By Barbara Pronin
More consumers today are reading nutrition labels and trying to make healthier food choices. But commonly used catch phrases, like ‘contains whole grains,’ can be misleading. Prevention Magazine cites some of the worst food choices people are making and tips on actually eating healthier.
Will the real multigrain please stand up? – Products labeled 100% whole grain really are; they contain no refined flour. But products that say, ‘made with whole grains’ may contain a little or a lot. Whole grains should be listed first or second on the label, supplying 16 grams of whole grains per serving.
Watch out for vitamin water – Bottled water ‘fortified with nutrients’ frequently are bloated with calories. Drinking a whole bottle may provide up to 125 calories and no more Vitamin C than you’d get by eating two strawberries. Stick to plain, refreshing, calorie-free bottled water.
Veggie chips vs potato chips – The choice may seem like a no-brainer, but scrutinize the labels. If veggies are listed at the bottom of the list, you will very likely get little nutritional boost and as many calories as potato chips. Best option? Fresh veggies.
Snacks ‘made with real fruit’ – In most cases, you’re better off with fresh or dried fruit including raisins. Few ‘fruit snacks’ provide any fiber, and ‘concentrated white grape or pear juice’ is really only fruit sugars and water.
Cutting down on salt – Look for labels that say, ‘low in sodium,’ not ‘less sodium,’ and check to be sure the food contain 140 mg or less per serving.
Grabbing a granola bar in the morning – An on-the-go breakfast is better than no breakfast, but at least one top-selling granola bar has nearly as much sugar and fewer nutrients than a strawberry Pop-Tart or a slice of chocolate cake. Be sure the bar you choose has less than 11 grams of sugar, at least 3 grams of fiber, and no trans-fats.