Reading nutrition information panels
Food labels can be confusing . Few people have the time to stand and read every single label before placing the item in the shopping trolley and then there is also the issue of understanding exactly what the label is telling us about the product.
The Eat for Health website has great information that can help you to navigate your way around a label.
You can also find a handy card here that can be printed and cut out for your wallet. Use it as an easy reference guide when shopping.
Basic labels tips:
- Ingredients are listed in order of weight so if sugar is listed first this is probably not the best choice
- Compare products using the 100g column of the nutrition information panel rather than ‘per serve’ as each product serve size may be different
- When comparing similar products choose those higher in fibre and lower in saturated fat, sodium (salt) and sugar.
Many of us suffer from ‘portion distortion’ without realising it. Packaged foods, takeaway-foods and restaurant meals have increased in size meaning we are all consuming more kilojoules than we generally need. While consuming lots of fruits and vegetables provide health benefits over consumption of highly processed foods and sugary drinks provide little more than kilojoules, fats and sugar.
At meal times:
- resist the temptation to have a second serve
- use a smaller plate
- eat slowly
- freeze leftovers or take them for lunch the next day.
When packing lunches:
- underestimate the amount you need rather than overfilling, no one likes to see waste so the temptation to consume all the foods is very real
- portion controlled packets of crackers and crisps are deceiving. Try buying the larger pack and portioning them out yourself, add sliced cheese for a balanced snack
- children’s lunchboxes are often over filled. Sending half a sandwich rather than a full one will ensure they still have room for the fruit, vegetables and dairy foods you have also provided.
Source: Live Lighter fact sheet, ‘watch your portion size’