Bringing balanced nutrition home to your family is easier when you know what to shop for and bring a smart shopping list and knowledge about the Nutrition Facts label and healthy choices.
We have the power of choice to decide which foods to buy at the grocery store. Making the healthiest food choices when shopping and eating out is a key to consuming a well-balanced diet.
Healthy food choices are important for good health and well-being. Eating well means eating a variety of nutrient-packed foods and beverages from food groups and staying within your calorie needs. This, combined with choosing foods low in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, and salt (sodium) will help to ensure that you are eating a healthy diet while helping to maintain a healthy weight. If you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, do so sensibly and in moderation.
For great information on how to meet these goals- both at home and when eating out, schedule a free consultaion with Dr. Merino. You can also visit MyPlate.gov for more guidance and tips for eating healthy.
Why the Nutrition Facts label is important
- Check servings and calories. Look at the serving size and how many servings the package contains. If you consume one serving, the label clearly outlines the nutrients you get. If you double the servings you eat, you double the calories and nutrients, including the Percent Daily Value (% DV).
- Make your calories count. Look at the calories on the label and note where the calories are coming from (fat, protein, or carbohydrate). Compare them with the other nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, to decide whether the food is worth eating.
- Don’t sugar-coat it. Since sugars contribute calories with few, if any, nutrients, look for foods and beverages low in added sugars. Read the ingredient list and make sure that added sugars are not one of the first few ingredients. Some names for added sugars (caloric sweeteners) include sucrose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, maple syrup, and fructose.
- Know your fats. Look for foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol to help reduce the risk of heart disease (5% DV or less is low, 20% DV or more is high). Most of the fats you eat should be polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Keep total fat intake between 20% to 35% of calories.
- Reduce sodium (salt), increase potassium. Research shows that eating less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium (about 1 teaspoon of salt) per day might reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Most of the sodium people eat comes from processed foods, not from the salt shaker. Also, look for foods high in potassium (tomatoes, bananas, potatoes, and orange juice), which counteracts some of sodium’s effects on blood pressure.