How much fun are you having this summer? The carefree summer season is in full swing with cookouts and picnics almost every weekend. Chances are when you are at a gathering with family and friends there is little time spent evaluating and talking about the ingredients on food packaging labels. While picnic foods are delicious, how often do you read the Nutrition Facts panel on the foods you are providing or consuming at the picnic?
This summer is a great time to get in the habit of looking before you picnic by scanning labels before you snack! There is no time like the present to get in the habit of evaluating food labels. Aren’t you somewhat curious about what you are eating?
Food Label 101
Did you know food companies are required by law to give you the facts about what you are eating? Reading labels takes some practice, but it helps you to make informed decisions about the foods you purchase and consume.
Labels provide you with a variety of information about the product you are eating, such as:
- Serving Size
- Serving per Container
- Calories from Fat
- Total Fat
When looking at food labels it is important to look for foods that are high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. You also want to look for foods that are low in sugar, sodium, cholesterol and fats (especially saturated fat and trans fat).
The ingredient list can tell you a lot about the food you are eating as well. According to the article “Food Smarts: Understanding Food Labels”
• It is important to keep an eye out for foods that have a large number of ingredients containing sugars, salt and fats and oils. More often than not, foods that have a large amount of these ingredients are not the best choice for consumption.
• Foods with shorter ingredient lists tend to be better for eating. Often times, foods that have long ingredient lists are filled with extra chemicals and unhealthy additions.
At your next picnic, be food smart. Don’t deprive yourself of a favorite snack or force yourself to eat things you hate, but make smart decisions by reading food labels. This will give you the power to choose good foods that will help your body feel and function the way it should and give you more energy to finish summer off with a bang!