Food product labels can be confusing and misleading when shopping for your weight loss diet, but if you look closely, the food label can help you make smarter food decisions. How can you know if what you’re eating is good for your healthy lifestyle? Here are a few tips.
-The first thing you should look at is how many servings per container. A bag of chips may be only 150 calories per serving, but if there are 2.5 servings per bag, you could consume an extra 225 calories without knowing it! Many times companies manipulate serving size and servings per container in order to keep their food seeming healthy, but this can ultimately lead to overeating which is a cause of weight gain. For example, did you know that one serving of Pop-tarts is only one pastry, even though they are in packages of two? Don’t subject yourself to becoming overweight or obese by eating more than the serving size!
-Consider the food label information more than the price. Your body is an investment, so pay the extra 50 cents for the baked chips and it may help you lose weight!
-Things to limit for your weight loss diet: sugars, fats, cholesterol, sodium.
-Things you want to get enough of: potassium, fiber, vitamin a, c, iron, and calcium.
-The percent of your daily value on the side is based on a calorie intake of 2,000. If your calorie intake is only 1,500, then the percents of things like protein, fat, and carbohydrates will be high.
-If the percent daily value is over 20 percent, the food is considered ‘high’ in that category. For example if the product advertises being ‘high’ in calcium, one serving must contain more than 20 percent of your calcium daily value.
-If the percent daily value is less than 5 percent, the product is considered ‘low’ in that category. For example, if the product advertises being ‘low’ in fat, then one serving will contribute to less than 5 percent of your daily value of fat.
-The shorter the ingredients label, the healthier the product is. If the label goes on for paragraphs, then there are probably a lot of artificial flavorings, colors, emulsifiers, and preservatives present.
Remember that it is important to know what you put into your body. If you treat your body well now, it will treat you well later in life and it will help you to avoid the adverse health effects that come with childhood obesity! Always look at the nutrition label and make smart choices for your healthy diet.
Written by Amanda Yazbek, Nutritionist at Camp Shane weight loss camp for children