Tackling the Nutrition Facts Table

Sometimes people feel overwhelmed when trying to decide which product is better for them than another. I think the most overwhelming of them all would be the cereal aisle. I often get questions about which cereal is best. The key to this answer is knowing how to read those Nutrition Facts tables that some people dread so much. This facts table can give you all the information your need to decide on which cereal is best. Use the amount of food and the % Daily Value (% DV) to choose healthier food products.

Follow these three steps:

1. Look at the amount of food
Nutrition Facts are based on a specific amount of food. Compare this to the amount you actually eat. This can be a tricky one as some labels will list 1/2 cup of cereal for example an likely we are all eating up to about a cup. This of coarse will force us to do some math in our heads to figure out the actual values.

2. Read the % DV
The % DV helps you see if a specific amount of food has a little or a lot of a nutrient. fact-fiche-choose-eng

**Rule of thumb: 5% DV or less is a little 15% DV or more is a lot.

3. Choose
Make a better choice for you. Here are some nutrients you may want…

less of                                              more of 
Fat                                                        Fibre
Saturated and trans fats                  Iron
Sodium                                                Vitamins & Calcium
For cereals in particular remember the rule 5% DV or less is little 15% DV or more is a lot. Looking for high fibre content in cereal is key!

For more information check out Health Canada website for Nutrition Fact info:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/label-etiquet/nutrition/cons/fact-fiche-eng.php

Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.

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