Eat Smart · Nutrition

Know Your Nutrition

People often refer to the “Nutrition Facts” label on the back of their packaged food for nutrition information. But what does all of the information provided on the label really mean? There are several simple steps as to how to make healthier choices the next time you shop at your local grocery store.

This is the Nutrition Facts label from a bag of Tops Blue Corn Tortilla Chips.

label

  1. Always keep an eye on the Serving Size because it is the basis for the rest of the information listed on the label.
  2. Check the calories. In this case, there are 140 calories per serving or per 12 chips. Not bad for a small midday snack.
  3. Then go to the % Daily Value. Anything under Total Fat, Cholesterol, Sodium and Total Carbohydrate are nutrients that you should limit. Anything below five percent Daily Value is low and anything above 20 percent Daily Value is high. Again, not too bad here.
  4. Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron are all nutrients you should make sure you get a healthy dose of. Again, anything below five percent Daily Value is low and anything about 20 percent is high. According to this food label, this packet of Blue Corn Chips probably is not your best source for these nutrients.
  5. Pay attention to the “*” after the % Daily Value This is telling you to refer to the footnote at the bottom of the food label. Most foods have this footnote on their labels notifying consumers that of all the Daily Values are based off of a 2,000-calorie diet. The numbers next to each nutrient under “2,000 Calories” are the recommended intake of each nutrient. You should always aim to eat less than the suggested % Daily Value of nutrients like Total Fat and Cholesterol. Contrarily, you should aim get at least the suggested % Daily Value intake of good nutrients, such as Dietary Fiber.

Overall, the Tops Blue Corn Tortilla Chips are not healthiest choice in the supermarket, but a small amount of them is definitely a better solution for your munchies than a handful of other oily potato chips.

By Tammy Hong

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