Do you know what’s in your food? When it comes to the pantry and
frozen food staples, it’s important to check the nutrition labels. You
might already do that, but without learning what you should be looking
for, there may be a slew of sneaky additives you could be missing out
The next time you stock up at the supermarket, take a closer look at
those labels to see if what you’re putting into your cart is really healthy,
or something you may want to leave on the shelf. Here’s how!
Know that the first few ingredients are crucial
For every packaged product, the ingredients are listed from highest to
lowest quantity. Those first five ingredients will tell you much of what
you need to know. So if you see anything refined, composed of sugar, or
any hydrogenated oils at the beginning of that list, you may want to skip
it. And in general, be cautious about packages that have a lengthy
ingredient list filled with words you cannot pronounce or understand.
Pay attention to serving size
When checking out the calories, fat, nutrients, and other contents, most
packages will note them for a single serving. Serving sizes on packages
are usually much smaller than what you’d typically eat as a portion. Be
mindful of this serving size trap.
Watch out for those buzz words
Something that is labeled as “light”, “low-fat”, or “low-cal” might sound
healthier, but it usually means it”s watered down or more sugar has been
added in to compensate for the taste. On another note, “multigrain” usually consists of a blend of refined grains, instead of the whole-grain
the impression it touts. “Fruit-flavored” and “All Natural” are other popular
ones you’ll see. Study up on these definitions so you know what they
truly mean, instead of taking them at face value.
Look for the good
Fiber is essential for a healthy body, especially in your digestive system,
where your good bacteria need to flourish. You’ll get it in fresh fruits
and veggies, but in packaged food, find real whole grains to round out
your meals. Also, look at the vitamin content in the foods you choose.
Things with vitamins A, C, and D, iron, calcium, and potassium are
Minimize contact with bad fats
The more saturated fat you eat, the higher your risk for illnesses you are
trying to avoid. Try to look for items with no transfat and no or minimal
amount of saturated fats. If you do choose these items, eat them in
Remember that sugar is sneaky
And finally, a special note about sugar: it goes by many aliases. There
are many different kinds of sugars lurking in our foods. You’ll find it in
sauces and salad dressings as well as other foods you’d never expect it to
be in. Always be mindful of the sugar content on your labels. Again, if
you see it listed toward the beginning of the list, it’s going to be high in
content and something you may want to enjoy in moderation.
Even with those simple hacks, you’ll be more equipped to read your
nutritional labels before making decisions at the supermarket.
Are there any other things you’d like to know about nutrition labels? Hit
reply and let me know, I’m here to help you navigate this confusing