Monday, 22 November 2010

What are you really eating?

I had an amusing conversation with a friend over the weekend about her and her boyfriend's tesco clubcard vouchers.

For anyone who doesn't have a clubcard, I should explain that you are periodically sent money off vouchers for the foods you often buy. My friends vouchers were for pretty regular healthy food, vegetables, chicken, fish, bread, milk ... however she was amused to see that her boyfriends vouchers included beer, wine and cheesecake!

I loved the diet snapshot these vouchers presented, but you can also tell a lot about someone from their basket at the checkout ... I like to nose at what people are buying and make assumptions about them:

- 1 pint of milk, a few single fruit and veg, ready meals for one: young, single female

- multi-packs of everything, lots of frozen foods, whole chicken, three loaves of bread, six pints of milk: big family

- some fruit and veg, fresh meat or fish, bottle of wine, GU chocolate pud: young couple

- big pack of chicken breasts, brown bread and pasta, pre-prepared veggies, eggs, chocolate bar or biscuits: male gym goer

- kipling cakes, sherry, piece of fish: old lady

- organic fruit and veg, gluten free bread and pasta, mackerel, seeds:, volvic: me!

For those of us who don't do one big weekly shop it can be hard to have an accurate picture of what you're eating over a week - I certainly find with food diaries that people have to write them as they go, as if asked to remember what they've eaten that week a lot gets left out! A food diary is a great way to have a regular check of your diet and whether it's gotten out of balance - have crisps crept in everyday, have you gotten out the habit of eating vegetables?

I always like it on diet programmes where they lay out on a table everything that person ate in a week - I think that would be a real eye opener for most of us, but a more practical alternative is to keep all your food receipts for seven days and then read then all through in one go. See which foods are eaten very regularly and which foods are missing - you might be surprised by what your receipts reveal.

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