NUTRITION LABELS: FACTS AND FICTION

NutritionFactsPanel

Start with the Serving Size

  • Look here for both the serving size (the amount for one serving) and the number of servings in the package.
  • Compare your portion size (the amount you actually eat) to the serving size listed on the panel. If the serving size is one cup and you eat two cups, you are getting twice the calories, fat and other nutrients listed on the label.

Check Out the Total Calories and Fat

  • Find out how many calories are in a single serving and the number of calories from fat. It’s smart to cut back on calories and fat if you are watching your weight.  Try to keep the calories from fat below a third of the total calories.

Let the Percent Daily Values Be Your Guide

Use percent Daily Values (DV) to help evaluate how a particular food fits into your daily meal plan:

  • Daily Values are average levels of nutrients for a person eating 2,000 calories a day. A food item with a 5 percent DV of fat provides 5 percent of the total fat that a person consuming 2,000 calories a day should eat.
  • Percent DV are for the entire day, not just one meal or snack
  • You may need more or less than 2,000 calories per day. For some nutrients you may need more or less than 100 percent DV.

The High and Low of Daily Values

  • 5 percent or less is low. Aim low in total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.
  • 20 percent or more is high. Aim high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Limit Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium

Eating less fat, cholesterol and sodium may help reduce your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.

  • Total fat includes saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fat.
  • Saturated fat and trans fat are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
  • High levels of sodium can add up to high blood pressure.
  • Remember to aim for low percentage DV of these nutrients.

Get Enough Vitamins, Minerals and Fiber

  • Eat more fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium and iron to maintain good health and help reduce your risk of certain health problems such as osteoporosis and anemia.
  • Choose more fruits and vegetables to get more of these nutrients.
  • Remember to aim high for percentage DV of these nutrients.

Additional Nutrients

You know about fat and calories, but it is important to also know the additional nutrients on the Nutrition Facts Panel.

  • Protein Most Americans eat more protein than they need, so a percentage Daily Value is not required on the label. Eat moderate portions of lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese, plus beans, peanut butter and nuts.
  • Carbohydrates There are three types of carbohydrates: sugars, starches and fiber. Eat whole-grain breads, cereals, rice and pasta plus fruits and vegetables.
  • Sugars Simple carbohydrates or sugars occur naturally in foods such as fruit juice (fructose) or come from refined sources such as table sugar (sucrose) or corn syrup.

Check the Ingredient List

Foods with more than one ingredient must have an ingredient list on the label. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Those in the largest amounts are listed first. This information is particularly helpful to individuals with food sensitivities such as soy, wheat, nuts, and shellfish.  It is also useful to help those who wish to limit added sugars, sulfites, color additives  or people who prefer vegetarian eating.

WATCH OUT FOR DECEIVING LABELS AS WELL

For example, this Broccoli Cheese Campbell’s condensed soup label only contains the Nutrition Facts for the condensed soup yet the directions call for the addition of a can of milk.  Even using skim milk, this effectively doubles the calories of the soup.  This is not stated ANYWHERE on the label!

And, this one is one of my favorites! Great Value No Stick Cooking Spray:  check out the serving size !  1/4 second spray?  Who knows what 1/4 second is and who could possibly coat a pan or casserole dish with that amount?  Don’t be fooled, you are adding some fat to your cooking by coating the pan or casserole dish!  I also know someone who buys the butter flavor no stick spray, gets lite popcorn and liberally sprays the popcorn thinking it has zero calories!

BE SURE TO READ YOUR NUTRITION LABELS BUT DON’T ALWAYS TAKE THEM AT FACE VALUE!

Adapted from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

SPICED CHICKEN AND BEAN SALAD

SPICED CHICKEN AND BEAN SALAD

2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 # chicken breasts/tenders
1 c frozen green beans
1 c frozen wax beans (if you can find them – what happened to these?)
1 c frozen lima beans
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, sliced
3 oz crumbled blue cheese
Ranch dressing

Combine oil and spices. Coat Chicken and grill 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine beans in microwave dish. Microwave until heated through. Prepare avocado. Cut up chicken and serve over salad with ranch dressing.

I ADDED BLACK BEANS TO THE SALAD AND GRILLED SOME HOMEMADE SWEET POTATO FRIES (USED THE SAME OIL AND SPICES) WITH THE CHICKEN! JUST DELICIOUS!

QUICK AND EASY FOR A WINTER COOK OUT! LOTS OF COLORS MEANS LOTS OF ANTIOXIDANTS AND CANCER FIGHTING.  YOU CAN USE A LOW FAT RANCH DRESSING BUT I PREFER TO USE LESS OF THE REAL STUFF!

DELICIOUS GRILLED GARDEN PASTA

GRILLED GARDEN PASTA (1)
1 Tbsp Basil
1/2 c crumbled feta
1/4 c pine nuts
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 hot pepper, minced
8 oz dry spaghetti or fettuccine (I used whole wheat linguini)
1 small onion, coarsely chopped (I used a red onion for some color)
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 orange, 1 yellow, 1 red pepper, chopped
Greek salad dressing to taste, optional (I use Kraft Greek Feta and Oregano)

In a small bowl, combine first five ingredients. Prepare pasta according to directions; drain and keep warm. Meanwhile, chop vegetables and grill on medium high heat about 20 minutes. Serve noodles with grilled vegetables and top with cheese mixture and dressing if desired.

THIS WAS SO GOOD AND EASY TO PREPARE. YOU COULD MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE BY SUBSTITUTING GLUTEN FREE NOODLES OR QUINOA! 

ALSO, CUT THE FAT BY USING A LOW FAT FETA AND A LITE DRESSING (LITE ITALIAN OR BALSAMIC WOULD WORK WELL TOO)!

LASTLY, I THOUGHT ABOUT ADDING A CAN OF BLACK BEANS FOR A TOUCH MORE PROTEIN AND FIBER…

BREAKFAST – THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!

Breakfast Basics

Eating breakfast can improve children’s behavior and school performance, as well as help them maintain a healthy weight. But a survey by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation reveals that breakfast isn’t eaten all of the time by 42 percent of Caucasian and Hispanic children, and 59 percent of African American children.This news is startling; when children skip breakfast, research shows us that their brains and bodies suffer all day long.While breakfast might seem like a hurdle in your busy morning, a healthy diet doesn’t need to take extra time to prepare.

  • Get Organized the Night Before: Get out a pan for pancakes or a blender for smoothies. Prepare muffin or waffle mix so it’s ready to cook in the morning.
  • Keep Breakfast Simple: On busy days, get the family going with something as quick as a bowl of whole-grain cereal with a banana.
  • Pack Your Breakfast to Go: If there’s no time to eat at home, plan a nutritious option to eat in the car or bus. Busy teens can grab a banana, a bag of trail mix and a carton of milk.

Protein, a missing component in many morning meals, helps children go strong and stay focused until lunch. Go lean with protein choices: a slice or two of Canadian bacon, an egg or egg whites, a slice of lean deli meat or low-fat cheese, a container of low-fat or Greek yogurt or peanut butter on whole grain toast.

Add in nutrient-rich whole grains to energize both kids’ bodies and brains along with an extra nutrition punch. Plus, whole grains provide a longer lasting source of energy and curb hunger as they tend to digest more slowly. Serve kids whole-grain cereals like oatmeal or whole-grain breads, muffins, waffles or pancakes.

Breakfast is a perfect time to enjoy fruits and vegetables children need for optimal health. Try fresh seasonal fruit alone or in cereal, add frozen fruits to yogurt, or toss chopped vegetables into an omelet.

Whatever your morning routine, remember that breakfast is an important meal for the family, and doesn’t have to be time consuming!

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX!  I FREEZE THESE BAKED MOZZARELLA STICKS AND REHEAT ONE OR TWO IN THE TOASTER OVEN FOR AN EASY PROTEIN PACKED BREAKFAST!  ABOUT 50% OF THE CALORIES ARE FROM FAT SO CUT DOWN ON FAT AT YOUR OTHER MEALS AND SNACKS THAT DAY!  REMEMBER PROTEIN AND FAT HELP KEEP YOU FEELING FULL LONGER TOO WHILE YOU BURN THOSE CARBS UP QUICKLY FOR ENERGY.

BAKED MOZZARELLA STICKS

BAKED MOZZARELLA STICKS

1 pkg Frieda’s Egg Roll Wrappers
20 Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
1 pkg Pepperoni slices (need 100 slices)
marinara or pizza sauce for dipping

Take 1 egg roll wrapper, place 5 slices of pepperoni from tip to tip as pictured above. Add mozzarella stick and fold over tips and roll up. Use a little water on your fingers to seal edges. Repeat.

PREHEAT oven 375 degrees F. Bake 20 minutes or until desired browness Serve with sauce.

1 MOZZARELLA STICK = 183 Calories, 14 gm Carbohydrate, 14 gm Protein, 10 gm Fat

MOST LOVED SUPERBOWL DIPS

DIPS

LAYERED SUNDRIED TOMATO AND ARTICHOKE SPREAD

LAYERED SUNDRIED TOMATO AND ARTICHOKE SPREAD

8 oz package cream cheese (1/3 less fat OK)
3 Tbsp finely chopped sundried tomatoes in oil, well drained
3 Tbsp finely chopped drained canned artichoke hearts
2 Tbsp pesto
2 Tbsp chopped planters smoked almonds
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Cut Cream Cheese horizontally into 3 slices using dental floss. Place 1 slice on large sheet of plastic wrap; top with tomatoes and second cream cheese slice. Combine artichokes and pesto; spoon over second cream cheese layer. Top with remaining cheese slice, nuts and parsley; press lightly to secure.

Wrap up and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Serve with your favorite crackers…

LAYERED-BLACK-BEAN-DIP

LAYERED BLACK BEAN DIP

LAYERED BLACK BEAN DIP

8 oz package cream cheese, softened (1/3 less fat OK?
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained
1 c Kraft Mexican style shredded cheese

Spread cream cheese onto bottom of shallow dish. Layer with beans and tomatoes; top with shredded cheese.

Serve with tortilla chips.

ARTICHOKE DIP

CHEESY SPINACH AND ARTICHOKE DIP

CHEESY SPINACH AND ARTICHOKE DIP

1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (10 oz) pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
3/4 c grated parmesan cheese
3/4 c mayonnaise
1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all ingredients until well blended. Spoon into 9″ pie plate or quiche dish. Bake 20 minutes. Serve with crackers or fresh vegetables.

CHEESY-CHILI-DIP

CHEESY CHILI DIP

CHEESY CHILI DIP

1 (8 oz) pkg low-fat cream cheese, softened
1 (15 oz) can hot chili with beans (Hormel)
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Spread cream cheese onto microwavable plate; top with chili and cheddar cheese. Microwave on HIGH 45 seconds – 1 minute or until cheddar is melted. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Serve with tortilla scoops!

THESE DIPS ARE EASY AND DELICIOUS!! ENJOY!