We’ve all seen them. They’re found on pre-packaged foods in the grocery store and on boxes and bags located on your pantry shelves. They are white rectangles with black edges and they full of information on the foods you have purchased or are considering purchasing.
Have you guessed what I’m talking about? I bet many of you already know, I’m referring to the Nutrition Facts table (NFt).
Many of us have seen the NFt on packages, but, do we all know how to properly read it?
FIRST, you need to know where you will find the Nutrition Facts table.
Almost all pre-packaged foods have a Nutrition Facts table. It looks the same on most foods. This is by design and makes it easy to find and easy to read.
Not all foods need to have a Nutrition Facts table. The following foods are not required to have a Nutrition Facts table:
- Fresh vegetables and fruits
- Raw meat and poultry (except when it is ground)
- Raw fish and seafood
- Foods prepared or processed at the store (bakery items, salads, etc)
- Foods that contain very few nutrients such as coffee, tea, herbs and spices
- Alcoholic beverages
These are the Nutrition Facts tables that I am referring to. See…they’re not scary at all and in no time, I’m talking minutes, not hours or days, you will be an expert in reading them!
Here we go, all we need to do is FOCUS ON THE FACTS
The Nutrition Facts table gives you information on the amount of 13 core nutrients and calories in an amount of food. Use this information and the % Daily Value (% DV) to choose and compare food products for a healthier you. Reading the ingredient list can also help you make better food choices.
That paragraph above may sound intimidating, but it’s not. Honestly, it is so easy to learn that it’s a great little task to teach your kids, they love searching for product information and figuring out if a potential purchase is a healthy choice.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN A NUTRITION FACTS TABLE?
A nutrition facts table gives you information on:
- serving size
- % DV
Next, I’m going to break it down into a couple of simple and easy steps.
You will want to START with SERVING SIZE.
- You can find the Serving Size under the header ‘Nutrition Facts’.
- Information in the Nutrition Facts table is based on this quantity of food.
The SECOND part to look at is CALORIES
A calorie is a unit of energy. When you hear something has 100 calories, it’s a way of describing how much energy your body could get from eating or drinking it.
Calories aren’t bad for you. Your body needs calories for energy. But eating too many calories and not burning enough of them off through activity can lead to weight gain.
Average daily caloric intake is based on age, sex and physical activity level. For Males 18+ it is about 2200-2800 calories and Females 18+ it is about 1800-2200 calories.
NEXT is % Daily Value (% DV).
You can find the % Daily Value on the right side of the Nutrition Facts table.
Use % DV to see if a Serving Size has a little or a lot of nutrients.
- 5% DV or less is a little
- 15% DV or more is a lot
- Choose packaged food that has more of the nutrients you want, like fibre and calcium and less of those you don’t want, like trans fats and sodium.
- Use can also use % DV to compare packaged food.
Determine if this food is a nutritious choice –
Use the % DV to see if the Serving Size has a little or a lot of a nutrient so you can make a better choice for you and your family. Remember, 5% DV or less is a little and 15% or more is a lot.
In this photo, I am looking at the Nutrition Facts table to see if this product is a nutritious choice for our family. I determined that Cereal B, was indeed a healthy choice.
You can use the Nutrition Facts table to:
- Choose products more easily.
- Compare two products to make better food choices for you and your family.
- Learn about the nutrition information of the foods you eat.
- Better manage special diets.
- Increase or decrease your intake of any nutrient.
Taking a few minutes to familiarize yourself and to also help your children understand the Nutrition Facts table is well worth the time invested.
Making healthy food choices can help reduce your risk of nutrition-related chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
To learn more about the Nutrition Facts Education Campaign: “Focus on the Facts” and to keep up to date with all that is happening, be sure to visit Government of Canada – Nutrition Facts.
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PRIZE – $100.00 Grocery Gift Card (Participating retailers for the grocery gift card are: Loblaws, Overwaitea, Metro, Sobey’s, Costco, Walmart, Federated Coop)
DATES – Giveaway closes at 11:59 PM on March 31st, 2016
ELIGIBILITY – Open to all residents of Canada, excluding Quebec.
TO ENTER – Using the Giveaway Tools form below, simply follow the instructions, complete the mandatory entry, (which unlocks the optional entries), plus any or all the optional entries for your chance to win this prize!
Good luck everyone!