Reading Food Labels

By Lyn Achieng’

Every time you go into the supermarket, you see many of different food products like cereals in brightly colored tins, snack foods in shiny foil bags, frozen dinners in packages that can be used in a microwave oven. Here are some ways to use food labels to make healthy food choices.

  1. Read the ingredients

Be aware of the ingredients that food contains by;

~Get familiar with terms for different kinds of ingredients.

~Ingredients are listed in order by weight from most to least.

~If you have specific dietary restrictions, always it is important to check the ingredients list first.

     2. Look at the percentage of the Daily values  by;

~Check the percentages of valuable nutrients such as iron, calcium, fiber and vitamins to know if it’s a good source of many nutrients that you need.

~Note the percentage of nutrients that you should limit, such as cholesterol and saturated fat.

     3. Read any health related descriptions by;

~Checking any health descriptions on the package for guidance, Such as “high fiber” and “low fat”.

    4. Notice the number of servings per container.

~Different food categories always have serving sizes that are standardized so you can compare the amount you use.

In addition, to judge the nutritional value of food, do not rely on advertisements on magazines, newspapers, television or nice looking packages. Instead, read the food label carefully with a list of ingredients and nutrition information.

Attractive and convenient packaging is designed to make you want to purchase the product. Do not forget to check the product dates which are added voluntarily by manufactures. Try and evaluate if the products are healthier to make healthy food of your choice.