Rely On the Ingredients List For Healthy Food Shopping
When the majority of shoppers look at food in their supermarket, there are three main areas to find out what’s in the package. These three areas are: the front of the package, the nutrition facts panel and the ingredient list.
With so much information, how do you know which gives you the information you need? Let’s take a look at each and what to look for when shopping for healthy foods for your family.
Front of the Package
Manufacturers want you to buy their products – it’s just that simple. With catchy phrases and claims to draw in unsuspecting consumers, the front package of a food product is the worst place to base a buying decision.
This is even worse for foods that are marketed to children. When manufactures put on flashy ads, familiar characters and clever wording, children want that product. That turns into a confrontation of child and parent, in the store. Since children are vulnerable to unhealthy foods with slick advertising, they try to convince their parents to buy them what “looks” fun.
Don’t base your buying decision on the front panel of a food product.
Nutrition Facts Panel
The nutrition fact panel is a main source of information, as they’re based on daily-recommended allowances of food intake. Although helpful, this section of the food product can sometimes become confusing to the consumer.
Let’s take a look at each section on the nutrition facts panel:
· Serving Size – This tells you how many servings are within the product. Often, you may think a whole bag of chips is only 100 calories, but if the serving size is a specific number of chips, you may have eaten more than you bargained for.
· Calories – This tells you the amount of calories in each serving size – not the entire product. For those watching their weight, there’s an area that tells you how many calories come from fat for each serving.
· Unhealthy Nutrients – These include saturated fats, trans-fat, sodium and such. These should be looked at closely and kept to a minimum.
· Healthy Nutrients – These include fiber, vitamin A, C and iron. Most Americans don’t have enough of these nutrients in their diet and getting 100% DV of these is important for healthy living.
· Carbohydrates – This section has to be the most complicated on the nutrition panel. Total carbohydrates refer to the amount of sugar, fiber and complex carbohydrates in the product. As a rule, select foods high in fiber and low in sugar for optimal health benefits.
· Percent Daily Value – This refers to the nutrients listed in one serving and if they contribute to a lot or a little of your daily amount you need everyday. This amount is based on a 2,000-calorie a day diet.
The list of ingredients on the back of the food package is the best place to find how healthy the food is for you and your family.
The ingredient list displays everything that is in the product from the highest amount to the lowest. The first 2 ingredients tell you more about the product than anything else. To ensure you’re getting a healthy product, make sure there are a fruit, vegetable, whole grain, low fat milk or protein listed in the first two ingredients. If it’s sugar or fat, stay away from them, unless they are salad dressings or baking sugar.
Everyday, we face an incredible amount of advertising, even in our grocery stores. To be sure you get the healthiest foods for your family, stick with the ingredients list, followed by the nutrition panel. That way, you know you’re giving your family something healthy and not a food product full of junk.