Grocery stores are hard to navigate. It seems every aisle is designed to entice you into junk food purchases. If you want to encourage healthy and nutritious choices among your family, you need to learn to read food labels.
Why Reading Food Labels Is so Important
Nutritional labels are pivotal to making wise food choices for your family. The labels can help you make good decisions and plan healthy meals, but only if you look at the entire breakdown.
It is standard marketing practice to highlight the ingredients and potential benefits a producer or manufacturer wants you, the consumer, to pay attention to. Still, those highlights do not necessarily represent the entire picture. Instead, look beyond the highlights to the actual nutritional values, calorie counts, and ingredients to provide a thorough understanding of the food you and your family consume.
How To Read & Understand Food Labels
A food or nutrition label can be broken down into four parts: serving information, calorie information, nutrient information, and daily value information based on a diet. The serving section is one of the essential elements on the label because it s the number of meals or even people the food item can serve. The servings portion of the label should have a total number of servings per package and a recommended serving size.
The calories section of the label refers to the number of calories or amount of energy in each serving, not the entire package. L closely, you can often see the phrase “amount per serving” above the larger print of “calories.”
The nutrients portion of the label will show the nutrient categories and specific nutrient groups and how much of each is present in the product. For example, you will typically find the labels for total fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, and protein in bold on the label. Under total fat and total carbohydrates, you will see a further breakdown. Fat is broken down into saturated fat and trans fat. Carbohydrates are broken down into dietary fiber and total sugars (including added sugars). You will also find a breakdown of specific vitamins underneath a thicker bolded line, specifying the amounts of vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, and potentially more.
Finally, across from the nutrient portion is a daily value breakdown along the right-hand side of the label. You will see several percentages displayed, representing the percentage of a daily allotment for someone consuming a 2 diet.
Common “Healthy Food” Misconceptions
In pursuing healthy eating, it is easy to become overwhelmed by misleading labels. To help eliminate some confusion, you can look at some typical “healthy food” misconceptions.3
1. Fresh Is Better Than Frozen
Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables are both good for you. Most frozen veggies and fruits were flash-frozen to preserve the item's vitamins and minerals.
2. 100% Fruit Juice Is Equivalent To Fruit
While a 100% fruit juice serving is equivalent to a single serving of fruit, it is not precisely equal. A piece of whole fruit still has more vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, which means it is better than the drink.
3. “All Natural” Automatically Means Healthier
The “All Natural” label is a marketing tactic, and it does not hold any value unless on meat or poultry. The term on any other food item is unregulated and undefined.
Food labels are crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and ensuring nutritional balance. The OTC multivitamin drops from Wellements are an excellent way to ensure your children get the nns.