Now that you learned to read a food label in Food Label Literate Part One, you may
want to know what’s important. Here are some helpful tips on calories, fat, carbohydrates, fiber and protein to help you choose healthful foods when navigating the food label!
Calories provide your body with energy. Calories come from the carbohydrates, protein and fats in your foods.
There are healthy and not so healthy fats! Healthy fats include mono- and poly- unsaturated fats. Processed foods are high in the unhealthy fats, trans and saturated fats. Processed foods include cakes, cookies, crackers, pastries, pies, muffins, doughnuts, French fries and full fat dairy products.
Total Carbohydrates, Sugars and Fiber
Carbohydrates are the body and brain’s main source of energy. Fiber protects your heart and body from many diseases, keeps you full for longer, and helps keep your digestive system healthy. Instead of removing carbohydrates from your diet, look for whole grains and high fiber foods. Enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, whole wheat bread and pasta, low-fat dairy, and brown rice.
Many foods contain some protein but the best sources are lean beef, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts, seeds, and legumes such as black beans.
The best way to make sure you are eating healthy is to compare 3 food labels of a similar product (e.g. yogurt) before choosing the one that is best for you!
For more on choosing healthy foods, see Six Tips that Encourage Your Family to Dine Healthy.