Understand food labels

With so many foods available, it is not always easy to make the healthiest choices. A food label helps but also can be confusing.

Sample Food Label


Here are some terms
you need to know:

Serving size: Amount suggested by food manufacturer.

Calories: Amount in one serving.

Percent Daily Value (DV): Refers to nutrients in one serving and provides percentage of amount needed in one day. Use the DV to find most nutritious foods, but you don’t have to reach 100% with your selections.

Total fat, saturated fat and monounsaturated polyunsaturated fat: These are measured in grams. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated are healthier fats, but all fat is high in calories. For good health and weight control, limit your intake of fat, especially saturated fat.

Cholesterol: Found in animal sources of food; it is not in plant foods.

Sodium: Choose food with the lowest amount. Look for “no salt added” on front of label.

Carbohydrates: Choose healthy carbs but limit total intake.

  • Healthy carbs are found in 100% whole grains.
  • Unhealthy carbs come from refined grains, such as white flour, white rice and various sugars.

Ingredients: The ingredients listed first are in the largest amounts.