The very first step to proper nutrition is making sure you know exactly what you are putting into your body. Choosing the best food for your health can be difficult when someone else is preparing it, but we have the right to know what we are consuming. This is why we have nutrition facts labels—so everyone can make informed decisions about what they are putting into their bodies. You want to choose foods high in the nutrients your body needs and low in the nutrients that can be harmful. And nutrition fact labels tell us which foods those are! This information does you no good, however, if you don’t know how to interpret it….
Reading a food label can be seem daunting, especially at first, but after some practice you will be able to know exactly what to look for on the labels, and over time, what to expect before you even see the label itself. If you are just starting out, however, it may take some time to analyze the information you are seeing, and make an educated decision as to whether this is something you should be including in your diet.
How to Read a Nutrition Label: The Basics
Listed below is a breakdown of the key components to a nutrition label, and what they tell you about the nutritional value of the item.
Serving Size: This provides you with a quantity of how much equals one serving, and how many servings are in a package. All the information on the label is based on one serving, so if you eat three servings, you must multiply all those number values by three to find out how much you are actually consuming.
Calories: This gives a measure of how much energy you get from a serving of that food. Eating foods that are packed with nutrients without being too high in calories means it is a nutrient-dense food—and a good choice. You want to get the most nutritional bang for your caloric buck.