Week 10 – Label Reading 101
Goal for the week:
Start reading food labels. Use the 5/20 Rule (below) to determine if the foods you are buying are high sources of saturated fat, cholesterol or sodium.
Food labels contain valuable information that can make or break your effort to be informed about choices for healthy eating. They identify the food, the ingredients, the manufacturer, nutrition information, and perhaps food safety guidelines or freshness dating.
As you study a food label, keep these things in mind:
- Serving size
- Information is listed per serving, not per container. Many of us underestimate the calories we consume because the portion of food we eat is usually not the serving amount listed on the label.
- % Daily Value (%DV)
- The % daily value is based on a 2000 calorie diet. This number tells you how much a serving of this food contributes to your overall intake of nutrients.
- 5/20 Rule
- 5% or less is low
- 20% or more is high
- Example: Five grams of saturated fat on a food label doesn’t seem like much. But the %DV for 5 grams is 23%, which is high. Therefore, 5 grams of saturated fat would be a significant amount for one serving. Select foods that contain less than 10%DV per serving, or even better, strive for less than 5% DV.
- By comparing the %DV between foods for any nutrient, you can quickly decide which food is higher or lower in that nutrient
- Ingredient List
- Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Therefore, the first ingredient listed is the predominant ingredient in that food item.
Recipe of the Week: Sweet Caroline Chicken Thighs.
Join me next week for another healthy tip!
Mary Snell, MSRD
Director of Nutrition and Wellness