Deciphering the mess of information on nutrition labels while standing in a jam-packed refrigerated section at the grocery store can frazzle even the best of us. Which numbers and notations matter and which don’t? It can be hard to tell – and even harder to care! – especially in that hangry moment in the aisle.
We’re breaking down a few key guidelines for reading nutrition labels with HelloFresh‘s in-house dietitian, Rebecca Lewis. Technically, it’s meal delivery services just like this that are keeping us out of those refrigerated aisles more and more often. HelloFresh’s pre-portioned and healthfully planned meals are redefining how some of us grocery shop altogether. But, even for those of us who are completely hooked on meal deliveries, reading nutrition labels is a chore no one can fully escape. Rebecca is helping us conquer this healthy eating skill once and for all with the six tips below…
6 Simple Guidelines For Reading Nutrition Labels
Start here. Check out the serving size and servings per container. This can be tricky!
Check the Calories
Remember that the calories listed are per serving.
% Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet: 5% or less is low. 20% or more is high.
Limit These Nutrients
Look for absolutely 0% of calories from trans fat. Ideally, packages should have less than 300 mg of cholesterol and less than 2,300 mg of sodium.
Get More of These Nutrients
Look for packages high in vitamins and minerals. Also, choose foods with high fiber: 1 gram of fiber for every 10 grams of carbs is a good standard.
Know the Ingredients
Look for “whole grains” in the first three ingredients listed. Don’t recognize an ingredient name? Proceed with caution.
What are your personal tricks and tips for reading nutrition labels? Let us know in the comments below!
Another thing to keep in mind when reading labels is that the FDA allows processed food manufacturers to round down. This means that “0 trans fats” on the label actually means it contains less than .5 grams per serving. These fractions can add up especially when serving sizes are unrealistically small!