Get the Facts! Read nutritional labels for better health. In today’s hurried world of grocery shopping, many people just go with the claims on the fronts of food packages. “Healthy,” “low carb” or “low fat” may not always meet your health needs.
When we don’t read the small print we might not be aware of what we are really getting. Look at the Nutritional Facts for added sugars and trans fats. For example, did you know that a chocolate peanut butter PowerBar Performance Bar has 20 grams of sugar? That’s twice the amount of sugar in a Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut!
Read Nutritional Labels
It is one of the best ways to take control of what you buy and eat. And it is especially important if you are following a particular lifestyle diet. Like a diabetic or heart healthy diet.
Always look at the serving size
You want to make sure the portion will be able to satisfy your appetite. In many cases, it is smaller than you might think. How many times have you eaten a whole package of goodies only to realize that it was actually 2 servings?! Can’t tell you how many times I have before I started reading the label first. 🙁
Look for the amount of fats, fiber and protein, all of which make you feel full
Know what ingredients should not be in products
The front of the package may say “No Trans Fats” but the ingredients list can include hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. A product that has less than 1 gram of these oils is not required to include them on the Nutrition Facts panel. The only way you can be sure that a product is free of harmful trans fats is if they are not on ingredients list.
Avoiding added sugars also is important
Natural sugars in milk and fruit are fine. But added processed sugars, such as sucrose (table sugar) or corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup should not be part of any healthy diet. Sugar alcohols – like xylitol or erythritol – are often used in low-carb products to replace sugar and add bulk and should be watched too.
My Personal Guidelines
Personally, when I look at nutritional labels I have a few rules.
First I go for foods that don’t have labels. That would be fresh fruits and vegetables. You could say they have a 1-ingredient list 🙂
Next, the list should not be longer than 5 ingredients. Any more than that and it is too processed, in my opinion.
Third, I have to be able to recognize the ingredients. If I can’t pronounce them or understand what they are, then I don’t want it.
And finally, for my lifestyle I look at how much fiber, protein and sugar it has. I’m not too concerned about calories or even fat, but I do want high fiber and a healthy amount of protein. And you all know I recently changed my lifestyle diet to have as little processed sugars as possible.
Do you have any recipes you’d like to share or are looking for? Feel free to reach out to me through the contact form on the right or on my Contact page. I’d be happy to speak with you.
And don’t forget, if you aren’t sure of what you are doing in the kitchen but want to eat healthy, you can sign up for my FREE Cooking Basics how-to-tips! You’ll get an email every week for an entire year. That’s 52 helpful kitchen tips! Everything from how to make the perfect fried egg to different ways to prepare vegetables and how to freeze those fruits & veggies you find at the market 🙂
Enjoy and Be Healthy!