3 Helpful Tips to Reading Food Labels
Going to the store to buy food can be daunting when you are choosing to limit the amount of processed foods. We have a few simple tips to help you make healthy food choices simple.
- Less Ingredients, Winner: The more ingredients listed, the less whole or natural the product tends to be. The most wholesome foods will have only a single ingredient (e.x. fruit, veggies, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, etc.). The products with the least amount of ingredients that requires minimal processing is a good option too (ex. plain dairy products, frozen fruits and veggies, dried whole grains like rice, quinoa and oats.)
- First Three Ingredients, Tells All: Ingredients are listed from highest content to lowest. Whatever the product has most of, will be the first ingredient. If a product says it’s a whole grain, the word “whole” should appear as the first ingredient and it should have at least 3 grams of fiber/serving.
- Ingredient you can’t read, Beware: If you can’t read it or you have no clue what the ingredient is, it is considered a highly processed food. Food such as crackers, chips, fast food, microwaveable dinners, candy, soda, or cookies are great examples of these foods.
Here are a few examples on a few food items you can change up for a simple, healthier option:
- Peanut Butter: Look for a peanut butter that has “Natural” in the label and only contains Peanuts and Salt.
- Yogurt: Flavored yogurts are filled with sugar and artificial ingredients. Look for “Plain Lowfat Yogurt”.
- Crackers: Look for crackers that contain whole wheat and list it as the first ingredient and have 1-2 more ingredients. Triscuit Original Crackers are a great option.
Here is a pictogram to help you examine food labels more in detail.