Living with a 9 year old is a constant balancing act. He wants all the sweet stuff and I want to make sure he has a balanced diet. While I have taught him that protein, fat and fiber are the building blocks of a healthy diet (in the right amounts of course), he really only wants to talk about treats. So how do I get through to him and teach him what he SHOULD be eating? It was time to teach him a few nutrition facts.
Thankfully, the Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC), Health Canada, Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) have come together to launch the Nutrition Facts Education Campaign (NFEC). I is designed to increase Canadians’ awareness, use and understanding of the Serving Size and Percent Daily Value (% DV), on the Nutrition Facts table (NFt), to help them make informed food choices for their families. They’ve brought tons of great information together for Canadians at Canada.ca/NutritionFacts.
Basically, it wants to empower Canadians to pull out their sleuth’s hats and figure out what they should eat. Since my son loves detective and spy stories, I am going to get him involved too. Let’s go!
First up….Serving Size.
Information in the Nutrition Facts Table is based on serving size. It is important that you know this quantity of food. If you eat a different amount than the Serving Size, you will need to adjust the numbers in the NFt. Check to see if the Serving Sizes are similar when comparing packaged food. If one’s serving size is 50 grams and another is 150 grams…the nutrition analysis could be very different. The numbers for the food with higher serving size may seem worse on first glance but once you bring them both to the same baseline they could actually be better.
Next….Percent Daily Value
Does the food you are eating have a lot or a little of a nutrient? Smart sleuths use % DV to see if a Serving Size has a little or a lot of a nutrient. This is helpful when comparing packaged foods. How much of your daily allowance of sodium does it have? Sugar? These are key clues for how well it will fit into your balanced diet.
Nutrients…Are there a lot or a little?
So you know that your food has a nutrient in it but is that a lot or just a smidge? Sometimes it is hard to know. As a rule of thumb, 5% DV or less is a little and 15% DV or more is a lot. Choose packaged food that has more of the nutrients you want, like fibre and calcium, and less of those you don’t, like saturated and trans fats and sodium.
But remember, there may be pluses and minuses. In the examples above, once compared on 3/4 cup servings, product A has 180 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 12% sodium and 45% iron versus Product B (see it’s info above). Even though the iron in Product A (left box) is higher, so is the fat, calories and sodium so Product B is the better choice.
It was eye opening to have this conversation with Evan. I asked him which he would pick without going over it at all. He picked Product A. After I went through serving size and that we need to make them the same basis, he realized Product B was a better choice. Healthy eating WIN in our house today!
Want to learn more? Head over to Canada.ca/NutritionFacts for more information.
Put your nutrition knowledge to the test over at www.FocusontheFacts.ca for a chance to win a $300 Grocery Gift Card!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored. All opinions, as always, are my own.