiddly weighing and measuring – simply slice it into four and serve.
What do the percentages on the GDA label mean?
This is where the GDA label is even more useful. In order to eat a well-balanced diet, you need to eat a healthy amount of calories every day – around 2,000 for the average woman and 2,500 for the average man. But – and this is the tricky part – those same calories need to provide the right balance of sugar, fat, saturated fat and salt too.
The GDA label helps by showing what percentage of the guideline daily amounts of calories, sugar, fats and salt a particular food product contains. These percentages are based on the daily amount of each nutrient needed by a typical woman, so should be cut down for children. So if the label says ‘25%’ under the word sugar, this means the food contains a quarter of the guideline daily amount of sugar for the average woman.
How you and Morrisons can use GDA labels
Morrisons includes GDA labels on many of its foods in store, including ready meals. Studying GDA labels will make it easier to make healthy food choices, plan your meals, and keep track of the amount of calories, fat or salt you’re consuming every day. All you have to do is make sure you don’t exceed the 100 per cent.
Getting the right balance
You don’t need to be a goodie-goodie 24/7 and you don’t have to stop eating your favourite foods just because they’re high in calories, sugar, fat or salt. But using the GDAs means you can be a bit more aware and balance out what you eat for the rest of the day.
If you’re interested in taking healthy eating to the next level, try to stick to a few basic guidelines: