Food Labels

Learning how to read a food label is the first thing I teach my clients. Most of my clients will look at the food labels and see only the caloric values to determine whether to buy a product or not. Just because something claims to be 100 or 200 calories does not mean that it is good for you. (This can be seen with most diet product, like Jenny Craig, Weight Watcher, etc). So here's a crash course on what to look for and how to read your labels.

1. Under Nutrition Facts you will find Serving Size and Servings Per Container. This is so important, because a lot of times people will just assume that whatever they are eating is only one serving. Here's an example from my own fridge:

Tazo Giant Peach Green Tea

Serving Size 8oz.
Servings Per Container 2
Calories 90
Sugar 20g

Total Calories when I drink the full 16 oz. bottle: 180 calories and 40g of sugar...Yikes!

  • Just because something is packaged in a small bag, doesn't mean that it is only one serving...I think of this when I see small packages of chips, ice cream, candy, pre-packaged snack goods, etc.

  • The labels are made to confuse you and to seem as if their product is healthy, so always double check!

  • Anytime I see a product claiming to be "natural", or "healthy" I laugh, because I don't see any labels claiming "healthy and natural" on my fresh fruits, greens, and proteins.

2.Under Amounts Per Serving you will see Calories and Calories from Fat. It is important to note the calories and the fat calories. Here's another example from my pantry this time:

ThinkThin Mixed Nuts Crunch Bar

Serving Size 1 bar
Calories 190
Calories from fat 100

  • People sometimes shy away from products with fat. They think that foods with fat will make them fat and that is not always the case. You want to eat healthy fats from nuts, olive oils, fish, and avocados. The majority of the fat from my ThinkThin bar comes from peanuts, almonds, and cashews, so it's a good amount of fat that will help me feel full longer.

3. Under the Calories you will see the Total Fat, Sodium, and Total Carbohydrates which include Dietary Fiber, and Sugar.

  • This is another main part of the nutrition facts that you should always look over before throwing a product into your cart.

  • The difference between a good carb and a bad carb is usually just the amount of fiber and sugar it has. I love whole wheat pasta, brown rice, whole wheat pizza dough, whole wheat bread, tortilla chips, waffles and all the brands that I purchase have at least 3g of fiber (per 1 serving).

Here's an example of bread from my pantry:

Rudi's Organic Bread: 7 Grain with Flax

Serving Size 1 slice
Servings Per Container 14
Calories 100
Calories from fat 15

Total fat 1.5 g
Sodium 150mg
Total Carb 18g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 2g

  • On average women need about 25 grams of fiber a day, while men need 35 grams. So when I make a sandwich I am getting 8 grams of fiber just from the bread alone.

4. Under the Sugars you will see the Protein.

  • There really isn't anything tricky about the protein section. Just remember that you want to eat well balanced meals that contain fat, carbs and protein; which will help you to feel full longer.

5. At the bottom you will see the Ingredients.

  • I try to stick with products with ingredients that I know and can read/understand. I also stay far away from products that are not organic, have food dyes, are genetically engineered (that just sounds scary to me) and that have artificial preservatives/additives.

  • Another good things to notice is that the ingredients are listed from what is in the product the most, to the least. So the first few ingredients are a good indication of what you are eating. If one of the first few ingredients is some sort of sugar (LIKE MOST CEREALS) then don't buy it.

Remember you are what you eat and food is fuel, so feed your body well.

I hope this helps everyone and your families. :)


  1. this was such great info! thanks so much for filling is in on all the facts!

  2. I am very upset. Tazo Giant Peach is one of my very very very favorite drinks! BOO!!!!! I am going to feel guilty every time I drink it now.

    On the flip side, great post. I think the info you are providing on this blog is priceless! People should be paying you for this stuff!


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