Taking steps toward good health is not easy. This is why RD places so much importance on finding tools that work for us!
In this article we want to give you the most helpful tool of all, education! When we see strange words like “monopotassium phosphate”, “hydrogenated vegetable oil”, and “pyridoxine” a tiny voice inside says, “What?”. Food labels are necessary to help us make informed decisions about what we’re going to consume. So let’s learn how to read the damn things!
Before we get started, the first tip is alway be skeptical of the front label. The front of any package of food is mainly advertising. Sayings like “all natural”, “fat free”, “made with real fruit”, and “guilt free” are designed to reel you in. Companies place these buzz words on packages so you’ll consume their products! The real data is on the back of the container. Nutrition label hacks below!
How to Read a Nutrition Label
1. Keep an eye out for serving sizes.
It’s possible to overeat if you don’t realize how many servings are in a container. A package of nuts for example is a healthy choice, but not if we have the whole bag.
A bag of almonds may have 15g of fat per serving, but when there are 2.5 servings in that little gas station snack, you’re eating almost triple the recommended amount of fat in that one bag. So tip number 1 is recognize the serving size and measure your food!
2) Look at the macronutrients.
Riffing off of tip number 1, look for the macros (protein, fat, and carbs). The Precision Nutrition macro guidelines are as follows:
Protein: Women - 20-30g/meal. Men - 40-60g/meal.
Fat: Women - 7-12g/meal. Men - 15-25g/meal.
Carbohydrates: Women - 20-30g/meal. Men - 40-60g/meal.
To eat a well rounded diet, making sure we try to hit these numbers with each meal is important.
3. Check out the ingredients list...
Specifically the first few ingredients. Larger quantities will appear first. Be aware of some different names for SUGAR and sugar alcohols:
-High-fructose corn syrup, barley malt, maltodextrin, brown rice syrup, fruit juice concentrate, honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, dextrose, etc.
Now that you know what to look for on a food package, let’s talk about foods without any packaging at all!
Eating a wide variety of whole foods like meat, fruits, and vegetables can be a huge part of your fitness success. Choose foods that are as close to nature as possible to ensure general well-being.
Check out this blog post for some more healthy living suggestions!
Making small steps like educating yourself on food and nutrition labels can earn you a healthier life!