Label reading 101
What is the best skill you can have when navigating the grocery aisles? Label reading, of course!
It is so important to have this skill to be able to make the best food choices for you and your family.
There are so many products in a grocery store, with new items being added all the time. It is easy to get confused when faced with so many choices.
Here are some tips to help you fill your cart with healthy choices:
The ingredient list
The first thing to look at when reading a label is the ingredient list; it is required by law on packaged foods. Ingredients are listed from most to least, so be sure that the first few ingredients are ones you want to be eating!
The Nutrition Facts Table
Next, have a look at the Nutrition Facts Table. This table has a consistent look on products and lists calories and several important nutrients. This is an excellent source of information when you want to know more about the product.
Check the serving size first. All nutrients are based on this amount. And beware! This serving size may be more or less than the amount of food you will actually eat.
The % Daily Value (% DV) is a useful tool for making healthy choices. It is a benchmark for evaluating nutrient content quickly and easily and is very helpful when comparing products. It puts nutrients on a scale of zero to 100 per cent. For all nutrients, 5% DV means a little and 15% DV means a lot. So if it’s a nutrient you want to eat more of, such as fibre, look for 15% DV or more. If it’s a nutrient you would like to cut back on, such as sodium, look for 5% or less.
Front of package claims
Last but not least, you may see nutrient content claims on the front of packaged products. You may see statements like “no sugar added,” “fat free” or “light.” Buyer beware! Remember that the claim only focuses on one nutrient. You need to read the ingredient list and Nutrition Facts Table to get the whole picture and judge if the product is cart worthy.
Have more questions on label reading? Let us help! Sobeys Dietitians are label reading experts and can help you navigate the grocery aisles and choose the best products. Visit http://sobeyspharmacy. com/pharmacy-services/dietitians/ to find a dietitian near you.
Hungry for more? Like @ SobeysDietitian on Facebook and Twitter for more tasty tips and recipes or receive our schedule of events and Healthy Bits & Bites Newsletter directly to your inbox! Register at www.sobeyspharmacy.com/newsletter.
Join me for a label reading tour focused on plant-based eating. Sessions offered on Friday, Nov. 16, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at Sobeys Aberdeen, or Tuesday, Nov. 27, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Sobeys Westside. Please contact Teresa to register at 902-755-3645 or Teresa.flynn@ sobeys.com.