Snacking Smarter: Food labels, nutritional information, and you!

Food label of turmeric makhana, containing nutritional information

Disclaimer:  We are not licensed nutritional professionals.  All advice in this blog is anecdotal and should be interpreted as such.  Please consult a licensed professional for any questions about your nutritional health.  We hope that you enjoy this blog and that, if anything, we have helped you develop clearer questions to ask a licensed nutritional professional.  

With knowledge on where our food comes out becoming more prevalent in everyday life, it is no wonder that people have increasingly started looking at food labels to determine what is healthy and what is not.  Of course healthy intakes are dependent upon someone's own body but today we are going to discover what information you need from a food label, to apply it into your own diet.

 

Food label showing the serving information for turmeric flavoured makhana, popped water lily seeds

 

Serving Sizes on a Food Label

Typically a serving size on a food label outlines the amount that people typically eat at one time, and the number of servings in the package.  Whereas your portion size is the amount of food that you actually eat.  Serving sizes are going to have standardized metrics so that you are able to compare to similar foods, and so that you know how much is in the food you buy.

It is important to note that the serving size is NOT the recommended portion size for that specific snack.  

Speaking of which, the nutrients and everything else that follows on the nutritional information label always refers to the serving size, not the recommended portion size.  This is important to know for dieting because your diet program may have rigid nutrient intake requirements that may require you to consume less (or more) of a serving of that meal.  

Food label that shows calories consumed in a serving of turmeric makhana, water lily seeds

 

Calories on a Food Label

On food labels, calories measure how much energy you get from a serving of this particular food.  A lot of diets are concerned with calorie intake but in order to accurately adhere to your diet regimens, you need to first count your calories and that starts on the food labels.  

Want to learn more about your estimated calorie needs?  WebMD has got a great table on estimated calorie requirements.  


Food label with nutrients information for turmeric flavoured makhana, water lily seeds


Nutrients

This last section on your food label can look a little intimidating, am I right?  Let's start with the percentages:  each of these percentages represent the daily value you would get from consuming the serving size.  

Some nutrients you can skip includes saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars as a lot of North American products already contain a lot of these added nutrients.  Consuming too much of these nutrients have been linked to health conditions like cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.  

When looking at your snacking habits to hold you off until your next big meal, it is always a good idea to think twice, and check a food label once in a while.  Of course we can't stop you from enjoying your favourite snack but, perhaps, there is an opportunity to snack in a while that aligns with the serving size or a recommended portion size for your diet?  Some food for thought there!

Comment below with a snack that you wish had more nutrients in a serving.  I'll start: chocolate.  I wish the chocolate I enjoy had less sugar, less fat, and more fibre.  

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