Reading Food Nutrition Labels

FDA & USDA Choose My Plate

Look for the Nutrition Facts Label on food packages. Once you spot it, you’ll be able to find all the nutrition information you need for making smart food choices.

 

Use these healthy tips when reading food nutrition labels!

 

  1. Check out the serving size. Remember that one package may contain more than one serving! Use the serving size to discover the total number of calories and nutrients per package.

  2. Consider the calories. When comparing foods, remember: 400 or more calories per serving for a single food is high, and 100 is moderate. Keep track of the calories you eat throughout the day. The food label is based on a 2,000 calorie diet — but your calorie needs might be different. To find out what your “target” calories per day are, visit www.choosemyplate.gov!

  3. Choose nutrients wisely. Pick foods that are lower in certain fats, cholesterol and sodium when making daily food choices. When comparing %DV (Percent Daily Value), remember: 5% DV is low; 20% DV is high! Nutrients To Get More Of: Potassium, fiber, vitamins A & C, iron, and calcium. Choose foods with a higher %DV of these important nutrients. Nutrients To Get Less Of: Trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugars. Choose foods that are lower in these nutrients.

 

Extra Tips

 

  • The label doesn’t show a %DV for trans fat or sugars. But you can still Read the Label and choose the foods with lower grams of trans fat and sugar when comparing two foods!

  • Compare Different Foods and Meal Sizes. Read the Label to see the differences in nutrients between various choices. Compare different ways foods are prepared, like grilled chicken vs. fried chicken, baked potatoes vs. French fries . . . and compare small vs. large portions. And remember: a “super-sized” item can mean doubling (or tripling!) the calories because the serving size is larger.

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