Learn to read a label like a pro.

As I have mentioned many times one of the skills I learned to help me in my food choices and in my journey to be healthy is reading nutrition labels.  I kind of knew how to read them, but to be honest didn’t really ever bother.  At least I thought I knew how to read them…

First I want you to go to your kitchen or pantry and find a packaged food.  If you have macaroni and cheese pick that one, seriously as you read it you will be surprised.  First check the serving or portion size for that box/bag.  Surprised yet?  If you did the mac and cheese you will see that most boxes make 2 servings.  I was shocked when I actually paid attention to that and when I measured out the little over a cup in their serving, it took up the whole plate.  Again I was surprised at this fact and really started to think about my portions there, but back to the labels.  Really when you pull that label out of whatever it is that you are eating it’s good to take a look at the label for following items:

  • Serving sizes per the package (toaster pastry 2 servings in one sleeve for instance)
  • Calories- don’t eat half your days worth in one setting (again with something like mac and cheese it’s typically 260 calories a serving)
  • Fat- look at the types of fat in particular- you want to avoid the trans fats
  • Sodium- we need very little added sodium because of the fact that so many prepackaged foods have added sodium (CDC recommends an upper level of no more than 2,300 mg a day this is 1 teaspoon)
  • Fiber- really need to have 3g of fiber if not more, most adults don’t get the recommended amounts here either (if your bread has less than a 1g, what are you really eating?)
  • Protein- it’s good to have at least some protein in your foods, some won’t really because of what they are and if they don’t then you need to add some to your meal

In general one of my nutritionist friends says if it is low fat, it’s probably high sugar and high sodium.  If any one of these is low look for the others to be high.

Now that I am looking more seriously at clean eating I am also looking at the ingredient labels.  I must say there are a lot of words out there for sugar and many words that I can’t pronounce on the labels I have been looking at.  Just some “food” for thought about your food; if you want a little more direction I found a nice tutorial about reading labels on the American Heart Association website.

On another note, I made those quinoa protein bars and they are in the fridge setting up as we speak (type).  They tasted good when I had to lick my fingers clean (relax I washed them and didn’t cross contaminate).  It was pretty easy really and took about 20 minutes all together.  I used this recipe from SkinnyMs to make them, I omitted the chocolate, but left the honey in and it seems to have worked fine.  They don’t look pretty (translation it looks kind of like poo), but again I thought it tasted pretty good and they should come in handy for my long day tomorrow, Friday, and after workouts this weekend.

Tomorrow’s my off night so I will see you all on Wednesday!  By the way, I dare you to look up your favorite fast food item and read the nutrition on it.  Post it on here when you do, I am sure you will find some things about it that you did not expect.


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