What is healthy food ideas all about?

The team at Healthy Food Guide magazine are constantly being asked for examples of healthy food ideas.

Navigating the supermarket aisles, reading labels and sifting through on-pack marketing messages to find the healthiest options can be very confusing.

So we've created a brand extension of Healthy Food Guide magazine, called healthy food ideas. It's a media platform that companies can use to advertise their healthy products, and it spans TV, radio, Healthy Food Guide magazine, the Healthy Food Guide website and enewsletter, and  this healthy food ideas website.



Not everyone can have their products showcased under the healthy food ideas brand. Our expert nutritionists have developed nutrition criteria for the different food categories with reference to the Ministry of Health publications and public health goals – in particular, the Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand.

All products presented under the healthy food ideas masthead need to meet these criteria.




When choosing milk we recommend choosing one which is as low in fat as possible. Dairy fat is high in saturated fat, so the less fat, the better for our heart health. As an added bonus, trim milk also has fewer kilojoules. We advise using milk with around 1.5% fat or less. This applies from ages 2 years and upwards. Between 1 and 2 years of age a higher fat milk (dark blue) is recommended, and infants under 12 months should not be given cow’s milk.

In New Zealand, milk and bone health are strongly linked: in 1997, dairy products supplied on average over half of our calcium, and milk made up the bulk of that, providing 37% of our total calcium intake. But many people still don't get the calcium they need to keep their bones strong over their lifetime. Choosing higher-calcium milk can be a good way to boost calcium intake.

Anchor Calci+ gives you 50% of your daily calcium needs.

Anchor LIGHT PROOF™ Bottles protect the vitamins in every last delicious drop of milk.


Breakfast cereals

People who regularly eat breakfast have been consistently shown to have better overall diets than those who don’t. In general, they eat less fat, more fibre, and have higher intakes of vitamins and minerals – in particular iron, calcium and magnesium.

Researchers have found that for adults and children, a good breakfast can help memory and concentration, which translates to better performance at work and school. And while many believe skipping breakfast will help lose weight, evidence shows the opposite. People who don’t eat breakfast are more likely to overeat later, often choosing foods higher in fat and with fewer essential nutrients.

Our criteria for a great breakfast cereal is one made with whole grains, and has more than 5g of fibre, less than 400mg sodium, and less than 3g of saturated fat per 100g. For cereals without fruit, choose one with less than 15g of sugar, and for cereals with fruit, less than 25g sugar per 100g.

Uncle Tobys Cheerios new recipe is an all round winner.


Dried fruit and nut mixes

A dried fruit and nut mix is a delicious snack and some blends offer great nutritional benefits. But many dried fruits on the market are processed with excess amounts of sugar and oil, so it can be harder than you think to find a healthier mix.

To help you make the best choice, our criteria are that a 20g serve should still only use raw, unsalted nuts, be no more than 600kJ, have a maximum of 10g fat and 2g of saturated fat, and no more than 100mg of sodium.

Mother Earth nature at its most delicious.


Snack bars

Snack bars are convenient and if chosen well can comfortably be part of a healthy diet. But many snack bars present themselves as healthy when they are not actually one of the better choices.

Our criteria for a healthier snack bar is one with more than 50% whole grains, nuts, seeds and fruit. These ingredients add fibre, contain healthy fats, and dried fruit adds sweetness so the amount of any added sugar is minimal. In regards to fibre, choose a bar that has at least 1.5g of fibre per bar – the more the better.

Kiwis still have one of the highest rates of heart disease in the world, and saturated fats are one of the reasons why. So your snack bar should have a low percentage of saturated fat. Less than 2g per bar is good, less than 1g per bar is even better.

And aim for less than 600kJ per bar, especially if you are watching your weight.

Mother Earth Multigrain Cereal Bars and Quaker Nut Bars are crammed full of the good stuff.


Nuts are nature’s own vitamin pill, containing a range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In general, it is the combination of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, plant-based omega-3s, fibre, vitamin E, copper, manganese and other antioxidants in nuts which help control blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Our criteria for nuts are simple: raw & unsalted is the trick. But don’t go overboard with your serves. Whilst full of good fats, they are still high in kilojoules, so keep your serving size to 20g – that’s just a small handful.

Mother Earth Nuts nature at its most delicious.


A pottle of low-fat yoghurt is a low-energy, portable snack chock-full of nutrients. Dairy foods are naturally low GI, high in calcium, easily digested and filling, and are an important component to a healthy, balanced diet.

Bones are at their peak strength in our early twenties and are continually being reformed, so we need a constant supply of calcium to keep them as strong as possible as we age.  One pottle of yoghurt that has more than 250mg calcium per serve (more than 170g per 100g) provides about 25 per cent of our daily needs.

Our criteria for a healthier yoghurt is one that is low-energy, low in saturated fat, low in total fat, and high in calcium. Per 100ml, we recommend less than 400kJ, 1.3g or less of saturated fat (even better, choose one that is 1.3g or less total fat), and 170mg or more of calcium.

For probiotic yoghurts, choose one that has scientific evidence available to support the claimed benefits of the probiotic when used at the recommended serving size, and that it delivers the required amount of probiotic up to the best before date.

Symbio Probalance ticks all the boxes.


A glass of juice can be considered as one serve of fruit or vegetables as part of our 5+ a day.

We strongly recommend that this glass of juice is an additional serve, not drunk instead of a piece of fruit or a serving of vegetables.

Up to one glass of juice a day fits into a healthy diet for most people, and for people who need to add energy to their diets, another juice serve is a healthy and easy way to add kilojoules without being too filling.

Our criteria for a healthier juice is one that is one that is 100% juice (even better is one that includes vegetable juice) and contains no added sugar. It’s good to choose one with less than 120mg of sodium, even better to choose one with less than 40mg of sodium per 100ml.

Just Juice with Veges is brilliant.

The presenter: Claire Turnbull

As well as her work behind the scenes at Healthy Food Guide, Claire Turnbull, Healthy Food Guide nutritionist, is the vibrant and down-to-earth presenter for healthy food ideas and she provides practical advice on healthy food choices and all aspects of nutritional well-being.

Claire trained as a dietitian and fitness trainer in the UK and is also the Director of Mission Nutrition, a private practice based in Auckland which provides nutrition coaching, workshops and supermarket tours. Claire has a particular interest in sports nutrition and works with the Millennium Institute of Sport and Health. Her book ‘Lose Weight for Life’ became an immediate bestseller.

She has filmed two TV shows and regularly appears on TVNZ Breakfast, Campbell Live, Target and What’s in Our Food. On Mondays you can hear her on Newstalk ZB where she discusses the latest in the world of health and wellness on her Health and Fitness show with Danny Watson.


For more healthy food ideas, visit