People across the globe are becoming more enlightened about nutrition and the benefits of healthy eating.
But for those of us who are just getting started on the journey to wellness, we need guidance on food shopping and how to read labels.
Indeed, some food distributors place tricky labels on their products making it hard for us to decipher the good from the bad. However, it’s no challenge if you know what to look for.
Check out the best ways to spot a simple food label and learn more about what it is.
What Are Simple Food Labels?
When reading food labels, you’ll notice that the label contains a lot of information about the product.
Most packaged food items are required to have information labels, but the content of that information depends on the type of food inside.
Simple food labels typically list fewer ingredients and when it comes to wholesome foods, less is best. You’ll likely see this list of ingredients:
- Totals fats with a breakdown of saturated and trans fats.
- Amount of cholesterol.
- Amount of sodium.
- Total percentage of carbohydrates.
- Percentage of total sugars.
- Percentage of protein.
- Vitamins by name and percentage.
Underneath the nutritional list, you should see a description of the ingredients.
The first three ingredients are what the manufacturer used most in the product.
Don’t fall for claims that a product is “healthy” without studying the label first.
Look for clean label ingredients which means no artificial fillers or synthetic chemicals.
Why Choose Simple Food Labels?
When shopping for foods with clean labels, you’ll be better off knowing that the food you’re buying is wholesome and free from additives.
Making good eating choices begins with bypassing processed foods and products that have long ingredient lists.
Choosing foods with a clean label is easier to understand and you can rest assured that the product you are buying is what it says it is.
Take time to compare simple food labels among food distributors and look for less sugar and fat at the top of the nutrition label.
Choosing simple food labels helps you make good food choices and keeps you on the path to wellness.
Different Ways to Spot Simple Food Labels
You may see food labels in the produce section of your grocery store above the produce bins.
Fresh vegetables or packaged fruit that was prepared in the grocery deli may not have nutritional labels on the package, but the information may be displayed nearby.
Look for food labels that have only a few ingredients or a short nutritional list when shopping for simple food labels.
Other products such as cosmetics and household goods will also have a shorter ingredient list if the goods are organic products.
Benefits of Buying Simple Clean Labels
The benefits of buying simple clean labels can’t be overstated when it comes to living a good lifestyle.
Buying clean-label foods means that the products you are consuming have not been mass-produced and you can feel confident that you are getting food like your grandma used to cook straight from the garden.
More Tips When Reading Food Labels
- Serving Size: Start by checking the serving size. All other information on the label is based on this portion, so make sure it matches your intended portion size.
- Calories: Understand the number of calories per serving. This helps you manage your daily calorie intake.
- Nutrients: Pay attention to the nutrients listed. Look for foods that are rich in essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. Aim for lower quantities of saturated fats, trans fats, sodium, and added sugars.
- % Daily Value (%DV): The %DV indicates how much a nutrient in one serving of the product contributes to your daily diet. It’s based on a daily intake of 2,000 calories, so adjust accordingly if your calorie needs differ.
- Fats: Check for both total fat and types of fat (saturated and trans fats). Opt for products with lower amounts of saturated and trans fats.
- Carbohydrates: Understand the total carbohydrates, including dietary fiber and sugars. Choose products with higher fiber and lower added sugars.
- Protein: Ensure an adequate protein intake by choosing foods with a decent protein content.
- Ingredients List: Read the ingredients list to understand what’s in the product. Ingredients are listed in descending order of quantity, so the first few are the most prominent. Avoid products with long lists of artificial additives and preservatives.
- Allergens: If you have food allergies or sensitivities, check for allergen warnings.
- Dates: Pay attention to expiration or “use by” dates to ensure freshness and safety.
- Claims: Be cautious with front-of-package claims like “low-fat” or “all-natural.” These can sometimes be misleading.
- Organic: Look for the USDA organic seal if you prefer organic products.
- GMO Labeling: Some products now indicate whether they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
- Allergen Warnings: If you have food allergies or sensitivities, check for allergen warnings.
- Nutritional Goals: Consider your specific dietary needs, such as low-sodium or high-fiber diets, and choose products that align with your nutritional goals.
A New Way of Shopping
Consider the aforementioned tips for choosing simple food labels. Remember, the fewer ingredients, the better it is for you!
Compare prices on food options at different grocery stores to make sure you are getting the most for your money and get started toward living your best.
Remember that the key to a good diet isn’t just focusing on individual nutrients but rather the overall quality and variety of the foods you consume.
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