The universe was sending me a loud message when I was asked to review healthylife.com.au, a new one-stop health hub created in partnership with Woolworths. In the last couple of months my life had gone from uneventful to jam-packed and with that went my diligence at the supermarket.
Instead of planning my meals a week out, I was just randomly grabbing items off the shelves in a flurry, and generally snack food or cheaper items with a low nutritional value that keep the hunger pangs at bay, but don't do any favours for my health or the waistline – and it was showing.
Turns out I'm not the only one guilty of this either, with a recent healthylife Living Healthy Report 2022 finding the majority of Woolies shoppers aren't buying enough of the five recommended food groups (veggies and legumes, fruit, dairy & alternatives, meat & alternatives, and grains) to meet nutritional needs. So, when part of the review meant trialling healthylife's food tracker tool I took it as a sign to get my food act together – and it's literally changed my life.
Firstly, I created a healthylife account and linked my Everyday Rewards card which gave the site access to my shopping data. Once scanned it told me how much of the five essential food groups I was buying and how much was just, well, rubbish… or as healthylife calls it "sometimes food and drinks". Let's just say, the results were alarming.
The site breaks it down further by displaying which food groups I have mainly bought and how much I need to buy to stay on track with eating a balanced diet. My report card was a solid D minus. Despite spending about $120 a week on groceries, in the last month I hadn't bought any vegetables, and less than half of what I needed in dairy products, grains and meat.
The good news was I'd excelled at fruit – though coming into colder weather I wondered if that would continue to be the case with my favourites - watermelons, mangoes, and raspberries - out of season.
Fast-forward a few weeks and with this information regularly haunting me (in the best possible way) as I walked the Woolworths aisles, I was able to put down the chocolate biscuits and swerve my trolley into the sections I needed to amp up my food game in most. And that I did, with the healthylife food tracker showing week-on-week I was getting better at buying items that make up a balanced diet – and I could feel my jeans getting looser and energy levels rising as a reward!
Because I knew where I was lacking, it also made meal inspiration easier. I knew I had to up my intake of veggies so I did so by sneaking carrot and celery into spaghetti sauce, and adding a few more side salads instead of a side of chips to my lunches. And I was able to get more grains by switching to multi-grain toast, and more veggies and grains by getting out the soup pot to whip up a batch.
I'm able to check the food tracker on my phone when I'm shopping to see how many serves I have remaining to hit my recommended weekly quota. This makes grocery shopping more efficient as I no longer walk the aisles aimlessly.
After a month using the healthylife food tracker, I've lost a couple kilos and no longer suffer the 3pm slump. Instead, I have enough energy to power through until bed. It's the simplest, easiest health change I've ever made and best of all, it's free.
Brought to you by healthylife.