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Know your Food! #FocusontheFacts

Know your Food with #FocusingontheFacts

Okay, confession time.

I am not a great fan of grocery shopping. I do it out of necessity- as in when the primary grocery shopper in the house aka my husband is unavailable or I am in a dire need of some groceries for whatever reason. It is certainly not fun, I tell you. But that is just my opinion. You may find it okay or even challenging/interesting (Hello price match!) but me? Meh! I consider grocery shopping as a necessary evil.

Now that my little secret is out in the open, let’s move on to more serious stuff.

Today,  I would like to share some information regarding choosing right food for your household. What I want to say is important too as we all buy lots of packaged foods in Canada.  In spite of my indifference to grocery shopping, since last year I have been paying particular attention to whatever meager purchases I make in that department.

You ask why?

Well, last year in May Ministry of Health  launched  Nutrition Facts Education Campaign (NFEC) to help Canadians make more informed food choices for themselves and their families. I have been closely following this initiative as it was more geared towards  parents of children aged 2 to 12 like me. But really in all honesty, it applies to everyone since I am sure following a healthier life style is important to all of us.

Image Courtesy: healthycanadians.gc.ca

Nutrition Facts Education campaign ask us to use the “Serving Size” in the Nutrition Facts table (NFt) on packaged foods to compare similar foods thus making more informed food choices. By using the “Serving Size” and “Percent Daily Value”, consumers can choose foods that have more of the nutrients they want to consume, such as fibre and calcium, and less of those they don’t want, such as saturated and trans fats and sodium. 

Its really no brainer though, coming to think of it. You as a consumer, would want to know what food you are buying for your family. You don’t want to consume too much of trans fat or saturated fat if you can help it, right?

And what about sugar? Don’t even get me started on that. I have seen a Spaghetti sauce serving of 125 ML containing 6 gms of sugar! A reasonable amount of sugar for 125 ML serving should be ideally about 2 gms or even 3 gms. As you can see, the difference between ‘actual’ and ‘ideal’ is shocking.  

Image Courtesy: healthycanadians.gc.ca

See where I am going with this? This is why an initiative like Nutrition Facts Education is crucial to our understanding. In a joint effort between the Food &Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC), Health Canada, Retail Council of Canada (RCC), the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG), the Nutrition Facts Education Campaign (NFEC) is designed to increase Canadians’ awareness, use and understanding of the Serving Size and % Daily Value (% DV), on the Nutrition Facts table (NFt), to help them make informed food choices for their families.

I do not want my kids to  be put at health risk in the long run just because I did not have enough time to peruse the Nutrition Facts table (NFt) on packaged foods I bought for them. Your family comes first in every decision you make. In today’s fast paced world, it can be difficult to know where to start when choosing the right food for your household. Start by spending a little bit more time in reading the labels of the items you are purchasing. Its really that simple. 

Image Courtesy: healthycanadians.gc.ca

 

In spirit of committing to making informed food choices going forward, kids and I set out for NFEC’s Fact Finder’s Mission. My little detectives checked out the packaged foods at home in our cupboards and refrigerator. We were focusing on comparing the serving size and %DV on each product. Using their “Fill in the Blank” NFt dry erase board, Kevin and Krista made me proud by examining and recreating the tables they found on each packaged food. Hey, I was learning too while they were on this Nutrition Fact Finding mission.

I will admit that their adorable faces were much distracting with the cute detective hat and magnifying glass one of them were holding up at any given time. All my little detectives needed now was a “pipe” like Mr.Holmes :). Kevin understood slowly as to why Mommy tells him not to eat too much sugar or reduce the serving of cereal in his bowl occasionally. Krista was fascinated with the the table itself and kinda took it up on herself to seek after the tables on each packaged food in the vicinity while on ‘mission’. 

Our “Nutrition Facts Finding Mission” was very enlightening. I mean, there is significant health benefits if you learn to use your food labels right. It plays an important role in preventing nutrition-related chronic diseases like obesity. Nancy Croitoru, President and CEO of  Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC) calls  Nutrition Facts table (NFt) as an essential and helpful nutrition informational tool. Reading the label on food and beverage packages is the best way for busy Canadians to learn about the products they choose. Being conscious about your food decisions is made as easy as possible with a tool like Nutrition Facts table. 

How can you start?

Well, look at the NFt and start with Serving Size, found under the header “Nutrition Facts”; then look at Percent Daily Value (% DV) on the right side of the NFt; then use the % DV to see if the Serving Size has a little or a lot of a nutrient – 5% DV or less is a little and 15% DV or more is a lot.

Interactive nutrition facts table

Select any item in the table to find out more.

Nutrition Facts
Per 3/4 cup (175g)
Amount % Daily Value
Calories 160
Fat 2.5 g 4 %
Saturated 1.5 g
+ Trans 0 g
8 %
Cholesterol 10 mg
Sodium 75 mg 3 %
Carbohydrate 25 g 8 %
Fibre 0 g 0 %
Sugars 24 g
Protein 8 g
Vitamin A 2 % Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 20 % Iron 0 %

Courtesy: healthycanadians.gc.ca

At first, reading the label may have to come as a deliberate act from your part. Yes, it does take time to read each and every one of the product you are buying. But after a while, I bet this will be second nature as you just know what you are looking at. Focusing on facts really helps for a healthy life style for your family. And at times you may have to just pick up your magnifying glass on your way to the grocery store 😉 

***Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Mosaic Digital and NFEC. The opinions expressed here are completely honest and serves the best interests of my readers***

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    […] a parent, I want to make sure my food choices are the best for my family. I do not want my kids to  be put at health risk in the long run just […]

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