Understanding how to read nutritional labels will benefit your child now and later on in life!

Decoding what is in store-bought food is a fine art that even some adults have yet to master. Set your child up for success by teaching them how to understand and how to read the nutritional facts label at an early age!

Labels tell us what is in our food. By knowing what we are putting into our bodies, we can determine the healthiest option, and skip over foods that have no nutritional value. With this knowledge, kids will feel more in control of what they’re eating.

The Basics

There are three important steps to label reading which you should start your child off with: serving size, looking at the calories, and choosing nutrients wisely. These steps can be introduced slowly or even one at a time to assure that your child fully understands the meaning of each.

The serving size. This tells us how much a person should eat of a particular food. If you have two servings of cereal, this means that you need to double everything on the nutrition facts label. Without checking, we can easily have more than one serving.

Look at the calories. We need calories for our body to grow and work property. Without calories, we’ll become tired, with too many calories, we’ll gain weight. While food labels are generally based on a person who needs 2,000 calories per day, the individual’s needs may differ, depending on their height, weight, and exercise. When checking for calories on the food label, a good rule of thumb is remembering that 400 calories for a single food is high and 100 calories is moderate.

Choose nutrients wisely. Nutrients help our body to grow so we’re able to stay healthy and active. There are some nutrients that we need more of and some that we need fewer of. Fiber, potassium, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium are the nutrients that we need every day. Trans-fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar are the ones we should limit. Check the percent daily value (%DV), where lower than 5 percent is considered low, while 20 percent and higher is high. For the nutrients that we want, aiming for a high percentage is a good choice!

By teaching kids how to read food labels, you’re giving them an opportunity to take their health to the next level!

Fortunately, healthy eating habits are thoroughly reinforced at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley. Our organization and staff members understand the importance of maintaining a balanced diet for top cognitive function and development! Call us today to learn more about our programs suitable for your child!