When I started this column nearly seven years ago there really was a lot of rubbish food in the supermarkets.

I had no trouble picking up an item every week and discovering all sorts of artificial colours, flavours, preservatives and all those other additives you have read about over the years.

But lately I have noticed a trip to the supermarket is a lot more rewarding for healthy eaters. Countdown has a whole section devoted to "free-from" eaters and many of their own brands are without artificial colours and flavours.

It seems people like me and you make a difference when we walk into a supermarket and make a good food choice. So keep doing it.

Advertisement

But just choosing food with as many natural ingredients as possible is only half the issue. I think now we have that sorted there are other things we need to concentrate on, such as portion size.

You might be eating a packet of chips with only three natural ingredients in it - potatoes, oil and salt - but of you're eating a jumbo packet or two then you're overloading your system and will soon struggle to keep your weight at a healthy level.

And then there's sugar, now believed to be responsible for so many health issues, like diabetes, obesity, dental issues and heart problems.

So while I encourage you all to keep reading those ingredient panels, it's also really important to moderate what you eat and keep your sugar intake low.

I hope this column has helped some of you navigate the minefield that some ingredient labels can be and set you up to continue a lifetime of healthy, clean eating for years to come.

I've spent nearly seven years gazing at labels for this column and now it's time to give my eyes a rest and call it quits, as I've got a new job on the other side of town.

But being obsessively interested in what's in our food is part of my DNA, so keep in touch.

As this is my last column I thought I'd let you in on one of my best finds in the supermarket. It's tasty, cheap and only has one ingredient that some of you may want to avoid.

Advertisement

Laoganma Chilli in Oil. $3.59 for 275g.

Ingredients (greatest quantity first):

Soybean oil

This is marketed as an oil, but it's more a sludge of chillies and peanuts with some oil on top. Soybean oil is extracted from soybeans and is full of healthy fats.

Chilli (23%)
This jar is chock full of chillis, yet the taste is quite mild.

Peanuts
You can clearly see whole peanuts throughout this mix and they add a lovely roasted flavour to the sauce.

Bean paste
This will be soybean paste, in here as a thickener and a flavour.

Flavour enhancer (621)
Yes this is MSG which many people avoid as they can suffer burning sensations, numbness, chest pain, headache, nausea and asthma. So if you are one of those you won't want to eat this.

Salt
This is a high salt produce at 713mg sodium per 27.5g serving.

Advertisement

Sugar
A tiny bit of sugar in here at 0.5g per 27.5g serve. It will be for flavour.

My recommendations:

This is delicious stirred through rice for lunch, as a marinade for prawns or chicken, or simply served in a bowl to dip corn chips in - one of my favourite uses. MSG is a concern for those allergic to it, however.

Highlights:

• All natural ingredients.
• Does use MSG.
• More a paste than a sauce.

* Goodbye Wendyl - and thanks for your wonderful words in the last seven years - Editor.