Consumers find food labels confusing and too small to read. Think back to the last time you went food shopping, did you check the labels for nutritional information? If you did, chances are it still felt tricky to know exactly what was in your food: how do you decide between an item which has “reduced sodium” and that that has “low sodium” – and whats the difference?

These 3 quick and easy steps can help you shop healthier when you’re buying packaged foods for your family.

STEP #1: Always Read The Back of the Label
The reason you need to read the back of the label is that you should think of the front of a label as an ad. Essentially, food companies get to use the front of their labels to highlight all the wonderful things about their food. The things they really want you to know. But it doesn’t show you the full picture of what’s actually in the food.

The back of the label is regulated by the government and it shows you exactly what’s in the food. Plus, everyone needs to list things the same way, so it helps you not only understand what’s in one item, but it helps you compare two items side-by-side equally.

STEP #2: Look For Ingredient Lists that are Short and Contain Ingredients that you would Cook with in Your Own Kitchen
A short ingredient list means that they can’t pack too many things in there. But the second piece is that you want to look for things that you would actually use in your own kitchen.

STEP #3: Pay the Most Attention to the First Three to Five Ingredients
You want to pay attention the most to the first three to five ingredients. This is because ingredients on food labels are listed by weight. That means the things show up highest on the ingredient lists are the things that this product contains the most of.

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