Thursday, May 3, 2012

Reading labels

Reading food labels can make a difference while grocery shopping. If you've been following my lifestyle change, you know that one of my biggest struggles is chocolate milk (or any sweet snack) before bed. I've been trying to wean myself off of the late night snack, and making some adjustments along the way. One of the biggest things that I did to help was change the chocolate I was using. I had previously been buying the original chocolate syrup.... 100 calories per serving. That doesn't sound too bad, until you compare it to the sugar free!  

Hershey's Chocolate Syrup: 100 calories in 2 Tbsp.
Hershey's Chocolate Syrup Lite: 45 calroies in 2 Tbsp
Hershey's Chocolate Syrup Sugar Free: 15 calories in 2 Tbsp.

85 calories each night    x   5 nights a week (average)    x   4 weeks a month   =  1700 calories I'm saving a month by changing the chocolate syrup that I use. This put things in more of a perspective:

What to know about reading labels:
Always check the serving size first. You may be surprised at how big or small it is. Sometimes the calorie content sounds great until you realize how few chips/cookies/slices/etc you get.

You want low fats, cholesterol and sodium, but high fiber and vitamins.

Check this out from the American Heart Association. It breaks down all of the "labels" that foods can put on their foods make you purchase it. Sugar Free doesn't mean it doesn't contain sugar... It means that each serving has less than .5 grams of sugar. It explains fat, cholesterol, fiber, and sodium. It's worth reading.

Here are some guidelines that they provide:

•“Free” means a food has the least possible amount of the specified nutrient.
•“Very Low” and “Low” means the food has a little more than foods labeled “Free.”
•“Reduced” or “Less” mean the food has 25 percent less of a specific nutrient than the regular version of the food.

Reading labels makes shopping trips last longer,
but it is worth it! Read the labels a few times and then you will know what you want/need from then on. Happy reading!

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