There are three components to a food label: The nutrition facts table, ingredient list, and nutrition claims.
The nutrition facts table gives you information about calories, 13 core nutrients, and % Daily Value (% DV) of nutrients
This is where you will find the serving size, or amount of food. All of the information in the Nutrition Facts table is based on this amount of food. It is always listed in the same spot, and usually will have two different types of measurements, for example, 2 slices of bread, 1 cup of soup, etc. If you want to have two servings of a particular food product, you need to multiply all of the numbers on the Nutrition Facts Table by two, as you are eating twice as much. The Serving Size is also useful in comparing food products.
NOTE: the serving size is not the suggested amount of food you should eat; it is simply a reference amount.
The calories listed in the nutrition facts are based on amount of food. If you eat more than the amount of food, your calorie intake will be higher than the value listed. If you eat less than the amount of food, your calorie intake will be lower than the value listed.
Highlighted in yellow are three nutrients you want to limit: Fat, Cholesterol, and Sodium.
Dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron are areas on the nutrition fact table that you want to have higher numbers. These are nutrients you want to have increased consumption of in your diet.
This area is where you will find information on core nutrients found in the food product.
The % Daily Value can help you make informed food choices. It provides a quick overview of the nutrient profile of a food. As a rule of thumb, aim for the % DV of all nutrients on the food label to be between 5% and 15%.
Planning meals helps to:
Meal planning can be done once or twice a week at the same time you are writing out your shopping list. The more you plan the easier it gets. A little planning goes a long way in helping you have healthy eating habits.
Tips to help plan meals:
You can try and involve children or other family member in the planning and preparation of meals. They’ll appreciate the meal more and learn important life skills. Use Canada’s Food Guide to help meet the checklist below and make it easier to plan healthy, well rounded meals for your family.
Meal planning checklist: