How to Read Nutritional Labels

Nutrition Labels Revealed

Eat smart with these 7 pointers:

If you are like most people then you probably glance at the Nutrition Facts label on foods once in a while. Maybe you check for the number of calories or fat grams that an item contains, or maybe you are watching something specific – like your sodium intake.

Whatever the case, it has been proven that those who pay attention to the Nutrition Facts label end up eating healthier.

The more familiar you are with the Nutritional Facts label, the more likely you will be fit and healthy.

Each Nutritional Facts label has been designed to quickly and efficiently give you all of the important facts about a food item. You just need to know what you are looking for. Read on as we break down the Nutritional Facts label into 7 important facts.

Fact #1: Serving Size
This small detail skews the entire label if you don’t read it closely. An item may seem like it is only one serving, but the Nutritional Facts label will consider it to be 2 or 3 servings. If the label says 100 calories, but there are actually 3 servings, then you are getting a total of 300 calories. Pay close attention to what makes a serving.

Fact #2: Calories
Most people don’t have the time to count every calorie that they put in their mouth – this is understandable. However, you probably have a pretty good idea about the amount of food that you eat each day. When you approach a new item, read the calorie totals on the Nutritional Facts label, and factor the new calories into your daily intake. Steer clear of high calorie items – especially in the form of snack foods.

Fact #3: Fat
By now you have undoubtedly heard that all fats were not created equal. Here is a quick 1-2-3 breakdown.

  1. Limit your intake of Saturated Fats – this deadly fat contributes to heart disease.
  2. Avoid Trans Fats at all costs – not only does it contribute to heart disease, it also raises LDL cholesterol (the bad one).
  3. Focus on eating monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats – these don’t raise LDL cholesterol and can even help lower blood cholesterol.

As you decide what food to include in your diet, keep your eye on the type and amount of fat included in each item. Remember, all fats were not created equal.

Fact #4: Carbohydrate
Though zero carb diets are losing their momentum, you may have been influenced by the idea that all carbohydrates will make you fat. That is simply not true. It is true, however that some carbohydrates are healthier than others. In fact, medical experts think that excess consumption of refined carbohydrates (such as soda pop, white rice, and white flour) are one of the reasons behind the rise of obesity we see today.

Choose fibrous, complex carbohydrates over sugary, simple carbohydrates.

Fact #5: Protein
The fact stands that most of us are getting plenty of protein in our diet. The problem arises when we examine the source of this protein. Meats and dairy products that are high full of fat may be filled with protein, but they aren’t the healthiest form of protein. Choose protein from lean meats, dry beans, poultry, and low fat/fat free dairy products.

Fact #6: The Good Stuff
Directly beneath the protein count on the Nutritional Facts label you will see the percent daily value of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron that the food item contains. These numbers are easily overlooked, but hold great importance to your overall health. The more nutrient-rich food items provide you with the greatest benefit per calorie. Compare food brands and choose the most nutrient-rich option.

Fact #7: Evaluate Your Lifestyle
Now that you understand the Nutritional Facts label on your food, you may still have questions about how to change your fitness level. Eating right is just one part of the equation in your quest for a healthy, fit body. Exercise is vastly important as well, and happens to be my specialty. If you have questions about how you can get into the best shape of your life, please contact me today. Call or email me today to get started on an exercise program that will greatly improve the way you look and feel.

Never say Never!

Just because you want to be fit doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy life! Have a slice of birthday cake and treat yourself to a burger every now and then. When you deny yourself ALL of life’s indulgences you will set yourself up for weight 1oss failure. But be smart: have a small piece of the cake and forego fries with that burger!

Healthy Fish Fingers

Fish

Who doesn’t love the crispy satisfaction of fish sticks? The problem lies in the fact that fish sticks are typically fried…resulting in more fat than you’d care to know. These Healthy Fish Fingers solve the dilemma by baking instead of frying. It’s a great alternative for the family dinner table. The crunchy texture and herby taste will leave a smile on your face long after your plate is empty.
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound cod fillets, partially thawed
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup 1% buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Instructions:

  1. Cut fillets into 3/4-inch strips; set aside. In a shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley, lemon peel, paprika, thyme and garlic salt. Place buttermilk in another shallow bowl and flour in a third bowl.
  2. Coat fish strips with flour; dip into buttermilk, then coat with crumb mixture. Place on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Let stand for 2 minutes before removing from baking sheet.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals 217 calories, 3g fat, 21g carbohydrate, & 25g protein.

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