How to read food labels (1262)

Key points below

To make smart food choices, it is important to read the labels on the packages of food you buy.  The health claims on the front of the package are not always the best place to look. The nutrition facts label will give you more information. Knowing how to read food labels can help you make better choices at the store.  

Serving size

The serving size is the amount of food you would need to eat to get the amount of listed nutrients. The servings per container tell how many servings are in the whole package.  food label

Check calories

Calories are the amount of energy that the food or drink gives you. The total number of calories depends on how many servings you eat. If you ate two servings of this food, the number of calories would double to 320.

Limit saturated and trans fats

Look for foods that have:

Increase your Fiber

Fiber makes you feel full. Aim for at least 3 grams of fiber in grain foods like cereal, pasta, granola bars, and bread.

Limit Sodium

Choose foods with 15% of the daily value of sodium or less.

Limit added Sugar

Choose whole grains

To help increase fiber, “whole” should be in the first ingredient in grain foods (look for “whole wheat” or “whole grain).

Quick Guide to % of Daily Value (%DV)

What do the words on the food label mean?

Don’t be fooled by words on the front of a package.  Always read the food label.

Here are some of the common terms you may find on a food label:


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or dietitian if you have any concerns or if your child has special health care needs not covered by this information.