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Decoding Food Labels
Let’s talk Nutrition. Ever wonder what is in the food you are eating? Luckily, there is an easy way to find out! There are two main sources of food we consume regularly, follow along with me!
- Packaged Foods
- Non-Packaged (think fruits, vegetables, grains, etc.)
Understanding Food Labels
Lets start with the staple in most grocery stores, packaged foods. The first thing you want to do is read the label. The label of any packaged food breaks down into two sections:
- Nutrition Facts
Here are some important tips for Decoding and Understanding Nutrition Facts and Ingredients:
- Nutrition Facts tell you the Macro and Micro Nutrient content of the food. Macro Nutrients are: Carbohydrates, Fat, Protein. Micro Nutrients are Vitamins and Minerals.
- Nutrition Facts also tell you the serving size of the food, and how many servings per container. This can help you determine the nutrient content of something you eat, by scaling up or down to the number of servings you consume.
- Ingredients will tell you exactly what is in the food you are consuming, and the label is printed in descending order starting with the most abundant ingredient in the product. In the example above, the most abundant ingredient is Enriched Wheat Flour, the least abundant is food coloring.
No Label? No Problem!
What to do if your food does not have a label? My example in the video is of an onion. Well, the ingredients are easy to figure out, its an Onion! There are ways that you can look up and find nutrition facts for whole foods that do not have labels, here is one you can check out:
Top Tips for Making Healthier Food Choices
This is a guide to the very basics of understanding what is in the food we eat. The main take-aways for making healthy food choices:
- If you are buying food in a box or a bag, make sure you can identify all the ingredients, and if you don’t understand what they are, look them up!
- Eating more foods that do not have labels (fruits and vegetables) will cut down on the amount of processed foods and mystery ingredients to look up!
I hope this was good food for thought when it comes to making healthier choices the next time you go shopping!