Supermarket Detectives

Reporter: Rodney Lohse

A dog's life is meant to be tough, but the reality is these days most family pets are better fed than our children.

Seriously --just compare the snacks our kids eat or their sugar loaded breakfasts, to the vitamin enriched, scientifically balanced, meals of our dogs and you see what I mean. But it's not easy for parents.

While we try to do our best, the reality is most of us don't have a clue, according to supermarket detective Gabriel Percy. "Way too much white bread is eaten in this country for example and way too many savoury biscuits are a particular baddie from my point of view", Gabriel said.

Gabriel is a nutritionist who now runs shopping tours, showing families how to shop frugally yet healthily -- and then how to cook better meals -- by spotting the hidden cost-traps and dangers in the shopping trolley.

Generally, there are three types of grocery baskets. "The heart attack trolley, which is hugely high in animal and saturated fats; you've got the stroke trolley too, all veering towards the stroke trolley which is those incredibly manufactured, salted sort of products, again packaged", Gabriel said.

And then there's the 'I don't cook' trolley. Where it's all ping, ping, ping, and call me old fashioned, but if that's the way my food is, being pinged to me? Most of my recipes are quicker than it takes to ping it", Gabriel said. By that Gabriel means microwaved.

But today she's going to re-educate our three mums Sharon, Hayley and Wendy, who are currently doing their normal weekly shop with no idea Gabriel is going to put it under the magnifying glass -- and they're not going to like it.

Gabriel doesn't take long to start ripping apart their shopping and by the time she's finished, somewhere between 50 and 80% of our mum's groceries have been pulled from the trolley -- high in fat, high in salt or just expensive, products in oversized packages -- Gabriel believes if you follow her tips, you can save a minimum of 30% on your grocery bill and centimetres off your family's waistline.

1. Read the ingredients list -- anything with saturated fat sugar or artificial flavourings at the top of the list - give it the flick, for example 2 minute noodles. "You're better off to buy spaghetti, pasta, rice all that sort of stuff, rice noodles and add your own flavours than to buy. It's cheaper as well", Gabriel said.

2. No white bread

3. No sweet or savoury biscuits

4. No packaged snack bars

5. At least 50% of trolley should be fresh fruit and vegetables

6. Eat vegetarian a couple of times a week.

7. Learn to cook and the microwave does not count.

For further information, contact Gabrielle Pursey at Children & Food

Tel: (07) 3901 5994 or Email: gabriellepursey@optusnet.com.au