Nutrition 101: How To Read and Understand Nutrition Labels

Nutrition labels allow you to make educated choices about what you eat.

They include: 

  • Serving size
  • Calories
  • Percentage of daily value
  • 13 core nutrients

The serving size is at the top.

All of this information is based on this amount.

So you need to make sure that you compare this to the amount of food that you actually eat. 

For example- eating a whole bag of chips when the serving size is only for 10 chips.

SPOILER ALERT!

The serving size on the label is usually a much smaller amount than most people would eat.

Moving on to calories.

The number of calories listed is based on the serving size.

If you have more than the suggested serving size the calories will be higher, if you have less the calories will be lower. 

Remember…

Not all calories are created equal.

Empty calories void of nutrition and full of chemicals and preservatives wear down the body and add up quick.

Clean, whole foods are lower in calories and much higher in nutrients and fiber.

We need to take other things into consideration when choosing foods like the percentage of daily value.

This tells us how much of a nutrient a food contains.

5% of less is considered a little amount of a nutrient.

And 15% or more is considered a lot.

Nutrients to look for include:

  • Fiber
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron

On the flip side, nutrients to consume in moderation include:

  • Trans fats
  • Sodium
  • Sugars

Let’s take a look at nutrition labels for two similar products and see how they stack up.

By comparing these two cereal labels, let’s figure out which option is the healthier choice.

First, check the serving size.

Is it the same for both products?

Moving on to calories…

Product 1 has 110 calories per serving while product 2 has 120.

Now look at the percentage of daily value and see which nutrients each product is high or low in.

Product 1 has:

  • 16g Sugar per serving
  • 1g Fiber
  • 2g Protein

Product 2 has:

  • 7g Sugar
  • 3g Fiber
  • 10g Protein

Even tho Product 1 has ten less calories, Product 2 is the healthier option.

It has 5x the protein (10g vs 2g)

It also has triple the fibre which will aid in digestion and help you feel full longer.

Product 2 also has less than half the amount of sugar.

There are some foods that don’t require a label including:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Raw meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish & Seafood
  • Foods made in stores like bakery items or store made salads.
  • Foods that contain few nutrients like tea, coffee and alcohol.

Ultimately, the information on a nutrition label is there to help us make informed decisions about what we eat.

Making Healthy Food Choices In Our Busy Lives

Making Healthy Food Choices In Our Busy Lives

You already know how important it is to make healthy food choices for you and your family. But how can you fit the best choices into your busy life?

You’ll be pleased to discover that a hectic life doesn’t mean that every meal has to be fast food on the run! Sometimes it’s difficult to make healthy changes, but with a little planning and know-how, it can be done.

Here are some strategies to help you and your family make healthy choices:

  1. Avoid temptation. It’s so easy to walk into the store with good intent, but walk out with bags full of unhealthy foods. Unfortunately, our wills are weak, especially if we’ve trained ourselves over the years to buy junk foods.
  • Never shop when you’re hungry. This way you won’t pick out unhealthy choices because they look good at the moment.
  • Get rid of the unhealthy foods in your home. If they aren’t around, you won’t be tempted to eat them. 
  • Think of healthier alternatives to your family’s favorite unhealthy foods. Rather than high calorie chips, try trail mixes or rice cakes. Low calorie puddings or frozen yogurts are better alternatives to higher fat ice creams.
  1. Eat fast and healthy meals at home. When you’re tired at the end of the day and you realize you still have to feed the family, it’s easy to go to a fast food chain and throw fast food on the table. It may save some time, but it won’t save your health – or your pocket book!
  • The great thing is that there are many easy, fast, and healthy foods you can make at home. This takes some planning, but you’ll be more satisfied, save money, and be healthier as well.
  • Look online for quick and easy recipes made with all natural ingredients. Many recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less and only have 5 ingredients. Taking the time to research recipes will save your sanity in the long run. Then once you find a “hit” with the family, store the recipe in a book or on your computer.
  1. When you cook, make large batches and freeze the leftovers. This way, you’ll already have meals in the freezer that you can just thaw, heat, and serve. This is the opportune way to enjoy “fast” food at home.
  2. Eat Slower. Since the brain takes about 20 minutes to get the signal that the stomach is full, if you eat too fast you’ll pack in a lot more food than you need. When you’re still thinking you’re hungry, it’s easy to make the wrong choices about food. If you slow down while you’re eating, you’ll eat less and you’ll still feel full.
  • Set a calming mood before sitting down for a meal. Avoid having the television on or eating as you’re rushing the kids out the door to another activity. Sitting calmly at the table will allow everyone to relax and enjoy their meal.
  1. Make dinner time a social experience. Dinner should be about enjoying your company and taking pleasure in the foods you’re eating.

When you begin to look at mealtime as a social experience, it becomes easier to make the right choices about healthy foods. Suddenly you aren’t so worried about rushing through and making it quick.

Dinner becomes a great experience when you’re able to enjoy healthy foods together. Take time to eat as a family and enjoy a real conversation with each other. Talking will naturally slow down your eating pace, while also reconnecting you with your family members.

Using these techniques will bring all kinds of healthy benefits to your family and teach your children a healthy lifestyle. Healthy food choices are a possibility in your busy life if you take the time to plan ahead and make dinner time a priority in your home.

Efficient Energy From Pre-Workout Nutrition

A healthy diet and regular physical activity – these are the two things that every individual, who wants to keep their health at a high level, should implement in their life. If you eat the right foods that provide adequate amounts of nutrients, but you avoid exercise, then you can’t expect optimal health. On the other hand, workout without proper nutrition won’t be effective and in some cases, it can be dangerous. When we are talking about food and workout, it is good to mention that there are some healthy foods that are known for their ability to provide energy. These foods are especially effective when they are taken before a workout. Pre-workout nutrition is crucial for the final results of your physical activity. In this article, we will highlight some of the best healthy foods that provide energy.

workout_1Oatmeal

If you want to fuel your workout routine, you can always count on oatmeal. This food is packed with protein and soluble fiber and contains different minerals and vitamins. (1) With the help of oatmeal, you will feel full and you will be able to focus on the workout process. If you want to boost its effects, add some milk and berries.

Eggs

Eggs are loaded with protein and vitamin D making them an excellent food for energy before working out. Eggs have the ability to maintain energy levels and you can rest assured that you won’t feel hungry during the training process. Once again, if you want to get better results, you can make a combination with whole-grain toast. In this way, you’ll get more fiber.

Salmon

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Now here’s an example of food that you can consume not only before a workout. This healthy fish contains protein and omega-3 fatty acids. (2) According to several studies, salmon has significant amounts of magnesium and a few B vitamins. This means that by eating salmon you will not only get energy, but you will also enhance the calorie-burning effects of your workout. On top of that, the omega-3 fatty acids provide anti-inflammatory effects increasing endurance which are important for proper conducting of different exercises.

Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the trendy energy-boosting foods. This extremely nutritious grain is known for the high amounts of minerals, vitamins, fiber and protein. Many people use it as a replacement for brown rice in their dishes. Cooked quinoa tastes like nuts. Experts agree that quinoa should be part of any pre-workout nutrition plan because it can help people get energy even for the hardest exercises.

Almonds

workout_3

It turns out that almonds are excellent fuel for any type of workout. Just like the majority of nuts, almonds are packed with fiber, minerals, protein and healthy fat. With their help, your body will keep moving and flexing during your workout session. Almonds are tasty and they can be consumed quickly before the workout begins.

In case you want to get the most from your workouts, be sure to consume some of these foods that provide energy before you start doing exercises.

  1. http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/oatmeal-nutrition-facts
  2. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=104

 




7 Healthy Nutrients To Help Lose Fat

One of the most important factors to living a healthy lifestyle is maintaining a healthy diet. If your goal is to fight fat and lose weight then it is crucial that you start  working from the inside-out! “You are what you eat” is a true statement. When I decided to lose weight after I finished playing college football I had to change the way I ate. Once I started adding more healthy foods to my diet the results that I wanted came right away!

Here are some healthy sources of nutrients that will boost your metabolism and help you lose weight:

water1. Water

Increasing your water consumption will increase the rate that you burn calories. After drinking approximately 17 oz of water, the body’s metabolic rate will increase by 30%. Everyone should be drinking at least eight glasses of water a day.

 

 

53c4119b41fd9.image2. Blueberries

Blueberries contain antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium and magnesium. Blueberries will detoxify your body, which will also decrease your fat storage. The copper and fiber content also increase fat burning. A half-cup of blueberries is only about 40 calories.

 

 

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3. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds contain protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber. Adding chia to your diet will suppress your appetite and boost your metabolism. I personally recommend drinking chia seeds with water or fruit smoothies.

 

eggs4. Eggs

Eggs are an excellent source of complete protein that contains all of the essential amino acids that your body needs. Eggs are also low in calories, which range from 70-90 calories depending how they are cooked.

 

 

Coconut-Oil-Web5. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the best sources of fat to consume for weight loss. Coconut oil is rich in medium chain triglycerides, which the body uses for energy expenditure. Therefore, less of the triglycerides are being stored as fat. Adding coconut oil to your diet will assist in losing fat especially around the abdominal cavity.

 

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6. Avocado

Avocado is high in monounsaturated fats and also a good source of fiber. There are two main benefits from eating avocados.  Avocados will lower your cholesterol level. They also help reducing belly fat because monounsaturated fats prevent the body from distributing abdominal fat.

 

7. Almonds

Almonds are rich in vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Almonds are also a good source of protein and fiber. The protein content in the nuts will keep you feeling full so that you won’t always have a urge to overeat. Almonds will also block your body’s absorption of calories, which will result in weight loss.