While lists of ingredients and the Nutrition Facts panel are there to help shoppers choose foods to fit their nutritional needs, it’s not always easy to interpret. Learning how to decode the numbers and percentages on the nutrition label is the first step in shopping for healthier foods. Below are registered dietitian Carolyn O'Neil's four steps to cracking the nutrition code.
1. Always note serving sizes: While a food or beverage may seem like a good nutritional fit, check to see how many servings the container includes.
2. Be aware of unhealthy contents: Pay close attention to facts on the nutrition label for excessive fat, sodium and sugar, and avoid trans fat completely.
3. Look for the good stuff: Seek out foods that are good sources of dietary fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and potassium.
4. Don’t be fooled by appearance: Remember that a pretty package design and “healthy” words can disguise non-nutritious foods. Always read the nutrition facts label to see what’s really inside.
When shopping for groceries, what is the leading factor you consider?