Food labels are simply an explanation of what ingredients are
included in the product and the nutritional information of the food
item. They can help you to understand what you are eating and help
you in eating healthier.
Planned Kids Cooking Curriculum
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How to Read a Nutrition Label
There are several parts to a label including:
- A serving size. This
tells you how much one person should eat at one time. The
servings per product gives you an idea of how many servings are
included in the bag or item. Ideally one serving should be used
per person. The serving size helps you learn about portion
sizes. Servings over 400 calories are high.
- Nutrition facts are
included such as total fat, calories, protein, sodium,
carbohydrates, fiber, sugar among other things. These will be
listed for each serving not the whole product. Look for products
with less than 10 grams of sugar. A product with 2-3 grams of
fiber is best. Watch for high amounts of sodium in canned,
For example, canned ravioli or canned cream soups have over 800
mg of sodium/serving. So if one can has 2.5 servings that is a
total of 2,000 mg per can. Ideally, the maximum amount of
sodium in a day you should consume should be around 2,000 mg. So
if you eat the whole can you've consumed your whole daily
allotment of sodium.
- A list of ingredients.
The main ingredient is listed first and continues in descending
order. If sugar or corn syrup is the first ingredient on your
label, then that food item is mostly sugar, which is not the
best choice for nutrition. If you can't pronounce an ingredient,
it probably not good for you! As many food products are full of
Once you've learned to read food labels it will help you in your
daily diet. For good health you should watch your fat and
calorie intake, as well as check the sodium. You would be surprised
at how much sodium(salt) some common products have in them.