Put Your Best Fork Forward

Put Your Best Fork Forward

We hope to inspire people to “Put Their Best Fork Forward” by learning how to select proper ingredients right from the start! Now is a great time to focus on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical habits.

Putting our Best Fork Forward allows us to recognize we hold the tool to make healthier food choices. By making small changes this month and over time we can improve our overall health now and into the future. You may find yourself asking, “Which one is healthier?” or “What is more nutritious?” We as nutrition professionals know that it can be overwhelming to sift through the varieties of products to choose from. Learning how to read a nutrition label and knowing what to look for will enable you to pick the best products. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists can further help you clarify which products are best for a balanced diet. Use the graphic below to get you started.

How Do You Accurately Read a Nutrition Label?

On May 2016, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) made revisions to the previous nutrition label and announced a new label that reflects new information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity. The following tips will help you become aware of the decisions you make when choosing the right foods..

Servings: The new “serving size” is now larger and in bold. It has been updated so reflect what the serving that people usually tend to eat

Calories: The “calories” on the food label is now larger and in bold.

Fats: Research shows that the types of fats consumed has been more important to consumers than the amount.

Sugars: “Added Sugars” has been included, and this accounts for sugars added from honey and syrups, and from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices. Avoid eating more than 10% of calories from added sugars since you will not meet your nutritional needs.

Nutrients: Vitamin A and C are no longer required since deficiencies in these vitamins has become rare in America. However, Vitamin D and Potassium have been added because most Americans don’t get enough of these nutrients. In fact, it is important to eat foods high potassium as it counteracts the sodium consumed.

Ingredients list: Although this feature has not been changed, the ingredients listed are based on the amount added. For example, high fructose corn syrup is the first ingredient on the list, it means it is the ingredient that was added the most to this food product (and you should probably stay away from it).

All of the following tips will help you make better, healthier decisions on the foods you choose to eat. Remember to keep in mind about the basics: eat less saturated fats,  minimize frozen foods and/or other foods containing high sodium, and also eat less foods with added sugars or containing large amounts of high fructose syrup. So next time you go grocery shopping, pick the foods that’ll get you closer to optimal health!

by Yvette Quantz and Kevin Vasquez

Check out the Family Nutrition Workbook for help making healthy decisions with your whole family!


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