The Label Low-Down: How to Get the Most Out of the Nutrition Facts Table
The rule of 5% and 15%
Understanding portion sizes
Helpful tips to use at the grocery store:
To make shopping easier and to eliminate doubts about whether or not you are buying healthy foods for your family, Larivière says awareness is key:
- When you enter a grocery store, make sure to start off near the fresh fruits and continue around the perimeter of the store to the meat section, then on to dairy and frozen vegetables. By shopping around the store, you will be sure to purchase products from all foods groups. The aisles tend to contain processed foods rich in fats, sodium, and simple sugars.
- Compare the product you regularly buy to a similar product you don’t normally choose to determine the nutritional value of other foods. You may decide that a once reliable choice is not as healthy as you once thought it was!
- Pay attention to serving sizes and compare these to the amount you or your children would normally eat. This will take the guessing out of how much you are eating.
- Be weary of nutritional claims – Larivière says products that claim to be a “source of” or “good source of” are good indicators of products that contain nutrients you want more that 15% of, such as calcium, iron, fibre. However, she warns that products that contain claims of being “fat free” or “reduced in calories” don’t necessarily mean that they will be any healthier for you and your family. When in doubt, rely on the 5% to 15% rule.