How to read a Label: Part 2
By Laura Kelly-Pifer
In my last post, I broke down a simple way to read the nutritional portion of the label and what it means. Today, I want to dig a little deeper into that, yet still keep it simple. The more you know, the better equipped you are.
Fat free doesn’t mean calorie free. All those items that are fat free like candies, fruit juices, and prepackaged foods to name a few still have calories. And, calories add up. Be mindful of how much you are consuming each day.
Cut the Sugar. Many prepackaged items are loaded with sugar and also have empty calories. If you chose to have foods like ice cream, sodas, canned foods, jelly and jams for example, be sure to check the label. It can be disguised in many ways. Some of what you might see is sugar being labeled as sucrose, glucose, malt or high-fructose corn syrup.
Cut the fat on meat. I LOVE pizza but after learning that a slice of Pepperoni Pizza has about 1/3 the recommended daily requirements for saturated fat, I had to take a second look. Like salami on your sandwich? Regular beef and pork based salami has more than 70% of it’s calories come from fat.
Low fat can be full of it! Just like fat free, low fat doesn’t mean calorie free. It’s still about the serving size and the total grams of fat that count. An example of this, whole milk has 3.5% of fat and that sounds low. But, an 8 oz glass contains 8 grams of fat.
Fat free vs. Sugar free. Who wins? It depends on how many calories are in a serving. What you may find is that if you’re having something sugar free, there may be more fat added to make it taste sweeter. Same goes for fat free products. If you’re going to chose one of these, look at decreasing your serving size.
Drizzled, drenched, or dunked it’s all about the dressing. I enjoy ranch dressing and blue cheese dressing on my salads and with my homemade chicken nuggets. Add some fruit to my salad and a delicious vinaigrette and YUM! But, just like everything else, it all adds up to what is in the dressing. Instead of prepackaged dressings, opt for a homemade dressing of olive oil with a squirt of lemon or flavored vinegars. There are TONS to chose from these days and believe me, you’ll enjoy it just as I do.
What’s inside the wheat bread? Just because it says wheat doesn’t mean it’s better for you. Instead, of choosing bread that says something like “1 gram of fat per slice,” chose bread that is whole grain and has 6 or fewer ingredients in it. The less it has, the more natural. And remember, if you can’t pronounce the ingredient, try and stay away from it.
So there you have it; a few simple facts about your food’s label. I hope that you can apply these when out and about. I’d love to hear about you’re next shopping trip and if you made any changes. Be sure to check in with me. I have faith in YOU!
Wishing you good health!