With so many foods available, it can be tough to make healthy choices. Thankfully the Nutrition Facts Label is here to help you out! Follow these tips for how to read the label and choose healthier options.
Start at the top and check the “Serving Size”. This tells you what amount of the food the label is based on. Under that, you’ll see a list of the nutrients in the food. To the right of each nutrient, the “% Daily Value” will tell you what percent of your daily needs are in one serving of the food. A food with 5% or less of the Daily Value is low in that nutrient, and a food with 20% or more of the Daily Value is high in that nutrient.
But which nutrients do we want LESS of? Which nutrients do we want MORE of?
What to look for LESS of
Some items on the label aren’t as good for our health as others. Look for foods that are lower in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugar. We want to get as little trans fat as possible. For the rest of these items, we want to get LESS than the 100% Daily Value each day. It’s okay to have them in smaller amounts, but too much can lead to health problems.
What to look for MORE of
There are some items we need to make sure we get enough of! These are extra important to look for on the label. For example, fiber, calcium, vitamin D, iron and potassium are all great nutrients to find in foods. For these items, we want to meet the 100% Daily Value each day to keep our bodies healthy.
Make the healthier choice!
Using these tips and the Nutrition Facts Label, you can compare foods and make the healthier choice for your body! For more info, you can ask the Teen Health Center about nutrition counseling with a dietitian.
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