My Intuitive Eating Journey

Close to a year ago I learned about Health at Every Size (HAES) in my nutrition class. After doing some more research on the topic I came across intuitive eating. Everything about it resonated with me. It fit in perfectly with the holistic health and self-love approach I was starting to take on. After reading the book, Intuitive Eating: a Revolutionary Program that Works, I started to practice the principles. I slowly let go of dieting methods (i.e. fat burners and cutting carbs) and allowed myself to enjoy more foods that I liked.

For the majority of the year I loved it. But when summer rolled around I started to doubt what I was doing. I began to compare myself to myself. Looking at pictures and reminiscing about my dieting days when I was 15 lbs. lighter.

On top of that, I overate during my birthday weekend and did not exactly eat intuitively. So in sum, I was not feeling good about myself and instead of looking to the first principle of intuitive eating (reject the diet mentality) I went on a diet.

At the time, starting the whole 30 challenge seemed like the perfect way to naturally detox my body since I was committed to living a cleaner and holistic lifestyle. But in all honesty I wanted to lose weight. I continued to fool myself and not even listen to my own advice by restricting my diet. Only eating foods free of added sugars, chemicals, and all things processed.

During the challenge I was reading the book that coincides with the program (It Starts with Food). I began to learn more about my body and how it reacts to certain foods and how the small meals and snacks I typically eat were likely impacting my blood sugar levels and energy.

Before the whole 30 I was eating about 5-6x a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks). During the challenge I began eating larger meals, with about 2 servings of protein and 2-3 servings of fat per meal. In my mind I was going to eat as much as I could to fill myself up because snacking was not encouraged. I totally overdid it and because I was depriving my body it latched onto the excess fat and calories I was feeding it in all the places I didn’t want it.

Telling you this is honestly embarrassing. But I feel like its necessary to share with you where I messed up so you can learn from my mistake! I played myself by pretending the whole 30 challenge wasn’t a diet when in fact it was.

Doing the challenge did help me realize I was overeating and that I’m totally a bored comfort eater. It also helped me become aware of how certain foods make my body feel. However, my weight gain and the huge blow to my self-confidence and trust (because I was dieting!)— was not worth it.

I felt like I was in a negative hole that I couldn’t seem to get out of for a few weeks. I was trying to process everything and also accept that I’m not a perfect person. I’m going to make mistakes. That’s how you learn.

If I didn’t go through what I did, I wouldn’t have learned the massive impact of this lesson. I’m proof to myself that diets DO NOT work and they WILL make you gain weight.

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In order to move forward I’m starting all over and getting back to basics. Giving my body and myself the fresh start it deserves. I’m committing to honestly living and eating intuitively.

I created a blog @theintuitiveeatingproject for my nutrition class not only to help teens and adults learn how to eat intuitively but also to re-learn the principles and educate myself so I can become a true intuitive eater.

 

How to Decide if a Health Habit is Right for You

Since I started my master’s program in nutrition I’ve been the go to food person for my friends and family. I absolutely love when people pick my brain about health and I geek out on anything nutrition related. I usually get asked questions about weight loss, how to increase energy, or my opinion on certain diets. Aside from the usual, I’ve noticed a new question pop up more than before—what health information should I trust?

I created this post to address that question and help you. Because if my friends and family have questioned what to believe when it comes to health, I’m sure you have to!

SEARCH FOR RELIABLE INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET

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There is an insanely overwhelming amount of information on the Internet regarding health and nutrition. How do you weed through what’s right? You go on one site and their talking about the amazing health benefits of coconut oil and then you go on another and you find the opposite! Unfortunately, there is always going to be contradicting information but I’m going to give you a few pieces of advice that will help you buffer the online noise.

Whenever I jump on the Internet my go to is the Google search bar. It’s an amazing creation but remember that the information on the Internet is not always true or evidence based! Evidence based research is the gold standard when it comes to searching for information online. The government and health professionals use research studies to draw information and thereafter make a conclusion surrounding a health/nutrition claim. The information you can find from reliable sources (i.e. government health websites) usually summarize evidence based research, which is featured on their website page.

Basically, when you’re searching for information online look for evidence based research! Going directly to an online source (i.e. PubMed) to find articles and drawing your own conclusion is the best way to decide if giving a new health habit a try is really worthwhile. When you read published research studies it puts you in charge of the context of the information. Because even sites that use scientific studies to support their claims, can fail mention the size of a study, length, funding, or potential bias, which would impact the reliability of the results.

If jumping on PubMed is something you could never see yourself doing then you need to pay attention to the source! Websites like .gov, .edu, and some. org sites are going to be your best bet when it comes to searching from health/nutrition information online. You might’ve noticed I left out .com sources (sorry not sorry!). There are tons of organizations and companies that have a .com domain. Even though a lot of them can seem pretty legit, if you can’t trace back where they sourced their information (some pages place a citation at the bottom of the page/article) than don’t consider it! As a nutrition student, I’ve learned the importance of obtaining information from reliable sources so I avoid .com sites altogether now.

The government always sources their information from evidence-based research. So when you can, look for .gov sites first. If you end up on an .edu (i.e. Cal Berkeley Nutrition) or .org (i.e. American Heart Association) site most will list the research study they used to source their information.

SEEK HELP FROM A PROFESSIONAL

If you have the opportunity to speak with nutrition professional I highly recommend it! But keep in mind, every nutrition professional is going to have their own opinion and take on nutrition information. Find out what their background and experience is by asking them or looking up their credentials/certifications on their website.

YOUR BODY IS THE BEST JUDGE

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It’s always a good idea to get your information from reliable sources and professionals. But your body is really the BEST judge! For example, maybe you want to increase your energy in the morning and throughout your day so you do some research and find out that adding healthy sources of fat to your diet could help. Let’s say you talked with a nutrition professional that warned you too much fat is not a good thing but when you did your own research (from evidence based studies or books) you realized the benefits of fat far outweigh potential “harm”. Nonetheless, you decide to give it a try by adding at least two servings of healthy sources of fat to each meal like MCT oil, avocado, nuts, and nut butters. By the end of the first week you’re wondering why you didn’t give this a try sooner! You’ve eliminated brain fog, increased your mental clarity, and feel full longer. Because of the positive improvements you’ve noticed in your health, you’ve decided that adding more fat to your diet is good for you.

Our bodies were created to protect us from harm, especially with the foods we eat. If you stop and pay attention to how your body feels (i.e. energetic, sluggish, heavy, full) after eating a particular food, you can begin to make better health choices overall.

If there is one takeaway I’ve learned throughout my nutrition program and life in general, it’s that everyone is different. Because of our differences a personalized approach is needed. There is no such thing as one size fits all approach when it comes to nutrition. This doesn’t just apply to nutrition but also other elements of life like therapy, physical fitness, family life, a church community, relationships, etc.

STOP THE COMPARISON GAME

When we stop comparing ourselves to other people, accept that we are uniquely made, and embrace our differences, than we can start to figure out what is good for us! The best part about trying different health habits and foods is that you’ll see what works and what doesn’t– simply by how you feel.

Okay, so let me break it down for you! Here are 3 things you need to do when deciding to try a new health habit

  • Search for information about the topic from reliable sources (i.e. evidence based research studies, books, or .gov websites)
  • Speak with a professional to get their opinion
  • Try it out yourself. Pay attention to how you body feels. If you notice positive improvements move forward and implement this new habit/food into your daily routine. If you notice negative side effects than don’t do it!

Coconut Pancakes

I can’t believe it’s almost been two weeks since I ended my whole 30 journey. Even though I had a great experience, I knew exactly what non-whole 30 meal I was going to enjoy first. If you really know me, you know that I’m a lover of pancakes. Not French toast. Pancakes. Seriously though, how can you go wrong with buttered hot cakes with syrup and fruit?! I could go on about why pancakes trump French toast any day but I’ll save that for another post.

Anyways, I thought it would be a good idea to ease my way back into eating foods I avoided, so I decided to look up Paleo pancakes and realized that the majority of them used coconut flour. I came across a few variations of recipes and put my own twist on this one here.

Before making these I was a little nervous because I’ve never made pancakes from scratch but seeing how quick and easy it was I’m going to be making a lot more homemade cakes!

P.S. If you’re a fan of coconut you’re going to love these!

Ingredients (makes about 6 cakes)

 4 eggs

¼ cup of coconut milk

3 tbsp. of melted coconut oil

¼ cup of coconut flour

¼ tsp. of baking powder

¼ tsp. of sea salt

1 tsp. of vanilla extract

Fresh strawberries, blueberries, and coconut flakes for topping


1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until completely blended without lumps

2. Use ghee or olive oil to grease your skillet

3. Pour the batter on the skillet into small circles (about 3-4 inches)

4. Let the cakes cook until you see little air bubbles then flip to the other side

5. Top with fresh fruit, coconut flakes, peanut butter, and honey!

My Honest Review of the Whole 30

Four weeks ago I made the decision to try the whole 30. You might think I’m a crazy person for cutting out added sugar and processed foods from my diet for 30 days. You might also think it’s impossible—especially with the world we live in. But it’s not. It is challenging but so worth it. Taking on the whole 30 has helped me grow as nutrition professional and realize the importance of making your own assessment when it comes to research and what is typically recommended by the government and other big names in nutrition.

This may be a controversial topic for those of you studying nutrition or already in the field practicing, but hear me out… yeah?

If you’re not familiar with what the whole 30 is, let me acquaint you. It’s a 30-day commitment to eating real whole foods. No processed foods, added sugars, alcohol, legumes, grains, or dairy.

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably seen some of my anti-diet posts. When I started learning about the intuitive eating approach last year in my nutrition program I embraced the concept that truly living a healthy lifestyle meant eating balanced void of dieting. I’ve dieted in the past by cutting out food groups, using diet pills, fat burners, you name it—all for the sake of looking good while feeling miserable. So when I stumbled upon intuitive eating I finally felt free from dieting and at home with an approach that I  believed in 100%. With my anti-diet mindset and belief that the whole 30 was a diet, I continued to over look it and use it as one of my excuses to not try it.

Before jumping into the whole 30 I had to change my perception and also learn the purpose behind it. It was not created for weight loss like most diets are (but for some people that’s one of its natural benefits). The whole 30 is a nutrition plan created to help people live free of disease and health issues that have plagued our society like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, to acne and allergies just to name a few (they have an A-Z list of different testimonies on the whole30 website!)

I was interested in the whole 30 mainly because I wanted to change the way I was eating. I realized I usually stick to the same foods and recipes and was honestly getting bored. On top of all that, I wanted to kick my health up a notch, minimize my caffeine dependency, and naturally detox. So needless to say, I started to slowly change my mind. Because when did eating natural whole food, the way nature intended—become classified as a diet?

Once I got past that mental roadblock and decided to give it a go, I started learning the nitty gritty science about why foods like whole grains, peanuts, and dairy aren’t allowed and what they do to our body. The book, “It Starts with Food,” helped me connect the dots and understand the program. If you’re thinking about starting the whole 30 or maybe you’re a nutrition professional with your own doubts about it—read the book and from there decide how you want to take the information laid out for you.

As a nutrition student, this book has seriously changed my perception on the dietary food groups we eat. Another reason why I was anti-whole 30 was because it didn’t allow certain carbs. Especially the ones I’ve learned to be so beneficial to the body like quinoa, brown rice, and other whole grains. How could healthy whole grain carbs not be allowed? But like I mentioned, the book breaks it down so you understand why your beloved cereal or toast are not going to journey with you for the next 30 days.

So without whole grain carbs and my favorite morning staple, oatmeal, I had to find other alternatives. My carbs now come in the form of sweet potatoes, red potatoes, or fruit. My plate is always full of protein like beef, chicken, or pork, vegetables, and at least 2 servings of fat in the form of oil, ghee, nuts, avocado, or almond butter.

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From an intuitive eating standpoint, committing to the whole 30 has helped me assess how certain foods make my body feel while also being able to embrace balance. Most of us have grown up eating processed foods and even the “healthier” food options we’ve been told to eat like low-fat yogurt, instant oatmeal, or veggie patties are still processed! So in reality, I don’t think most of us can say that we know how our bodies feel or function without certain foods if we’ve never eliminated them from our diet.

That’s why I now believe that if your going to embrace the intuitive eating approach its also a great idea to start with the whole 30 challenge and then go from there. Aside from providing my body with true nourishment, I learned that I’ve been doing a lot of eating based on comfort and habit versus actual hunger. Undergoing the whole 30 has helped me become more in tune with certain foods and my body than ever before, which I love.

Another benefit I’ve reaped from the whole 30 is more sustained energy throughout my day. Eating whole foods like vegetables, fruit, and way more fat and meat than I typically have, has helped me get rid of the dreaded afternoon slump. Lastly, I realized that as much as I like to promote balanced eating there were a lot of foods that I would barely touch because of the dietary guidelines outlined from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Because of the whole 30 I did my own digging on fat and don’t necessarily believe it’s the culprit behind the health problems we face as a society as much as processed foods and added sugars are.

Thanks for hanging in there, I know this was a long one! But I hope you can take what I’ve learned, give it a try, and from there make your assessment and decide how you want to fuel your body. If you’re still not convinced here are my top reasons why you should consider…

1) You’ll be able to detox your body naturally

Real talk— as healthy as I strive to be, taking on the whole 30 made me realize that a good portion of the foods I was eating are processed. On top of that, I have a sweet tooth like nobody’s business and I wasn’t exactly feeding my body optimally. I realized my favorite type of added sugar (aside from cookies and ice cream) was mixed with caffeine in the form of a pre-workout, latte, or energy drink.

One way I was able to cut back on caffeine was by adding fat to coffee (1 tbsp. of ghee and 1 tbsp. of MCT oil). Full disclosure— I was against this in the past but after trying it for myself and realizing a huge difference (I’m not kidding–seriously night and day) this may be a helpful solution for you too.

2) You’ll become more in tune with your body and realize how certain foods make you feel

After the 30 days are over you decide how you want to nourish your body. You’ll slowly integrate the avoided foods back into your diet to see how you feel.

 3) You get a chance to cook new, yummy, and fresh food weekly

You kinda have to because whole foods don’t have a shelf life like the processed stuff we’re used to!

 4) You’ll gain a new outlook on food and nutrition

 5) If you’re still not convinced by this point, reading “It Starts with Food,” will help you make up your mind

In reality, the whole 30 is only 30 days and after learning about the science behind the program tied in with the real life testimonials, I’d be surprised if you didn’t want to give it a go!

 

 

Attitude of Gratitude

Gratitude is a beautiful thing. It can put life into perspective, act as an expression of love, and also raise your vibe. Before watching the documentary “The Secret,” I had no idea how the energy I was putting out into the world had become a direct reflection of my life. I considered myself grateful but my attitude said otherwise. I would complain often (about my life and other people) and always look at the glass half empty. Because of my attitude and ungratefulness, I continued to attract more negativity into my life in the form of self-doubt, negative relationships, and unhealthy behaviors.

In the past I viewed gratitude as a form of manners. Saying thank you is the easiest way we can express gratitude but actually feeling and acting grateful is what I’m going to talk about. When I started to feel grateful for the little things and made the effort to practice gratitude daily, my negative outlook slowly started shifting to a more positive and loving one. When we stop to think of the blessings in our life we can start to feel love. What’s worked for me is being very specific and allowing myself to feel.

For example, when I open my eyes I realize how it feels to wake up in a warm bed. I feel cozy, protected, and safe in my home. Why is that a blessing or something to feel good about? There are so many people in this world who wake up without a roof over their head, without the feeling of safety or protection. When we use this technique with the little things in life (i.e. your job, food in the fridge, loving friends/family) we can start to actually feel grateful and realize how amazing our lives are right at this moment.

Expressing gratitude is also another way you can raise your vibe, especially if you’re feeling negative. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, stop for a moment and reset. In those moments of negativity think of at least one thing you can be grateful for. It may be hard to find, but there is always something! One thing I remind myself of that I often take for granted is my ability to breathe. My breath signifies my life. Without it I would not be here. As hard as things can be, we have a chance to make them better and without air in our lungs to breathe, it’s not possible!

Although negativity can take root from certain situations I’ve noticed the society we live in can chip away at gratitude. We’re told that happiness and contentment is found in having more money, things, friends, clothes, etc. Which can make us feel like our lives and this present moment are not enough. To avoid being sucked into that lie I keep myself aligned with an attitude of gratitude with a couple different habits. These habits have helped me stay grounded and become a more positive person. I’m hopeful they will help you too!

Gratitude journal

Purchase a journal that you will specifically use to write out what you’re grateful for. Everyday write a minimum of 3 things you’re grateful for. I usually do this first thing in the morning but you can do this anytime during the day or as a reflection before you go to bed.

Gratitude jar

Write down specific life events or things that you truly have felt grateful for. You can also write 3 things out and put them in your jar instead of a journal. When you’re having a bad day you can grab a note from the jar to help you put things back into perspective.

Gratitude prayer

Praying to God and thanking him every morning for your day is one easy way to express gratitude. If you already do this I encourage you to start thanking God for the little things throughout your day too! Whether it’s for a yummy meal, a hangout with your best friend, being able to purchase a book, or having a car to drive. Constantly thanking God not only expresses gratitude but will help you build a stronger relationship with him by including him more throughout your day.

Gratitude through service

One of my favorite ways of expressing gratitude is giving back and helping others. Get involved and volunteer! When we help others it gives us a sense of purpose and allows us to puts someone else’s needs before our own. Pick an organization or cause you can stand behind, contact them and select a date to get involved. If you can make volunteering part of your weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly routine please do! Choosing to volunteer is an incredible choice that will allow you to make a positive impact and contribute to something bigger than yourself.

Random act of gratitude

Surprising a friend/family out of the blue with a gift is another one of my favorites. Maybe it looks like buying your mom flowers, your friend tickets to an event, or showing up to the office with coffee. Those unexpected little things can make someone’s day!

Meal Prep 101

If you want more energy, less brain fog, or to feel better about your body and health overall, eating healthy is KEY.

When I started eating healthy I not only felt better but I slowly gained confidence in myself, which helped me improve other areas of my life!

Learning how to cook and eat healthy eventually led me to the habit of meal prepping weekly. Picking out a few healthy recipes, followed by grocery shopping, and then setting a designated time and day to cook my meals for the week, helps me stay on track with healthy eating and also save money in the process. Win, win right?

If I don’t have anything at home that’s ready to eat and healthy, I’m more likely to purchase something on the go. I’ve had my fair share of off weeks (and that’s okay—we’re only human). But, when that happens I usually end up spending more money on food than I like and get a little off track with my eating.

I completely understand how overwhelming it can be to start something new, like healthy eating and meal prepping. So, to make this whole meal prep thing a little easier for you I have a few of my key tips and foods to prep in bulk, which will give you more options during the week!

KEY TIPS

  1. Pick 2-3 recipes. I typically pick lunch/dinner recipes to interchange throughout the week. P.S. If picking out a few recipes is a little much for you, you can start with 1 recipe. I also have a list of some items below you can bulk prep and easily pair together.
  2. Get your family and friends in on the prep. Invite your significant other, roommate, sister, friend (or whoever’s willing!) to help you by asking them to make 1 recipe. This leaves you with 1 less recipe to prep plus extra hands to speed up the process. Getting your family and friends involved might inspire them to make healthier choices too!
  3. Pick 2-3 snacks. My go to snacks are raw veggies like carrots, celery, bell peppers, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes. You can pair veggies with raw nuts, whole grain crackers, whole grain toast with peanut butter, string cheese, hummus, or a hardboiled egg.
  4. Pick a day and time to prep. Give yourself at least 2 hours to cook all your meals and prep them in containers. Make sure you clear out your fridge so you have enough space to fit all your meals.
  5. Place your cooked food in individual containers. Even though this will take up a lot of space in your fridge, it will be easier for you to grab when picking out your lunch and snacks for the day ahead! On top of that, when I have something ready to grab and warm up in seconds, this leaves no room for excuses or the temptation to go out and buy food.

LOW COST BULK PREP  

  1. Oatmeal is my breakfast essential. It’ll help you kick start your morning with sustained energy. Prepare overnight oats in mason jars or cook whole rolled oats/steel cut oats. Check out my article, Morning Routine Hack + 3 Breakfast Recipes (perfect on the go!), to get your hands on my fav oat recipes! To save even more time, place your cooked oatmeal in individual containers to eat at work or place your cooked oatmeal in 1 large container, then separate it in the morning to reheat.
  2. Beans. Pinto and black beans are packed with protein and fiber. Fiber found in beans help you stay full longer. If you want to skip out on prep altogether you can purchase canned beans. Place them in one large container to separate with your meal or pre-pack them with your lunch/dinner entrees (i.e. beans with baked chicken and brown rice)
  3. Quinoa or Brown Rice. These are easy and healthy carbs to make, which you can pair with baked chicken, beans, veggies, or tofu.
  4. Raw and Steamed Veggies. Purchasing frozen vegetables and steaming them is one way to have a serving of veggies ready to pair with protein for lunch or dinner. Raw veggies (examples in the “key tips” above) are not only an easy snack option but also a yummy addition to a salad. If I have some extra time on my hands during the week I’ll sauté the raw vegetables to spruce up scrambled eggs in the morning or any other protein dish.

Learning How to Eat Guilt Free

Learning how to enjoy my food without guilt has been an ongoing process, especially this past year. I think most women can relate to the negative thoughts that come rushing in before, during, or after eating an unhealthy food, which is not a coincidence.

Let me explain…

Unhealthy foods are often called “bad” or considered a “cheat”. These negative words have been related to your favorite unhealthy foods like pizza, ice cream, or cake. The words used to describe unhealthy foods uphold a negative context, which loads on more guilt (and other negative feelings).

So we’ve grown up associating certain foods as bad. And what do we do when someone tells us something is bad, food related or not? We automatically feel guilt or shame.

Hearing a comment like, “Just enjoy it now, and run it off later” plays into the negativity. Obviously there’s no harm meant from that type of statement but in reality, it lays on the guilt even more. And honestly, it’s completely normal and healthy if you don’t want to run it off and just enjoy your food.

It’s one step in the right direction to be aware of the negative comments acquaintances, friends, family, or even yourself, may make related to food. Working through and pushing away the negative thoughts is still something I have to be consciously aware of. I’ve had some pretty illegitimate thoughts that were based around the fear that tacos for dinner were going to add a little more chub to my cheeks or plump to my belly.

If you can relate here are 2 steps you can take to drown out the negative voice inside your head…

1) Fight back negative thoughts with these phrases

“So what” or “who cares?”

For example, “I eat healthy the majority of the time and I’m going to enjoy this food, so what?”

Because the negativity that mainly involves my unhealthy eating can be superficial, I like to remind myself that in reality, it’s not the end of the world and I’m not going to gain 5 pounds by enjoying an unhealthy food.

2) Use this quote by John Mayer

“If you’re pretty, you’re pretty; but the only way to be beautiful is to be loving. Otherwise it’s just ‘congratulations about your face’”

That quote puts a smile on my face and is another reality check to my sometimes-bogus thought process. It reminds me that my superficial fears are just that, SUPERFICIAL. True beauty and value comes from within.

So to sum it all up, live a little and enjoy that cookie, ice cream, or whatever your jam is! I promise you, eating it will not be an end all to your health goals. Anything in excess can be harmful to your health. But that’s where the beauty of balance comes in, which is something we can all benefit from in every aspect of our lives.

Also, keep in mind, that getting rid of the bad food mentality is a process. You’re taking years of negative reinforcement from yourself and society and replacing it with positivity. One step at a time, one day at a time, but in the meantime, enjoy your food!

How to Label your Life Healthy

Learning how to read a food label can be a helpful tool, especially for college women. When you buy convenience food on the go, which can be high in sugar, fat, and sodium, you can use your food label knowledge to make healthier choices. The healthy choices you make today will add up over time and positively impact your health.

So what does research have to say?

  • Label users diets are lower in cholesterol and fat and higher in vegetables and fruit.1
  • Label users have a positive outlook and more nutrition knowledge of the relationship between diet and disease.1
  • College women used food labels more then men but they did not always use their food label knowledge to benefit their health.

Navigating the Internet full of contradictory heath information can be overwhelming. To lessen your confusion there is a list of key points (from reliable sources!) to help familiarize you with the back of a food label. When you know what is in your food, the questions to ask, and how to lead a healthy lifestyle you will gain confidence. Your newfound confidence will help you take control of your health and make healthier food choices. Are you ready to learn the basics of reading food labels? If so, let’s get started!

1. Serving size2

  • Servings per Container (i.e. 8 cups) will list the amount of servings in the package
  • Serving Size is the amount per 1 serving (i.e. 2 cups, 1 teaspoon, 2 tbsp.

2. Calories2

  • Calories is the amount per 1 serving

3. Percent (%) Daily Value2,3

  • On the right hand side of a label you will see the % Daily Value (DV), which is the percent of each nutrient (i.e., vitamin A, carbohydrates) in a single serving.
  • % DV also adds to your daily diet total.
  • Keep in mind that extra amounts of salt, sugar, and saturated fat can be harmful to your health.
  • 5% DV is low and 20% DV or more is high.
  • 20% DV or more is good from a nutrient like fiber but not from saturated fat, salt, or sugar.

4. Ingredients and Sugar3,4

  • On the bottom of a food label you will see an ingredient list.
  • Names of sugars end in –OSE.
  • Other names for sugar are sucrose, syrup, brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, sucralose, fruit juice concentrates, high fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, maltose, lactose, malt syrup, raw sugar, and molasses.
  • It’s recommended women have no more then 25g of sugar daily (however less is better!)

 

References

  1. Misra R, PhD. Knowledge, Attitudes, and Label Use among College Students. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2007;107:2130-2134
  2. Using the Nutrients Facts Label: A how to guide for older adults. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Website. https://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm267499.htm. Accessed April 5, 2018.
  3. Fats, Added Sugars, and Salts. Department of Health and Human Services Website. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/healthieryou/html/chapter8.html. Accessed April 4, 2018.
  4. Added Sugars. American Heart Association Website. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Added-Sugars_UCM_305858_Article.jsp. April 6, 2018.