Sunday, March 27, 2016

Focusing on Nutrition Facts (starting them young!)

The boys are I were invited to attend the 'Focus on the Facts' Nutrition Education event last week, to learn more about how to read the nutritional labels on the food we buy/eat. 

The event was held at Save-on-Foods on Cambie Street, and it was a lot of fun! As we arrived, the boys were given super cool Sherlock Holmes-esque detective hats and magnifying glasses, as well as a cool bag that they got to decorate while we waited for the other guests to arrive. They couldn't wait to get started on their mission to find and compare food products around the store.

We started off by learning about how to read the nutrition labels. It's really quite simple, and the kids caught on really quickly :)

The first thing you need to look at is the Serving Size. The serving size is the amount of the product that would need to be eaten to receive the calories/nutrients listed on the label. It's important to be aware of the serving size and to adjust the nutrient amounts as needed, if you're consuming less or more than the serving size. 

The next important number on the label is the %DV or Percent Daily Value. This shows the percentage of the recommended daily value of each nutrient that is found in each serving of the food product. We learned that 5% or less is a little, and 15% or more is a lot!  There are good nutrients that we look for (Calcium, Iron, Vitamins, Fibre, Protein, etc.) and some not-so-good ones such as Trans Fats and Sodium that we try to avoid.

You can see more information on nutritional labels and how to read them here.

Our family tries to avoid as much sugar as we can, so we also look at the Carbohydrate/Sugars amount in the products that we buy. Some products are tricky, and show great %DV of nutrients such as Calcium and Iron, but at the same time have very high amounts of processed sugars. We prefer to avoid these types of products and get our vitamins from fresh fruit and vegetables, such as Kale (the boys LOVE Kale chips!). Wouldn't it be great if kale had a nutrition label to show the %DV of Vitamin A (206%!) and Vitamin C (134%) that it contains in a serving size of just one cup (chopped)?  We're going to continue on with our nutrition eduction, and learn more about which fruits and vegetables contain the most amounts of nutrients.

It was a great learning experience for my little men (and ME!). We were asked to search the store for products that we could compare in three different categories: Breakfast foods, Soups/Sauces and Breads/Grains. The little detectives got out their magnifying glasses and figured out which products were more suited to our family, and which ones we would rather avoid.

I try to do most of my grocery shopping around the outer edges of the grocery store. I always start with fresh produce, and fill my cart up as much as I can with the good stuff before moving on to anything that comes in a package. That's not to say that we don't buy some healthy-ish snacks and treats as well ;) I just notice that we all feel much better (and have less dodgy grumpy days!) when we're eating right. 

After all the chocolate they consumed this Easter weekend, we're going to be eating extra healthy next week! Our new favourite breakfast is a smoothie bowl with chia seeds and fresh fruit, and it sure starts the day off right! 

If you'd like to enter to win a $300 Grocery Shopping Spree, check it out here. :)

 This event and post were sponsored by Health Canada, the Food and Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC), the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG). 


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