Reading Nutrition Labels

Reading nutrition labels helps you to know what is in your foods and if you are choosing the healthiest option.

We have made reading nutrition labels easy in 4 quick steps


Step 1: Servings

  • The serving size shows how big or how much is in a serving (All percentages are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, which corresponds to an ACTIVE ADULT)
  • Servings per container are how many of those servings are in the whole package/container.
  • Example: Serving size- 1 cup, Servings per container- 2
  • That means there are 2 cups in the entire package.
  • This means that if you eat more than one serving you will have to multiply the amount of calories, sugars, etc. per how many servings you eat.

Step 2: Limit sodium, be wary of fat and cholesterol

  • Sodium is salt and we want to limit that in our diet
  • We want to eat foods that are low in fat, saturated fats and cholesterol
    • These can lead to unhealthy weight gain and are unhealthy to consume in large amounts
    • Look for foods that have a percentage that is less than 5% or close to that
    • Any food that has a percentage that is 20%  or higher is a very high fat food and should be avoided

Limit added sugar

  • Limit added sugar to 5-10% of your daily caloric intake.
  • We are not counting sugar found in plain milk, fruits, or vegetables; all of which have natural sugars that are needed for your body
  • Notice that fruits and vegetables do not come with a nutrition label!
  • Keep total daily sugar intake to less than 25g or 6 teaspoons
    • Example: a typical non-diet soda has 40 grams of sugar- that’s enough sugar for 2 days!
  • Eating less sugar reduces your risk of becoming overweight, obesity, tooth decay, and other illnesses associated with these diseases, like diabetes.

Step 3: Fiber, Vitamins, and Minerals

  • These are the good things in food that keep us healthy and strong
  • Look for foods that have higher than 5% and have numbers that are close to 20%

Step 4: Ingredients

  • Ingredients are listed by weight or the amount of the ingredient that is in the product
  • The items that are in the product the most are listed first
  • Look out for things like corn syrup, sugar, salt and other unhealthy ingredients to be among the first things listed.
  • Remember; if you can’t pronounce it, you might not want to put it in your body!