Nutrition Facts Table: Solving the Mystery

nutrition facts table

We have been sleuthing over at our house to solve the puzzle of the Nutrition Facts table (NFt). I will be the first to admit that although I could read a label I had absolutely no idea what it all meant. I had an inkling but I could not put the information to any use.

I knew that sodium was salt and that number should be kept low, but what exactly WAS a low number? It was time to find out as not only my health was on the line; my family was going to suffer if I kept making uneducated food choices.

Hearing about the “Focus on the Facts” campaign being spearheaded by Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC), Health Canada, Retail Council of Canada (RCC), and the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) I was eager to jump on board. With our welcome kit in hand, we quickly jumped right into figuring out just HOW to read the Nutrition Facts table and more importantly how to make sense of the information that was given to us.

Focus on the Facts

Firstly, I had to show my kids how much was in a cup*. They were surprised by how little it was and even more surprised when the Nutrition Facts table on some of our boxes stated that a serving size was just a fraction of a cup, if that. It wasn’t until we all knew exactly how big a serving size was that we could properly figure out the nutritional value.Nutrition facts table

A big eye-opener to me was not to look at the amount of goodies in a serving size but to check the weight. I was getting thrown off thinking that 9 crackers of one brand were twice as much as 4 crackers of another when in fact they weighed almost the same. I am teaching the kids the correct way right from the start.nutrition facts table

Once we figured out the serving size it was times to see how much of the Daily Value (% DV) each serving was ultimately going to cost us. My kids and I were appalled that some of the foods we were enjoying most were actually taking up HUGE amounts of our Daily Value. My sons beloved all-natural peanut butter that I was gung-ho with him eating all day long was actually 23 % of the daily recommended fat in just 2 tabelspoons.

The kids were loving looking at all the numbers and seeing the info but like me, they had no idea what it all meant. By spending a few minutes on the Focus on the Facts website and looking around as a family we got a pretty good idea what we were going to compare and what to look out for.nutrition facts table

When it comes to packaged foods there are some nutrients, like saturated and trans fats and sodium, that you want to keep low and other nutrients like fibre and calcium that you should be aiming high for.

The big question is what is high and low, right?

So 5% DV is considered low, 10% DV is moderate and consequently, 15% DV is considered high. This is the magic formula. Not even a formula but knowing this will allow you to make informed food choices.

We then used the boxes that came with our welcome package to compare similar packaged foods. The kids loved using the mock Nutritional Facts table to write in the information and compare. Over and over they kept filling it out and I was happy when my son said “Mom, this is the burger we should choose” because he KNEW it was the healthier choice.nutrition facts table

It was rewarding to see them absorbing all of the information and knowing that they had the skills needed to make educated choices when it comes to their nutritional needs.[ctt title=”Learning how to read a Nutrition Facts table & understand it via @HomeWithAneta #FocusOnTheFacts” tweet=”Learning how to read a Nutrition Facts table & understand it via @HomeWithAneta #FocusOnTheFacts” coverup=”52Bn4″]

If you would like to find out more information on the “Focus on the Facts” campaign and learn some great tips make sure you check out the site here. There is also a chance to win a $300 grocery gift card by testing your knowledge.

Am I the only one who was clueless on how to read the table or has this information been useful to you guys as well?

*Our cups at home are closer to 2-2.5 cups in volume. Try explaining that to two kids

This is a sponsored post but the language used is all my own.
Aneta Alaei
Aneta Alaei

Aneta is a Toronto-based mom of four that loves a good meal, great company, and learning something new. In her free time, you can find her trying to keep yet another plant alive.

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  1. nicolthepickle (Nicole Graham)
    March 25, 2016 / 7:32 am

    It’s hard to know what exactly is best. I have a little scale and I scale out the sugar (like in cereal) so I can see how much it is. And it’s a lot. Fruit loops are a once in a life time treat.
    Ps. I love that hat.

  2. Treen Goodwin
    March 29, 2016 / 11:59 am

    I am not one to check labels but , its time to start , have high blood pressure and cholesterol isn’t good , it sucks getting older , thanks for sharing , i will def be checking from now on , its time to watch the Nutrition Facts table 🙂

  3. kathy downey
    April 23, 2017 / 10:08 am

    My hubby has a salt restriction so we always read the labels

  4. Debbie White Beattie
    October 13, 2017 / 4:29 am

    It’s so important to try and figure out the facts because you need to buy the most nutritious food without all of the bad stuff

  5. cathydryade
    January 21, 2019 / 9:34 pm

    Kids are never too young to learn how to choose the best food and that include being able to read nutrition facts table. Good job!