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Understanding how to read food labels and interpret the information in them will help you to make better and more informed choices when you do the weekly shopping.

The nutrition panel on the packaged foods we eat must by law in Australia contain information about the nutrition of the product.

This information is meant to help you make an informed decision about the food choices you make.

But a lot of people don’t know what most of the information on the panel means or how to interpret it.

In this video below I explain to you the 8 essential pieces of information you can take from a food label to help you make better decisions about the foods you eat.

HOW TO READ FOOD LABELS

So, when it comes to a nutrition label, right at the top you’re going to find two very helpful pieces of information.

The first is the number of servings per packet, and what exactly makes up that serving size. This is the information that the manufacturer has decided will be a serving size.  And this is really important to remember, because you’re going to have to compare that to what you intend to be your serving size. 

You in the manufacturer may have very different ideas about what a serving size is.  A really great example of this is the yoghurts that we buy in the snap apart six packs.   

The manufacture calls one of these 200g tubs two serves.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I eat the whole 200g as one serve.

So, if I’m looking at the per serve column, thinking that the amount of sugar or fat that I’ve just eaten is for the whole tub, it’s actually for only half the tub because that’s what the manufacturer is calling it serving.

So that’s really, really important information to make sure you’re checking.

INGREDIENT LIST

When the other really useful piece of information to look for on your food labels, is the ingredients list. This is probably the thing that I look at first before I look at all of the numbers.

The food items in the ingredient list will be listed in asending order, so the ingredient that is first on the list is going to be in the highest amount in the food, and whatever is at the ends of the list is in the least amount.

If you can see fat, sugar or salt within the first three ingredients on the ingredient list, it’s not going to be a great choice and it probably won’t meet a lot of those targets that are outlined below.

 

 

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KILOJOULES

This is a measure of the amount of energy a food provides.  When you are choosing a snack, try to follow the very loose guide of choosing snacks with 600kJ of energy per serve or less.  But, remember its just a guide.

 

FAT

Aim to choose foods with less than 10 grams of total fat per 100 grams and less than 3 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams.

 

SUGAR

Aim to choose foods with less than 15 grams of sugar per 100 grams.

 

FIBRE

Aim to choose foods with more than 3 grams of fibre per serve.

 

SODIUM

Aim to choose foods with less than 120 milligrams, but no more than 400 milligrams of sodium per 100 grams.

 

So that’s my guide on how to read food labels. I hope that was helpful for you.

 

Find healthy eating time consuming and confusing?  The Ultimate Meal Planning Toolkit makes it easier.  Download my FREE toolkit now by simply clicking the link below.