Healthy diet, healthy heart

NZ Grower - - Product Group Potatoes Nz -

Ev­ery­one knows the Tick. For over 20 years the Heart Foun­da­tion Tick has fea­tured on the pack­ag­ing of a range of prod­ucts and helped con­sumers make health­ier food choices.

It’s one of the Heart Foun­da­tion’s most recog­nis­able pro­grammes and it’s one of New Zealand’s most trusted brands. Cen­tral to the suc­cess of the Tick pro­gramme is its cred­i­bil­ity – cred­i­bil­ity that stems from the rig­or­ous cri­te­ria prod­ucts must meet to carry the re­spected logo. “We’ve got 62 dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories and ev­ery cat­e­gory has dif­fer­ent cri­te­ria,” says Deb Sue, Heart Foun­da­tion Tick Man­ager and di­eti­tian. “It might be based around en­ergy or re­duc­ing sat­u­rated fat and sodium, or in­creas­ing pos­i­tive nu­tri­ents such as fi­bre, whole­grain con­tent, fruit and veg­etable con­tent and cal­cium.” While the se­lec­tion cri­te­ria are rig­or­ous, the aim of the pro­gramme is sim­ple. Says Deb Sue, “We’re try­ing to get peo­ple to be more aware of what they’re eat­ing. Re­duc­ing sat­u­rated fat, keep­ing an eye on salt and then of course watch­ing por­tion sizes and mak­ing sure you’re en­gaged in phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.” Pota­toes fall into the plain fruit and vegetables cat­e­gory. “It’s im­por­tant to in­clude car­bo­hy­drate at each meal, but it’s what you do with that car­bo­hy­drate that makes the dif­fer­ence. We make sure that any recipes that are on pack­ag­ing com­ply with our Tick recipe guide – so they can’t be fried or have a lot of fat added to them.” Deb Sue says her team is al­ways look­ing to get new com­pa­nies and prod­ucts on board with the Tick pro­gramme. “We’re al­ways try­ing to raise the bar a lit­tle higher ev­ery year to make sure we’re im­prov­ing the food sup­ply of New Zealan­ders and thereby im­prov­ing their over­all health.” Frozen potato prod­ucts have their very own cat­e­gory that takes into con­sid­er­a­tion the level of en­ergy, sat­u­rated fat, sodium as well as the cook­ing meth­ods listed on the prod­uct’s pack­ag­ing. Deb Sue be­lieves pota­toes are an im­por­tant part of New Zealan­ders’ di­ets. Hav­ing grown up in a potato grow­ing fam­ily in Pukekohe, she’s spent a fair num­ber of school and univer­sity hol­i­days help­ing out in the pad­docks. De­spite be­ing at the re­ceiv­ing end of an almost end­less sup­ply of pota­toes, she has lost none

of her en­thu­si­asm for the veg­etable. “Pota­toes would be one of my favourite foods be­cause they’re so ver­sa­tile. Com­ing into win­ter, there’s noth­ing bet­ter than leek and potato soup – de­li­cious. I like to cook dou­ble so you’ve got pota­toes to use the fol­low­ing day for a Span­ish omelette or a potato hash. Sadly there has been that mis­con­cep­tion that pota­toes are some­how bad but like any veg­etable, it’s re­ally what to do to the potato that’s the is­sue. Load any veg­etable up with cheese, sour cream and it’s not go­ing to be great for you.”

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