Shopping for foods is complex considering the myriad choices that are available on the racks. Taste and Brand are two very important determinants of our food choices. Is it then possible to reach healthful choices based on the foods that we enjoy?
Here are some tips to help you do so while maneuvering through the information clutter on food labels:
Look beyond Front of Pack:
Front of Pack is what is positioned on the racks. It displays the brand name along with bright and appealing images. These evoke a number of sensory memories like taste, smell, flavor and texture of the product. Text messages in bold font like “Contains Ragi”, “Good for digestive health” support the health attributes of the product and we end up making our purchase decisions in just a few seconds.
Pay attention to Back of Pack Messages:
The Back of Pack is often under-utilized, but if used optimally, will help you to compare products you relish and yet choose a healthier option. If you find the font size too small to read, click a picture, enlarge and read. Do invest a few seconds in checking out the Ingredient list and Nutrition label.
- Browse through the ingredient list
Check if the first few ingredients are healthful, for example: Whole wheat flour instead of wheat flour etc.
Check if oils/fat, sugars/salts are not amongst the first few ingredients. If yes, one needs to be aware that these foods can be had as occasional treats and in controlled portion sizes. Choose single serve packs/bottles.
- Browse through the nutrition label
Compare and choose products with higher values of proteins, fibre, vitamins minerals and lower values of saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars and sodium/salt.
Investing a few more seconds will empower you to choose the snacks you enjoy and achieve your health goals!!!!
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