Allergy Mums / Support for families with allergies

publication date: Sep 25, 2014

Healthy After School Snacks…Or Not!


God I hate allergies. They rule our world – everything has to be organised; everything checked. I realise that nobody has ever accused me of being ‘easy going’ or ‘spontaneous’,  but even I’m tired of the level of checking and organisation required. I admit that the reflux on top of allergies is a killer. Sugar and fat set off serious cramps and vomiting so everything is under scrutiny.

Usually I bake. Bread sticks, crackers, cupcakes and cookies. If I balance Molly’s breakfast (porridge) so that it’s low fat, low sugar then she can have a cake or similar at lunch or after dinner. But what about after school snacks? The playground is stuffed full of Mum’s with jam tarts, biscuits and cakes. Literally – they bring in packets of the stuff. And don’t get me started on cake sales…anyway…sometime, just sometimes, I’d like to bring in something that I haven’t made. You know, the whole convenience thing. So, bearing in mind the milk and egg allergy, and the sugar and fat issue, off I toddled to the supermarket in search of something other than water crackers to give my girl.

I went to the ‘bar’ section – you know the ones. Fruit, nuts etc. Should be healthy right? But of course I have to check for sugar content. Now…an Oreo cookie has 38g per 100g of sugar. Of course something made of dried fruit and nuts has more nutritional value than a cookie – that’s an opinion, not a researched fact, but it makes sense. But still…instinct would be that a snack bar made of fruit and nuts has less sugar than an Oreo. That’s the problem with instinct – it’s so often wrong.

I grabbed a box of Geo Bars. Mixed Berries. The packaging trumpets ‘over 25% fruit’, they have the Fair Trade mark, and the by line is ‘Change the world one bite at time’. The graphics support the impression of helping others. All impressive. I like ethical trade – who doesn’t? But when I look at the sugar content its 38.7g per 100g. So basically the same sugar content as an Oreo cookie. Who would know? Who apart from someone with our health issues would check? Ethics becomes a tricky subject then doesn’t it? Is there an ethical, moral argument for company’s products being flagged as high in sugar?  Then I grabbed Nakd bars – the packaging was positively overrun with good news messages – ‘raw fruit and nut wholefood bars’, ‘1 of 5 a day’, ‘no added sugar’, ‘wheat, dairy and gluten free’.  You can imagine my delight. No dairy (egg never shows up in cereal bars so that’s not a worry), no added sugar so it must be great for us. Rhubarb and custard (neat trick without dairy and egg) but it was the no added sugar that caught my attention. I dare you to guess the number of grams per hundred of sugar. Go on…give it a go.

Did you guess the same as an Oreo cookie? Well…you’d be wrong. Did you guess 10g of sugar per 100g more than an Oreo cookie? Well…you’d be wrong. 55g of sugar per 100g. Thank goodness there’s no added sugar then – such good news.

This is why there is an obesity problem, this is why kids are so hyped up, and this is why we are consuming more calories than we could ever believe. Marketing departments are getting away with misleading consumers. I dare Nakd to add to the front on the pack – Each bar is over 50% sugar.



So I trudged back home…recommitted to baking. And breathe…. 

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