Here are a few key tips for reading food labels, if selecting pre-packaged foods:
A bad, and often excessive, source of sodium is what you will find in refined and processed food. This is used in the preservation or the preserving of the food.
Make sure you look at the sodium levels on food labels - As a general guideline, if you are trying to eat less salt, aim for around 120mgs or less per 100gms.
For the right balance of salt in your diet somewhere between 250mgs - 400mgs is a good average per day for total intake.
This is because most salt that is added to packaged foods is to preserve the food's shelf-life, which has no health benefit to us when we consume the food. This then means we lose the right amount of minerals we need in our diet.
Anything that contains more than 400mgs of sodium per 100gms is too high.
So avoiding these types of foods will not only increase your health but also reduce the amount of negative sodium you could be ingesting.
Obviously we are trying to reduce the amount of "toxic/bad" fats in our diets - "trans fats", these are more commonly labelled as partially hydrogenated fat/hydrogenated fat or vegetable oils.
Consuming sources of full-fat products instead of eating low fat substitutes is far more beneficial as you want something as complete & natural as possible. Just be mindful to limit portions when eating full-fat products.
When reading food labels, Saturated Fat should be no larger than
4gms per 100gms and "Low Fat" or "Fat Reduced" should be no more
than 2gms per 100gms".
Protein is the building blocks of the entire body. We need to consume a balanced intake of animal and vegetarian sources of protein (nuts and seeds, legumes, grains, protein powders and sources of dairy - milk, cheese and yoghurt). Protein needs to be eaten with each meal and snack
As a general rule, a person requires 1g per kilogram of body weight of lean meat protein. The rest needs to come from vegetarian protein; grains, vegetables, nuts and seeds
Protein is a very slow releasing food group which means it keeps you fuller for longer.
When looking at carbs, what you mostly need to look at is the sugar content and quality of sugar in your diet. It doesn't matter if it is fructose, sucrose, lactose e.t.c we don't need a high amount in the diet. Sugar should be no more than 10gms per 100gms.
Fibre is your friend! And is essential for a healthy digestive system and it should not be compared when looking at carbohydrates.
When you purchase a carbohydrate based food, always look at the fibre content, you want at least 3gms per 100gms per serve.
Life is all about enjoying everything in moderation and balance, so next time you eat out, ask for that dressing or sauce on the side & just limit the amount you consume.
Where you can, whip up your own salad dressings/sauces - half the fun is cooking the foods you like to enjoy and feeling like your body is well nourished after!
And next time you have had a long day or don't feel like whipping up a fancy dinner, instead of reaching for the burrito's in the cupboard (I am guilty of that!), throw on roast chicken with some fresh chopped baked veggies with a few spices - it's that simple! These little changes will make a world of difference.