How to Read Labels and Make Calories Count

How to Read Labels and Make Calories Count


Minnesota WIC Program

Use Nutrition Facts for Healthy Eating

Nutrition Label

1. Pay attention to the serving size and how many servings there are in the food package. Calories and the other nutrition information given are for one serving, but many packages contain more.

2. Lower is better for saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.Eating too much of these can lead to health problems.

3. Look for grain products with at least 2 grams of fiber per serving and "whole" grain listed first in the ingredient list. Sugars include both natural and added sugar. Other names for added sugars are corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, dextrose, sucrose, honey and maple syrup.

4. The % Daily Value (DV) shows if a food is high or low in the nutrient listed.

  • Look for a low % for items like cholesterol, sodium and sugars.
  • Look for a high % for vitamins and minerals.

5. The ingredient list (not shown here) starts with the ingredient present in the the highest amount.

  • Each ingredient is listed in order of the amount added, from highest to lowest.
  • Foods that are the least processed usually have shorter ingredient lists.

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