Nutrition Facts Label

In order to ensure that you are using proper portion controls for each meal, reading the nutrition facts label is one way to help you stay on track. When reading the nutrition facts label, start at the top and read your way down the rows.

The serving size is listed as a standard unit (example: cups, ounces, etc.) and followed by metric unit (example: grams, liters, etc.). Servings per container list the total contents of the package, based on serving size. If there is more than one serving in a package, the nutrition facts listed below are based on only one serving size. To calculate total nutrient content for the entire package, you must multiply the content by the number of servings per container. After servings and servings per container, then comes amounts per serving, which list the following:

  • Calories (% of calories from fat = Calories from Fat/Total Cals x 100)
  • Total fat (increase intake of healthy fats such as monounsaturated- olive oil and avocados and polyunsaturated- vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, fatty fish (Omega-3s and Omega-6s)
  • Saturated fat- limit saturated and trans fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium
  • Total carbohydrates
  • Dietary fiber (Good source: 10-19% DV/serving, Excellent source: <20% DV/serving)
  • Sugars
  • Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron
  • Other vitamins and minerals may be listed

It’s important to limit saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium and increase potassium, fiber, and the other vitamin and minerals. In addition, the nutrition facts label lists the percent (%) daily values that are based on a 2,000-calorie diet and are found at the bottom of the label. Percentages for each nutrient listed on the label are based on this recommendation. When reading the percent (%) daily values, 5% or less of the daily value is considered low and 20% or greater of the daily value is considered high. The percent daily values can be modified for diets that consist of fewer or greater than 2,000 calories per day.

 

Lastly, when reading the nutrition facts label, other tips for tracking portion sizes at home are listed below:

  • Check serving sizes on labels
  • Avoid “super sized” items
  • Make “single serve” snacks from larger packages
  • Don’t buy tempting foods that can cause you to binge eat
  • Don’t eat from the package because it makes it harder to keep track of how many servings you’ve had
  • Calculate appropriate correct caloric intake
    • Remember to compare the serving size on the label with how much was eaten and adjust calculations accordingly