Look at the serving size. This amount is what the label is going
to describe. It is not describing the "whole package".
And, it may not be describing the amount of this food you will eat.
This is important.
per container: Don't be fooled by the package. Just because
it looks small doesn't mean it's a single serving. Even small bags
of chips can have 1-1/2 to 2 servings. To find out how much you
eat, multiply the amount in one serving times the number of servings
This is the amount of calories contained in one serving. Multiply
the calories in one serving by the number of servings you eat to
estimate the amount of calories in your selection.
Cholesterol, Saturated Fat, Sodium, Carbohydrates and Protein:
This middle section tells you the "gram" weight
of these nutrients contained in one serving. Use your nutritional
profile to see if this is a small or large amount for you.
For example, if your Nutritional Profile recommends 65 grams
of protein everyday, and one serving of a food you select
contains 30 grams of protein, that one serving will contribute
almost 50% to your daily protein goal.
Value: % Daily Value is referring to an "imaginary
person's" dietary needs. It may not match the percent
of nutrients needed in your diet. It is definitely not based
on pregnancy needs. Don't worry about this number in the middle
section of the label. It is important for vitamins A and C,
and minerals Calcium and Iron, though.
and Minerals: In this section, you can get an idea how much
Vitamin A, C, Calcium and Iron a food has. While these % numbers
are not exactly correct for everyone, they do tell you if a food
has a lot or a little of that nutrient. To be called a "good
source" of any nutrient, the food must contain at least 10%
of that nutrient in one serving. For example, if a serving of milk
has 2% Vitamin C and 30% Calcium, you know that milk is a "good
source" of Calcium. On the other hand, you'd better look elsewhere
for some Vitamin C.
missing: There are a few nutrients and food components
that you've learned are important that aren't listed on food
labels. They are still important in the diet. Don't forget
about water, B Vitamins, and phytochemicals. The
Food Guide Pyramid is another good tool to help you. You
can also screen food labels to identify ingredients that you
want to limit or avoid.