Focus on the Facts.
Make Informed Food Choices.
When many people think about food, they are not often thinking about nutrition or the benefit of eating that type of food. They are thinking about how the food is going to help them stop being hungry at the moment. The question that they should be asking themselves however is how long will I stop being hungry or is this food really the best choice I can make? When it comes to making better choices, the nutrition facts table can definitely help.
My girls can be picky eaters, in fact, I myself am a picky eater. But, one thing is for certain. I am a label reader and when we go shopping, I always compare several options before choosing the food item that we take home with us. I look at calories, fat content, sodium levels and the ingredients just to name a few.
Teach Your Kids.
The girls absolutely love to help us shopping every week and with the help of some really great tools; we were able to let them play detective and Focus on the Facts when it comes to choosing food. In Sherlock Holmes’ fashion, anyone can be a Focus on the Facts detective.
You could start by looking at the serving size and then the percent daily value for that food. These two categories can help you find foods that have more of the nutrients that they want in their diet. It is also a way for you to avoid foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats and sodium.
The “Focus on the Facts” was created to help Canadians use the Nutrition Facts table (NFt) to make informed food choices by starting with the Serving Size and then looking at the Percent Daily Value (% DV). It is really easy to find this information on the nutrition facts table.
First the girls took a look at the serving size which is located under the nutrition facts heading. It can be found on the right hand side of the nutrition facts table is the percent daily value. By taking a look at this info, you can see how much your favorite foods have of each nutrient. The percent daily value is considered low if it is five percent or less and high if it is at least fifteen percent.
They were shocked to see that some of their favorite foods were high in sodium and sugar. They learned that foods that need a nutrition facts table are ones that have been processed. That is why the healthiest foods you can buy are fresh fruits and vegetables. You really can’t go wrong with those! But, if you choose to have foods that aren’t fresh, you can still make the best decision by focusing on the facts.
Start a Conversation.
One of the best detective duties we assigned was to have the girls take a look at Nutrition Facts Table and write them down. That way, they could see exactly what was in their food and how much.
While everyone can benefit from using the nutrition facts table, I think it is us parents that benefit the most. Every parent wants to prepare foods that are healthy for their families and they want to teach their children to make healthier choices as well.
Get Out There!
If you’re looking to get healthier and show your kids how to read labels, try taking them to the store with you. As you are walking through the store, try comparing nutrition facts tables on multiple food items. This is the perfect time to explain why they should be choosing one food over another. It is a great way to get your kids to actively be involved in making healthier choices. It is a known fact that kids will be more willing to try to new foods if they have been part of the shopping process.
Teach Habits That Last.
After they have taken part in shopping, you’ll find that they will do it every time they pick up a product. When you get home, have them take a look at some of the labels that are already in the pantry. It creates an awareness that I think is an excellent habit to have throughout life.
Focus on the Facts.
By choosing the correct foods, you are able to give your families healthier snacks. These healthy snacks will allow you to feel satisfied afterwards instead of getting hungry again in an hour. Choosing the right foods will also mean that people will have more energy and their health will benefit as well.
Learn more about how you can “Focus on the Facts” and how to use the Nutrition Fact Tables at Canada.ca/NutritionFacts. You can even take a fun quiz and enter to WIN a wicked prize, take the quiz here.
Do you and your family read labels?
Let me know, til then–cheers m’deres!
Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist, lifestyle content creator, and editor of Whispered Inspirations. She is a proud Mom to Gabby and Michaela and partner and best friend to Darasak. Having worked as part of a health care team for almost a decade, Nancy is happy to be back to her passion. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY’s Parents, and an Oprah Magazine Brand Ambassador.