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Question
Posted by: Nicky | 2012-11-04

Healthy tuckshop- How unhealthy are additives?

Dear Diet Doc
I am opening a tuckshop in a school next year. My plan with the school''s approval is to make it as healthy as possible. Some strategies are to replace fried foods with oven baked, white bread and rolls with wholewehat and include a lot of fruit and veg.I am finding it so difficult to source pure products, especially fruit juices and cold drinks. Everything has some sort of additive from flavourants to colourants to preservatives. These are unfortunately also the big earners. Which additives do you think are acceptable? Do you think children should be able to choose whether they can drink soft drinks and other junk food or have them taken away completely? Another question is the use of margerine instead of butter?

Kind regards.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Nicky
Your plan to open a tuckshop that sells healthy foods and beverages is indeed praiseworthy. Nowadays most manufactured foods contain some additives such as preservatives. On the one hand this is unfortunate when it comes to children and adults who suffer from preservative allergies and intolerances, but on the other hand such preservatives do keep foods from going bad after a short period. You may find that you will have to produce your own foods and drinks (for example if you sell fresh orange juice or juice mixtures made with a juicer, fresh fruit and make the fillings of buns, etc, fresh every day). In an ideal world I would advocate the use of only whole foods that have been grown organically, without any additives except fresh herbs. But we live in a hot country where foods spoil rapidly so I realise that the use of preservatives has its place. Excessive use of flavourants, salt and colourants should be avoided wherever possible. I think that children can be taught to select healthy foods and drinks, but that you may need to combine the availability of healthy foods at the tuckshop with education, otherwise the children may purchase their junk food on the way to school. Margarine which is soft and sold in tubs instead of bricks is regarded as a source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which are more protective of heart health than butter which contains more saturated fat and also contains cholesterol which is not found in margarine. You can probably use margarine to make your own pastry for items like sausage rolls and on bread and rolls as it is often easier to work with and less expensive than butter.
Wishing you all the best with this worthwhile endeavour.
Best regards
DietDoc

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Our users say:
Posted by: Nicky | 2012-11-14

Thank you for your helpful and encouraging reply. Are there any preservatives, colourants or flavourants etc which are healthy/acceptable?

Reply to Nicky

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