Healthier catering food quiz
Friday 30 September 2005
Now see if you know the answers to the following quiz questions. You will find all the answers at the end of the quiz.
- Are avocados a healthy choice?
- Does dried fruit count as one of the five portions of fruit and veg we should eat every day?
- Do we get most of the salt in our diets from the salt we add at the table or from processed foods?
- Does healthier catering cost more?
- Does healthy eating need to be boring?
- Does margarine contain less fat than butter?
- Can a traditional cooked breakfast ever be a healthy choice?
- What's the difference between salt and sodium?
- Is red meat always a higher fat option than poultry?
- Does eating eggs cause high blood cholesterol?
- Are savoury foods less fattening than sweet foods?
- Do people with diabetes need to eat a special diet?
- Is adding bran to food the best way to increase the fibre content?
- Is it necessary to take dietary supplements to have a healthy diet?
Yes - Avocados contain monounsaturated fat, which has a positive effect on blood cholesterol levels. As part of a healthy diet it's important to reduce the amount of saturated fat we eat and replace it with unsaturated fat, as well as reducing the total amount of fat we eat. This means avocados are a healthy choice.
Half an avocado also counts as one of the five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables we should be eating each day. However, avocados do contain fat and eating too much of any food containing fat can lead to weight gain if the energy isn't used up through physical activity.
Yes - People sometimes think that only fresh fruit and veg count towards the minimum of five portions of a variety of fruit and veg we are recommended to eat each day as part of a healthy balanced diet. But all types count, whether they are fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced (but fruit juice only counts as a maximum of one portion a day).
Dried fruit such as currants, sultanas, raisins, dates and figs provide energy in the form of sugar and are a good source of fibre. They also contain other vitamins and minerals, but not vitamin C, which is found in fresh fruit. A portion of dried fruit is one heaped tablespoon. This is less than a portion of fresh fruit because it's based on the equivalent weight of fresh fruit.
Processed foods - Three-quarters (75%) of the salt we eat comes from processed foods, such as breakfast cereals, soups, sauces, ready meals and biscuits. Just 10 to 15% comes from the salt we add when we're cooking or at the table.
Even if you're making food from scratch, you may well be buying processed foods such as bread, sauces and biscuits, which can be high in salt. So take a look at the food you're buying ' or ask the supplier how much salt their products contain ' as well as checking how much salt you're adding during preparation.
On average people are eating about 9.5g of salt a day. But we should try to cut this down to less than 6g of salt a day.
No - Although it's true that some healthier ingredients can be more expensive, often you only need to use them in very small amounts. And sometimes choosing the healthier alternative can actually save you money.
You can make meat go further by cooking it in casseroles or stir-fries with cheaper ingredients such as beans, pulses or seasonal veg. Basing your meals on starchy foods, such as rice, pasta or bread, is not only a good idea for a healthy balanced diet, but these foods are also good value and can make a meal go further.
Similarly, serving more bread or other starchy staples with meals is a relatively cheap step. See Planning your menu for more money-saving tips.
No it doesn't - It's true that we shouldn't eat too much of certain foods, or eat them too often, such as those high in fat or sugar, but there are lots of interesting foods we should be eating more of, such as oily fish, starchy foods and fruit and veg.
And eating healthily doesn't mean cutting out people's favourite foods, it's about getting the balance right.
If you add a bit of variety by regularly changing what you usually serve, you'll also get lots of opportunity to experiment. Remember, you can make healthy eating tasty, exciting and even exotic.
Yes - If you grill lean bacon, poach the eggs and include reduced sugar/salt baked beans, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms cooked without fat, and serve it all up with thick crusty granary bread, you'll be giving your customers a delicious cooked breakfast that is also healthy and balanced.
Salt is also known as sodium chloride - 1g of sodium is equivalent to about 2.5g of salt. It's the sodium in salt that can lead to health problems.
Adults should have no more than 6g of salt a day, which is about 2.4g of sodium. And children should have even less.
On average, people are actually having about 9g of salt a day. This means we are eating about 50% more salt than we should.
It's a good idea for everyone to try to cut down on the salt they are eating. To work out if a food is high in salt, check the label.
High is more than 1.5g salt per 100g (or 0.6g sodium)
Low is 0.3g salt or less per 100g (or 0.1g sodium)
If the amount of salt per 100g is in between these figures, then that is a medium level of salt.
Remember that the amount you eat of a particular food affects how much salt you will get from it.
No - Removing visible fat can make a big difference to the fat content of meat. In fact, lean red meat is quite low in fat at 4'8g per 100g. When the lean and fat components of meat are blended together in mince or meat products, this can make the fat content much higher.
Meat products, whether they've been made from red meat or poultry, can also be high in fat because of the other high fat ingredients they contain, such as the pastry in a meat pie or pasty.
Skinned poultry meat only contains about 1'3g fat per 100g, and white meat contains less fat than darker meat. But if the skin and fatty deposits beneath it aren't removed, the fat content will be much higher.
So try to go for leaner cuts, always remove the visible fat, and remove the skin from poultry.
No - Eggs contain cholesterol and high cholesterol levels in our blood increase the risk of heart disease. However, the cholesterol we get from our food - and this includes eggs - has less effect on the amount of cholesterol in our blood than the amount of saturated fat we eat.
So, if people are eating a balanced diet they only need to cut down on eggs if they have been told to do so by their GP or dietitian. If someone has been told to watch their cholesterol levels, their priority should be cutting down on saturated fats.
No - Sweet and savoury foods can both be high in fat. Fat contains twice the calories and so provides twice as much energy as the same weight of sugar.
So even if a food isn't sweet, this doesn't mean it's not fattening. Savoury foods that have been fried, such as crisps and battered foods, can be particularly high in fat.
But remember that people should also be trying to eat food and drinks containing added sugars only occasionally because these foods contain calories but few other nutrients. Sugar is added to many types of food such as fizzy drinks and juice drinks, sweets and biscuits, jam, cakes, pastries and puddings and ice cream. Sugary foods and drinks can cause tooth decay, particularly if people have them between meals. This includes fruit juice and honey.
No - People with diabetes should try to maintain a healthy weight and eat a balanced diet. There are no foods that people with diabetes should never eat. And there is no need to cut out all sugar.
But, like everyone, people with diabetes should try to eat only small amounts of foods that are high in sugar or fat, or both. People who have diabetes can eat cakes and biscuits sparingly, as part of a balanced diet. But drinking very large amounts of fruit juice could cause problems with controlling blood sugar for some people with diabetes, because of the fruit sugar (fructose) it contains.
The Food Standards Agency and Diabetes UK (formerly the British Diabetic Association) don't recommend special diabetic products. Foods that are labelled 'diabetic' aren't necessarily healthier or more suitable for diabetics than other foods. And they tend to be more expensive than other products. Many of the products that are labelled 'diabetic' are sweets, chocolates and biscuits.
No - Bran does contain fibre, but it also contains substances called phytates. Phytates can stop minerals, such as calcium and iron, from being absorbed into the body. This means it's not a good idea to add a lot of bran to food.
Good sources of fibre include wholegrain cereal products - such as bread and breakfast cereals ' fruit, vegetables, beans and pulses.
No - A healthy balanced diet will provide all the nutrients that most people need. Vitamin and mineral supplements are no substitute for good eating habits. A healthy diet is a diet that:
- includes plenty of fruit and vegetables
- is rich in starchy foods
- contains moderate amounts of dairy products and moderate amounts of meat and meat alternatives
Fruit and vegetables are rich in a range of nutrients, including fibre and antioxidants such as vitamins C, E and A (in the form of carotenes).
Many of these nutrients are also available in the form of dietary supplements. However, current thinking suggests that it's unlikely that these nutrients work in isolation. Rather, it's a mixture of different components that seem to be the most effective. So, taking supplements won't necessarily have the same benefits as eating the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
For more information see the vitamins and minerals section on the Agency's eatwell website.