Nutrition Labels 101
Navigating healthy food options at grocery stores can often be very confusing. Learning how to read, understand and compare food labels can help you make more informed choices. The nutrition label will tell you the amount of:
Carbohydrate (fibre and sugar)
Nutrition facts are based on a specified amount of food. Look at this amount and compare it to the amount of food that you eat. These amounts may differ between similar foods or brands so be sure to check the specified amount of food when doing comparisons.
Percent Daily Value
Daily values (DV) provide information about the nutrients in one serving.
5% DV OR LESS - Means the food has a LITTLE of the nutrient
- Try to look for foods that have 5% or less of fat, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium
15% DV OR MORE - Means the food has a LOT of the nutrient
- Try to look for foods that have 15% or more of fibre, vitamins and minerals
Comparing Nutrition Labels
Compare the following nutrition labels for pasta. Note which nutrients are high and low in each product and decide which product you would buy for your family.
Whole Wheat White
Food packages list all the ingredients used to make the food. This list is always written in order of amounts. The package will contain the most of the first ingredient and the least of the last ingredient listed.
Reading the ingredient list can be helpful to:
- Determine if a food product has a certain ingredient
- Avoid ingredients in the case of an intolerance or allergy
Tips for Making Healthy Food Choices
Choose foods that have less fat, sugar, and salt
Choose foods that are high in calories, fat, and sugar less often
Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains provide more vitamins, minerals and fibre
Choose foods that are higher in fibre, vitamin A, calcium, and iron
Next time you're at the grocery store, try looking at the nutrition labels of two similar items (such as cereals). Make comparisons about the nutrient content and the ingredient list to decide which product is best for your family.
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