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The Science and Art of Food Marketing

The Science and Art of Food Marketing

Bel Smith | October 8, 2019


Why am I writing about The Art and Science of Food Marketing?

Because I recently sat in listening to food organisations giving evidence to the Senate Select Committee into the Obesity Epidemic about how it is their job to provide parents (consumers) with choice, and it is our job as parents to make better choices. Their position is there a place for these foods in a balanced diet. I can honestly tell you, it was so hard to sit there and bite my tongue.

I 100% agree it is a parent’s responsibility to make food and beverage choices for their family. However, these organisations total lack of acceptance of the role they play in the choices parents are making really annoys me. The art and science of food marketing plays a massive role in what parents are choosing to feed their family. Parents right around Australia have shared with us just how difficult it is to say no to these foods in light of the pester power created by these foods, and what their child’s friends are eating (no-one likes the idea of their kid not feeling normal).

Then there are the messages about how busy, time-poor parents need these products because they are convenient. Oh, I could go on! But, rather than get all hot under the collar about this, I decided to do what I do best – empower people with knowledge. Today I share with you some information to help you navigate (ie. see through) the marketing of food, so you can wield your consumer power by simply not buying many of these foods.

Left Brain Right Brain Food Marketing

Important Numbers

Personal trainers and medical professionals tell us that 80% of our health comes from the food we eat, therefore it is important to understand the numbers behind how most Australians are eating.

Discretionary foods are now the norm

  • Discretionary foods are not part of the 5 food groups our bodies need for health. They are foods that are considered to be OK to eat in small amounts, and only occasionally;
  • Our Australian Tour and our involvement in The Real Food Lunchbox Project found that most Australian children are having at least 2-4 discretionary foods in their lunchbox a day;
  • Only 5 out of every 100 children are eating the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables a day;
  • ABS data now shows that 58% of a household’s weekly food budget is now spent on discretionary foods – this means most households are spending over half of their food budget on foods which are not needed for health. (In fact, many of these foods have been shown to take away from our health.) Personally, I think this ABS study is really telling us how effective food manufacturers are at practising the art and science of marketing!

Given these numbers, it is fair to say most Australian children are not eating a balanced diet. They are eating a diet of largely discretionary foods, with small amounts of the foods their bodies need for health.

What’s on our supermarket shelves?

The George Institute For Global Health recently released a study completed on 40,664 products currently available on supermarket shelves (some reports indicate there are 50-80,000 different products currently available). Here are some of the key findings:

  • Two thirds (2/3) of products on supermarket shelves are considered unhealthy
  • 61% of products on supermarket shelves are considered highly or ultra processed
  • Another 18% are considered to be moderately processed
  • 53% of packaged foods are considered to be discretionary

Combine these stats with the ABS data that 58% of a household’s weekly food budget is now spent on discretionary foods, and is it any wonder this country has a health crisis?

Cereal Food Marketing

What is marketing?

Depending on what you read, and where you read it, it is said that marketing is both an art and a science. The “art” part of marketing is the side which looks at shades of human behaviour, and creating an emotional connection with the consumer. The “science” part is the more analytical side, which looks at the strategies to optimise consumer activity and spend. The combination of the 2 makes it difficult for even the most astute consumer to navigate the enormous amounts of products on the supermarket shelf.

To help you navigate better, I want to share with you a few techniques (tactics) used in the food industry so you can easily recognise them for what they are. I hope you can learn to see them for what they are, laugh at them and move on (ie. do not buy them).

Supermarket positioning

There is definitely a science to the layout of supermarkets and their promotions. Have you ever noticed how when you walk into the 2 major supermarkets in Australia, you enter from one side, and that there are usually specials near the entrance? Yep, there’s a science to that: the specials tend to be items with a higher margin (ie. that the supermarkets will make more money on) – or that the food manufacturer has paid extra $ for, to place at the front of the store.

Product positioning is another important marketing science. Have you ever noticed how foods like Tiny Teddies are positioned at the eye level of kids from toddlers to 7 year olds? And biscuits like shapes are at the eye level of slightly older kids, and those packets of noodles with flavour sachets are at the eye level of tweens and early teens? Then energy drinks and soft drinks at the eye level of teens? This is not a coincidence.

There is a whole other level of positioning around brands, too. I recently had a discussion with someone who is a manager at food manufacturer which has over 10 lines of products with the 3 major supermarkets. His company was approached by one of the major supermarkets who said they were looking at reducing the number of brands of a particular product range, and requested a $100,000 payment in order to keep their brand on the shelf. I won’t even go into the rest of the negotiations that went on, but suffice to say I was blown away.

I started doing some research and found this article called Shelf Importance which was eye opening – I suggest you read it to get a great understanding of just how much science is involved with how products and brands are marketed within supermarkets.

Psychology of colour

Have you noticed how many fast food outlets and packaged foods use red, yellow, greens and blues? It’s because each colour elicits a different kind of response. In this great article by Karen Haller about branding she says “The language of colour is communicated quicker to the brain than words or shapes as they work directly on our feelings and emotions.”

Here are just some of the ways colours are used:

RED – gives a sense of urgency. Is often used by fast food outlets because it encourages appetite, builds excitement and passion.

YELLOW / ORANGE – happy and friendly colours. When combined with red, they give the feeling of speed. Also used to elicit impulsive buys. Yellow is also the most visible colour in daylight (you can always see those golden arches, day or night).

BLUE – associated with peace and reliability. Used mostly by conservative brands wanting people to trust them.

GREEN – think healthy, nature, strong. Used to relax people.

PURPLE – wisdom, admiration, creative.

BLACK – means strong, stable

Think about the colours used by most fast food outlets, or the colours on packaged foods. Can you see now why those companies and products are using those colours?

You might also like to read this article on the psychology of colour.

Taken from this great article by the Obesity Policy Coalition

Characters / Words

I’ve written before about the use of characters on food packets for kids before – read the Dark Side of The Force, it explains how characters have a significant impact on pester power of kids.

What about the use of our sports people to promote food and drinks too. I can tell you from first hand experience of showing kids sports drinks and hearing them all cheer for them, that the use of Australian sports people promoting these drinks has been a stroke of genius by these firms. Kids look up to these athletes. They see if they are drinking them, then we must need them after we have played sport. Seriously, what kid (or adult for that matter) needs the 9 teaspoons of sugar most of these drinks contain? 

Then the words used on packets: E.g. lunchbox friendly (only to manufacturers – not to our kids bodies nor the stress levels of teachers), canteen approved, no artificial colours or flavours, 30% less sugar (than what?), no added MSG and the list goes on.

These words, those pictures – all of this is the art and science of marketing. None of it tells you what’s in your food. Turn the packet over and read the ingredients.

Specials, like Buy One, Get One Free

Everyone loves to think they are getting a bargain. But are you?  Why is it this week you can get 2 for the price of one? Who is paying for the other one? Are the supermarkets being the nice guy and giving it away? I doubt it. Have they charged the manufacturer additional fees to do this? Or are we being overcharged in the first place?

Interesting questions, don’t you think? What about this question: Do you really need two of that item this week?

Food Marketing chocolate

5 Tips To Navigate Marketing At Supermarkets

Here are my 5 simple tips to navigate marketing whilst at supermarkets:

  1. Go into the shops with a full tummy and a shopping list
  2. Shop mainly in the fruit and veg section, followed by the refrigerated section (use steps 3-5 when shopping in refrigerated section)
  3. Pay no attention to where products are positioned
  4. Pay no attention to items listed as on special unless they are on your list
  5. Only buy what’s on the list after turning packets around, and reading the ingredients. Always ask: “What’s in my food?”

If you want help learning how to read packet labels, read this article – 5 simple steps to reading packet labels.

If you want to help spread the word about how to make better food choices, please share this article widely with your family and friends. We thank you for being a stand for children’s health.


How You Can Make a Difference For Our Planet in 2019

How You Can Make a Difference For Our Planet in 2019

Marion O'Leary | October 4, 2019


As global temperatures rise, plastic accumulates and valuable ecological habitats diminish, it can be difficult to remain positive about the future. But perhaps now is the time to remember how far we have come in so many areas and how we can play a role in accelerating the rate of change. By remaining strong, lobbying our governments, joining activist groups and continually making adjustments in our everyday lives, it is still possible to turn things around. Here is where we are right now.

Care for our Planet

The energy outlook

On the negative side, our use of oil is currently the highest it has ever been, and still climbing (1). Carbon dioxide emissions increased to their highest level during 2018, and are forecast to increase even further in 2019. In order to keep global warming to 2ºC, a target was set in the Paris Agreement to bring net carbon emissions down to zero by the second half of this century (2). So in 2019 we are still a long way from stabilising our carbon dioxide emissions, let alone reducing them.
On the positive side, renewable energy now makes up around 20% of our electricity generation world-wide, and is coming down in cost, making it cheaper in some cases than fossil fuel-generated power. However, 80% of total energy consumption, including for industry, agriculture and transport, still comes from fossil fuels. Investment in renewables has to speed up dramatically if we are to have any chance of hitting the targets.
Clearly, our governments have to come on board, by investing in innovative technology and creating incentives to switch to renewables. We know it can be done if governments are sufficiently enlightened – and thankfully, some governments are willing to take a stand. The UK now has a greater capacity to produce energy from renewables than fossil fuels (3), Spain recently announced its intention to move to 100% renewable energy by 2050 (4), while the US states of California and Hawaii have legislated for 100% renewable electricity by 2050 (5) , despite the Trump administration’s failure to act on climate change.
Despite the enormous task ahead of us, it is important to acknowledge the huge steps that have been made. Some are convinced we have the technology available right now to replace fossil fuels with renewables while still providing a reliable source of energy – we just need to invest in them (6).

Native habitat

Clearing of native land is disastrous for our planet. It means loss of habitat for increasingly vulnerable plants and animals, mass species extinctions and reduced biodiversity. Land clearing contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, removes carbon sinks, contributes to global warming through loss of the cooling effect of trees, and can adversely affect water ecology and rainfall patterns. As the world’s human population grows, we are under increasing pressure to clear more land for agriculture and housing. For too long we have looked at our native forests as something to get out of the way or to harvest, rather than as a precious and irreplaceable resource.
Many of us in Australia point a finger at Indonesia and Malaysia, renowned for clearing subtropical rainforest for palm oil cultivation, or at Brazil for clearing Amazon jungle for agriculture. However Australia is one of the worst offenders amongst developed countries for land clearing, with around 5000 square kilometres of native bushland or regrowth cleared each year.

Plastic pollution

The simple policy of banning or charging for single use plastic bags in some parts of the world has resulted in drastic reductions in plastic bag use. In Australia, since the removal of single use plastic bags by Coles and Woolworths in 2018, together with plastic bag bans legislated in most states, there has been an estimated 80% reduction in consumption of plastic bags in Australia (7). Some countries are working towards taking the plastic ban further, including the European parliament which hopes to ban plastic straws, disposable plastic plates and cutlery by 2021, with 90% of plastic bottles recycled by 2025.

The tiny plastic beads added to a broad range of skin care, sunscreen and makeup products cause havoc for our marine life (see our blog on micro plastics here). They have been banned in rinse-off products in a handful of countries, but unfortunately they may still be used in most of these countries in both makeup and suncreen.

School Strike for the Planet

The future is up to us – 11 things you can do right now

No matter which area you look at, the single barrier to keeping our planet from heading for catastrophe lies in our will to make the effort, spend the money, and change our lifestyle. As an individual, there’s plenty you can do:

This is probably the single most effective thing you can do to help our planet. Elimination of livestock farming would reduce the amount of agricultural land use by 75%. Meat and dairy farming account for 60% of agricultural greenhouse emissions (8). But is going vegan too hard? Invest in a great vegan cookbook and start by going vegan one day a week while you build up your repertoire of recipes. Any reduction will make a difference.

Palm oil is a hidden ingredient in a huge range of foods ranging from snack foods, biscuits, chocolate, ready meals, bread, ice cream and breakfast cereal. Making your own is not difficult, and probably healthier. Alternatively, find products without palm oil.

This means getting organised because it means taking your lunch, keep cup and refillable water bottle with you when you’re out. When buying packaged foods, choose glass, paper or cellophane packaging over plastic – they are less toxic for the environment and the contents. Buying from farmers markets and bulk food stores will also reduce your plastic consumption. Planning ahead is key, but incredibly rewarding when you see how the contents of your bin shrinks. Don’t like the excessive packaging on a product? Write to the manufacturer and let them know.

The only way to get real change is to get government and business to make the right decisions for the planet. That means telling them directly that you want policy change, or helping out one of the many organisations whose mission this is. Organisations like the Wilderness Society, Greenpeace, Campaign to Save Native Forests, GetUp!, Australian Conservation Foundation and many others are all working to lobby governments and campaign for protection of our forests, oceans, rivers and wild places. Above all, vote wisely, and let your MP know you consider this issue to be a priority.

Where you can, choose products certified by organisations that make a difference – Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, Orangutan Alliance, certified organic, palm oil free, cruelty free. Getting the certification is expensive for the business, but because they must be audited, you know you can trust them. Unless the logo is RSPO – you can read about how this organisation which was set up to certify sustainable palm oil has failed to fulfil its role, and allowed destructive palm cultivation practices to flourish (9).

When you do buy wood or paper, purchase products with credible forestry certification system like FSC (10).

Switching over to public transport and bicycle use when feasible means fewer car journeys, lower carbon emissions and better air quality. We need to lose our love affair with enormous petrol-guzzling cars and support the electric and hybrid car industry. When flying, go with an airline that offers carbon offsets to counteract the high carbon emissions of flying.

The best option is to reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ you buy, so there’s not much you need to recycle. Pride yourself on finding furniture and household items from flea markets. What you do need to get rid of, recycle – that includes electronics, printer cartridges, batteries, plastic, glass, cardboard, paper – everything you can.

Second hand, or ethically made clothes from natural fibres are best.

And grow herbs and veggies at home if you can.

Avoid plastic packaged products where you can, and at all costs avoid cosmetics, makeup and sunscreen containing plastic microbeads. Choose palm oil free skin care, like Mokosh, and try to minimise the amount of shampoo and conditioner you use because there is still no accredited palm oil free or shampoo available.





How to Know When You’re Being Fooled By Dodgy Marketing

How to Know When You’re Being Fooled By Dodgy Marketing

Marion O'Leary | September 19, 2019



As a former scientist who has entered the world of business, I am often surprised by the advertising used by some companies to convey a healthier, cleaner impression of their product. When it comes to food, a lot of people are well informed. I would think that most people with half an interest in health could scan the ingredients list of a food product and get a pretty clear idea of whether it is healthy or not. But when it comes to cosmetics, it’s a different story, and companies know this.


Some interesting marketing

Something happened this week that left me a little perturbed. A health-conscious friend of mine was super-excited to discover a new hair care brand. The brand claimed to make their products differently, without synthetic ingredients, that left your hair healthier and shinier. There were lots of positive reviews on the website. One site selling the company’s hair products stated: 

‘Pure hand crafted hair care products derived from certified organic and biodynamic ingredients, free of all manmade synthetics and toxins.’ 

Well, that’s pretty exciting. Making shampoos and conditioners without synthetic ingredients is pretty impressive. Actually, impossible, as far as I know.

I took a look at the company’s own website. It stated: 

‘Ingredients straight from nature, grown organically and sustainably without chemicals. Ethically harvested and sourced from trusted, transparent plantations, orchards and farms from around the world. Formulated through conscious chemistry; cold-pressed, distilled or otherwise processed without synthetics to preserve purity.’

Sounds wonderful!


So what is a synthetic ingredient?

Wikipedia defines a synthetic substance or synthetic compound as: ‘a substance that is man-made by synthesis, rather than being produced by nature. However, it may also refer to a substance or compound formed under human control by any chemical reaction, either by chemical synthesis or by biosynthesis.’

In the world of organic certification, it is defined as ‘a substance which has been formulated or manufactured by a chemical process, and has chemically altered a substance which was derived from a naturally occurring plant, mineral or animal source’

So by these definitions, coconut oil is natural, but cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine is synthetic, even though coconut oil may have been used to make it. It’s not coconut oil anymore.


It’s easy to be fooled

So let’s look at the ingredients in one of the company’s shampoos. 

Water, Aqua- EAU, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil*, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu) Oil*, Plumeria Actufolia Flower Extract (Monoi Oil), Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Oil, Vanillin, Pogostemon Cablin Oil, Glycine Soja Oil, Sodium Benzoate, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract*, Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion) Leaf Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract.

I’ve highlighted in bold all the synthetic ingredients, by the definitions above. Out of 31 ingredients, 9 are synthetic – that’s nearly one third. What’s more, after water, which is the most abundant ingredient, the 4 most abundant ingredients are synthetic, so this product probably contains more synthetic ingredients than natural ingredients, if you don’t count water.


Is there a problem?

It may be that the shampoo is not harmful to human health or the environment, even though it contains numerous synthetic ingredients. It may even be fully biodegradable. However, it’s also possible that some of the synthetic ingredients in this product are harmful, or will in the future be found to be harmful, whereas the advertising led us to believe they were completely natural. At least, that is what how my friend and I interpreted their marketing.

The problem here is not telling the whole truth. The product is not ‘free of all manmade synthetics’, and not all the ingredients are ‘cold-pressed, distilled or otherwise processed without synthetics to preserve purity’. In fact, my friend bought a product which may well be more than 50% synthetic. It is not, as it seemed, a revolutionary shampoo that is completely natural, guaranteed 100% safe for her health and the environment. It is a product not very different from any number of shampoos on the market. The synthetic ingredients it contains could be unsafe for humans and could harm the environment. Her only means of finding out would be to research them herself, or accept the assurances of the manufacturer who misled her in the first place.


How to understand cosmetic labels

Sadly, understanding cosmetic labels is not for the faint-hearted. However, here is a simple rule. When an ingredient is natural and present in its natural form, it will be listed either as its botanical species name, or its common name, or both:

  • Persea gratissima (Avocado) Oil

  • Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil

  • Butyrospermum parkii (Shea Butter)

It’s not always easy to identify a species name, so it’s not straightforward. 

If it’s synthetic, it will be identified by its chemical name and look something like this:

  • Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine

  • Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate

  • Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate

  • Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside

Sometimes this will be followed by ‘from coconut/sugar/vegetable derived’, meaning it has some input from a natural product. However, please note that there is no guarantee that an ingredient derived from a natural product is not toxic.


What do we do about it?

Unless you’re Donald Trump or Tony Abbott, you probably realise that our planet is in an unhealthy state. Every buying decision we make determines what sort of future we will create for our world. We owe it to ourselves and to future generations (of all species) to become educated about the impact we are having. It is uplifting to see so many people making ethical choices when they buy. However, when companies take advantage of ethical consumers by making claims that are clearly misleading, it is plainly wrong. What’s more, we need to inform the businesses who do mislead us that we won’t be fooled again. 


Want to discover a range of gorgeous skin care with ingredients you can trust? Find Mokosh’s beautiful products in the TWC online shop.



4 Ways To Minimise Waste in Your Home Now!

4 Ways To Minimise Waste in Your Home Now!

Mary Gutierrez | September 12, 2019

We’ve all heard about the impact of plastics and wastes on our environment. As mums, we become increasingly concerned. We want a better and healthier world for our children and future generations.

The good news is we have the power to turn this around by starting in our own homes. Yes, the overwhelm is real. We get it. That’s why we asked the beautiful members of our community to share their favorite ways on how to minimise waste in their own homes.

Check out these simple tips!

Composting Your Fruit, Veggie and Food Scraps, Cardboard and Paper Waste

Here are some composting systems our community recommends:

1. Urban Composter

“Ever since I got a fermenting compost setup for my kitchen I’ve found it so hassle-free compared to the older style composting methods which require far more time and space than most share-house living situations afford. It’s slightly more work in terms of chopping up the scraps, and burying them. But the compost juice is amazing fertiliser and it has completely closed the loop on my gardening! You just need enough space to dig a hole to bury the scraps. It does wonders for the earth as well.” ~Kate 

2. Bokashi Indoor Compost Bin

“This is the one I have, it’s been great. We do compost of scraps, we downsized our kitchen bin and only have about 3 rubbish bags a week now.” ~Amy

3. Subpod

Fiona has been keeping an eye out for this product’s release. She feels like they have too much to go in a benchtop compost. So this looks perfect for her needs.

If you have more food and veggie scraps than you can handle, you can share it with a local gardener. Hat tip to Carly and Glenda for this suggestion! Thank you to Jillian as well for reminding us that we can also compost cardboard and paper waste, such as toilet rolls.

Food Scraps to Meal Ideas

meals in glass containers

“Odd veggie ends go in a freezer container for future stocks; old bananas frozen for smoothies or cakes and lately when I have little odds and ends, I make a big fried rice.” ~Hayley

Hayley’s resource for more ideas: I Quit Sugar book by Sarah Wilson

Veggie and fruit scraps are also great meals for your chicken (shout out to Carly and Hayley!).

Personal Care and Hygiene Swaps

shampoo and soap bars on a wooden tray

Did you know that, on average, one shampoo bar can outlast two to three bottles of liquid shampoo? (I and my shoulder-length hair can attest to that.) It saves money and extra trips to the store. Talking about win-win! We got a couple more swap ideas below.

  1. Shampoo bars
  2. Refillable organic conditioner
  3. Cloth nappies

Hat tip to Heidi.

Kitchen & Pantry Swaps

reusable glass jars in the pantry

If you’d choose one place in your home to be more environment-friendly, the kitchen or pantry is a good place to start. Just one of the tips below will be a game-changer for you and Mother Earth.

  1. Glass containers/bottles/jars over plastic containers
  2. Beeswax over foil
  3. Metal pegs instead of plastic
  4. Loose produce or in reusable bags
  5. Stainless steel lunch boxes
  6. Homemade nut milk

Credits to Karen and Carly.


“Any soft plastics that cannot be avoided, we recycle through the Redcycling program, and of course regular plastics, tins and glass that we don’t keep to reuse are also recycled.” ~ Carly

Final Thoughts

Yes, this problem is huge and there’s so much that should be done. But every little positive step you take makes a difference. Your effort counts!

So tell us, which of the tips above are you going to try out today?

What is your favorite way to minimise waste in your home?
Please share in the comments below.

PS. If you haven’t already, join The Wholefood Collective Facebook Community for more discussions and sharing like this. You can get to hang out with like-minded people, too! Join us here.

5 ‘Unhealthy’ Foods That Are Actually Healthy

5 ‘Unhealthy’ Foods That Are Actually Healthy

Lyndi Cohen | September 8, 2019

Are you confused about what you ‘should’ be eating?


Do you feel like every time you’ve finally got it all figured out, another health fad or diet no-no comes flying out of nowhere?


You’re not alone. I speak to so many women who are completely confused about what is a healthy diet – and it’s no wonder, really.

Every day, we’re bombarded with conflicting advice about what we ‘should’ be eating.

‘Fat makes you fat!’ ‘Carbs are the devil!’ ‘It doesn’t matter what your food sources are, as long as you hit your macros!’

Honestly, it’s enough to make you want to dive into a packet of chocolate biscuits.

There’s so much misinformation out there that even foods that are perfectly healthy for you are being demonised. But in avoiding these foods, you’’re actually missing out on many of the valuable nutrients that are key to a balanced diet.

Well, I say it’s time to welcome these foods back with open arms!

Read on for 5 so-called ‘unhealthy’ foods you should reconsider adding back into your diet.


1. Pasta

Pasta Bowl

Image: Unsplash

Pasta gets a bad rep for being too high in carbs, but there’s plenty of research to suggest it can actually be good for you and help manage your weight.

Plus, it’s incredibly affordable and versatile — just add in a protein source and veggie-rich sauce and voila, you’ve got yourself one beautifully balanced meal.

However, not all pasta is created equal. Wholegrain pasta is typically higher in fibre, as well as rich in vitamins like manganese, selenium, copper and phosphorus. I also particularly love pasta made from legumes and pulses, which you can find in any major supermarket these days.

My trick with pasta? I see how many serves of veg I can add. This is what I call crowding. Crowding in more veggies to help you get to your 5+ a day. I normally aim for 2-3+ serves in a bowl of pasta by adding tomatoes, onion, shredded carrot, baby spinach etc.

2. Cheese

Parmesan Cheese Salad

Image: Unsplash

Many people avoid cheese when trying to lose weight. But I’ve got good news for you: cheese isn’t actually bad for you and you shouldn’t feel guilty for eating it!

Cheese contains calcium (essential for healthy bones), protein and vitamins and minerals like zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin B2.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not recommending you eat an entire wheel of Brie in one sitting (mmm brie…).  But adding cheese to healthy foods makes them tastier, meaning you’ll eat them more often.

Try adding feta to your salads, finishing a homemade soup with parmesan or stirring ricotta through a pasta in place of cream.

3. Bread

Healthy bread

Image: Unsplash

Due to the popularity of low-carb diets like keto, it seems to have become public enemy number one. But there’s no reason you have to cut bread out of your diet completely if you’re not allergic or intolerant to gluten.

In fact, like wholegrain pasta, bread is high in many nutrients and vitamins, as well as fibre to keep you full for longer. Whether it’s wholemeal toast with a smoosh of avocado and poached eggs for brekkie or a wholegrain sandwich with chicken and loads of veggies for lunch, bread can be a super convenient vessel for a healthy meal. The key here is moderation — eating bread once a day isn’t going to hurt you.

4. Rice

Super foods bowl

Image: My lunch bowl with SunRice SuperGrains

Rice often gets lumped in with bread and pasta categories. Unlike bread and pasta, though, rice is a plant-based food which is minimally processed and naturally gluten-free.

It also happens to be one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, as it is high in fibre and contains B minerals and magnesium.

Other varieties of rice, such as brown, black and red rice, basmati and jasmine as well as other grains like millet, buckwheat and quinoa are all loaded with the healthy stuff and make the perfect base for a nutritious meal.

5. Peanut butter

Pear and peanut butter

Image: Unsplash

Many people wrongfully label peanut butter as ‘naughty’. However, this isn’t the case. Our beloved PB can actually have its place in a healthy diet — and it’s an ingredient I enjoy often. Not only is it a source of  protein, but it’s got lovely nutrients like with vitamin E, potassium, magnesium and other minerals and vitamins. 

I always go for the more natural, unprocessed varieties you can find in most supermarkets. Team it with sliced banana or apples or roll it into some bliss balls for a super satiating, delicious snack.

Ready to take the confusion out of eating healthy?  You’re going to love my new book, The Nude Nutritionist. It’s available for pre-order now!

Change Classroom Habits with this Rainbow Class Party Platter!

Change Classroom Habits with this Rainbow Class Party Platter!

Bel Smith | September 5, 2019

This week my Year 3 son’s teacher left because she was offered a job closer to home. A class party was in order to wish her well.


In steps my gorgeous rainbow platter of fruit.


Some people think that kids need loads of food, usually packets of chips and lollies, to have an enjoyable party. That’s not really true. This rainbow class party platter  made the whole class pretty happy! The students all had fun, they stopped class work, they ate, they chatted and gave the teacher lots of cuddles. There wasn’t even any comments about there being no chips, lollies or cakes.


Now, here’s the thing…


It’s true, if there had been chips, lollies and cakes on offer, along with this delicious rainbow platter, many children would have gone for the processed food first. Why wouldn’t they?


Processed foods are made using science to create flavours and tastes which make even the most astute consumer tempted to eat them. But, if you simply don’t offer the choice, they don’t notice it and it certainly doesn’t stop them from having fun. One of the most fun things about a class party is getting out of doing class work and being with your friends. The food is a bonus.


I wanted to share this with the TWC community because sometimes it is our own adult perception of what kids expect or want that drives the choices we make. Party food doesn’t need to be laden with sugar and additives such as colours and flavours for kids to have fun. Some people think that real food is more expensive but this delicious array cost $38 which is about $1.50 per student.


What if you want to provide chips, lollies and cakes for a class party?


If you really believe these sorts of foods are needed for a class party, then it is suggested you consciously choose the packet foods by asking “what’s in my food?” Turn the packet around and read the ingredients. Choose packets which are not likely to cause an energy burst (and subsequent slump) or trigger behavioural issues.

Here are some tips for you.


Plain chips or crackers over flavoured – many of the flavour enhancers are linked to behavioural issues, asthma or eczema.


Plain chocolate over flavoured chocolates – the darker the chocolate, the less sugar content.


Making a cake at home where you control the level of sugar.

Lollies that use natural colours rather than artificial colours.



Find more healthy, wholefood, kid-friendly recipes on Bel’s website, The Root Cause.