Most pre-packed foods have a nutrition label on the packaging, so that you know what you’re putting in your body, and to help you get a balanced diet. These labels provide nutritional information per 100g and per portion, for energy (kilocalories), carbohydrate, protein and fat. Things to look out for, include:
- Reference Intakes (RI) – These are the guidelines for the recommended maximum daily intake of kilocalories, saturates, sugars, salt and fat. Food labels show these in a traffic light system, colour coding each nutrient and showing how much your food contributes to your recommended daily intake. For healthier choices, avoid red lights and pick options with more greens.
- Portion size – When you’re using food labels to inform your diet, it will only work if you pay attention to the portion sizes that are stated on the label. If you have double the portion, remember to double the amount of fat etc.
- Focus on the nutrients that can effect your health – Try counting your daily intake of salt and saturated fat, as you may be eating more than you think.
- The three Cs – Get into a routine where you CHECK what your food contains, COMPARE it with similar products, and CHOOSE the healthiest option.
It’s easy to overlook the ingredients of pre-packed foods, but staying on top of everything that goes into your body will help you get into peak condition and avoid illness. The more precise you can be, the better.