If you are a mindful eater then you must have already done the extra check on the nutrition label on your packaged food to ensure that you are consuming the right amount of calories. However, deciphering these food nutrition label lingos is not a simple task and extra caution needs to be taken to pack up a nutritious meal.
Food nutrition labels are packed with valuable information and everyone should be able to understand them. Since most of us don’t, here are a few tips that can help us decipher them more effectively.
What is the Serving Size?
The first piece of information mentioned on a nutrition label is the serving size. This tells you how much calories you are consuming based on your serving size. For instance, if the nutrition label reads “Serving Size- ⅔ cups (55g)” and “8 servings per container” and that equals your served portion size then you have consumed the calories and nutrients as listed on the pack. If you eat more than that, the calorie consumed is also more. In the case of ice cream sandwiches, the calorie amount is always double of what is printed on the packaging.
Calories per serve
Calories per serve denote the number of calories present in each serving size. The important thing to remember here is that information given on the label is based on a diet of 2000 calories, which one might or might not need. It also depends on age, gender, weight, and activity levels of an individual.
Check the ingredients
It is a requirement for all manufacturers to list the ingredients that they use to create a product, by weight, on the nutrition label. The ingredients are always listed in descending order from the highest to the least amounts. The general advice would be to question the products with too many ingredients or the product loaded with ingredients you have never heard of before.
Check key nutrients
When you check the nutrition label on a food product, don’t forget, to check this section. This section helps you pick useful nutrients like fibers, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C which should have a daily value (DV) of at least 20%. Additionally, it also helps in limiting nutrients like fats, trans fat, sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol, which should have a DV of 5% or less.
This is the last section on the nutrition label. The section gives you the percentage value of every nutrient on the food, per serving. Checking the percentage of each nutrient on the label can help you choose foods that are healthier and more nutritious. Another important point to remember is that even if the label says zero grams the food still has some amount of the ingredient in it.
Food nutrition labels don’t just help you understand the food you eat but also help to keep your weight in check. It’s time to check those labels and pack your pantry with the right type of food.