Reading Food Labels: A Cheat Sheet

There has to be a cheat sheet that helps parents figure out whether a dish is healthy or not. Clip this, stick it on your fridge and compare the nutrition content for any meal you are planning to make or frozen dish you are planning to bake.  Then you will know.  And the first step is knowing...

Daily ok meals:

Adult

Child 1-3

Child 3-8

Per serving should be less than...
Calories

350-600

300

300-500

Fat

9-15 grams

6-10 grams

9-15 grams

Saturated fat

1-2 grams

0.5-1 gram

0.5-2 grams

Carbs

40 grams max

40 grams max

40 grams max

Sodium

400 mg max

200 mg max

250 mg max

Per serving goal is more than...
Protein

11-25 grams

8-10 grams

8-10 grams

Fiber

1-10 grams

1-8 grams

1-8 grams

List of ingredients that must be avoided: artificial sweeteners, caffeine, margarine, trans fats, sodas.

List of ingredients that should be minimized: sugar, brown sugar, white flour, white rice, white pasta, fruit juice and red meat.

Once in a while meals:

Adult

Child 1-3

Child 3-8

Per serving should be less than...
Calories

500-600

400

500-600

Fat

9-18 grams

6-15 grams

9-18 grams

Saturated fat

1-2 grams

0.5-1 gram

0.5-2 grams

Carbs

60 grams max

50 grams max

60 grams max

Sodium

400 mg max

300 mg max

350 mg max

Per serving goal is more than...
Protein

11-25 grams

8-10 grams

8-10 grams

Fiber

1-10 grams

1-8 grams

1-8 grams

List of ingredients that must be avoided: artificial sweeteners, caffeine, margarine, trans fats, sodas.

May include: reasonable amounts of sugar, brown sugar, white pasta, white rice, fruit juice and red meat.

 

Fine for fun:

Of course there are all kinds of meals that aren’t necessarily bad for you, but they are intended for occasions and extras.  For the most part, all you have to do is focus on whole ingredients and avoid “the whites”: white flour, white sugar, white pasta, white rice.

 

About the Author:

Theresa Albert Theresa Albert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

Picture of Theresa Albert

Author: Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is an on-camera food and health expert, nutritionist and writer who loves to spread the word on food. She is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. Tweet with her at @theresaalbert & find her daily at www.theresaalbert.com

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