Getting Educated: Deciphering Food Labels

Getting Educated: Deciphering Food Labels

Fri 11 Nov 2011

Story by Michelle Sybert

Since signing the food revolution petition and getting educated about the food I provide my family, my eyes have been opened to the wide variety of unpronounceable ingredients in today’s processed foods. Did you know that the same “natural” ingredient used to preserve pre-packaged shredded cheese is the same one used to treat foot funguses?

Making claims of “natural”, “low carb” and “less sugar” nutrition labels on today’s brands can sometimes be overwhelming. Armed with the right information, you can take steps to decode those ingredients and wild claims. We’ve got you covered with great advice on everything from online tools to healthy ways to eat without a label.

Twitter Party

This week Food Revolution supporters gathered on twitter to chat about those pesky food labels and how to decode them. The party took place on Tuesday November 8th, 2011 at 7pm PST. It was truly a privilege to able to host and there was good deal of useful information shared. I encourage you to join in every Tuesday by following the hashtag #FoodRevParty.

Party theme: Getting Educated About Food: Deciphering Food Labels

Party Questions and Some of the Best Tweets

Q1. Why is deciphering ingredients on food labels important?

@jdaniel4smom It helps me know what I am giving my family. #FoodRevParty

@TheAllegicKid My reason for label reading is my child's #foodallergy. Hate ones with "flavors" or "seasonings" instead of ingredients

Q2.What are some tools you use for helping you read labels and make smart food purchasing decisions?

@striiv 1. If you can't pronounce the ingredient don't eat it and 2. Eat nothing with more than 5 ingredients in the list.

@lunchalicious We look for sugar & sodium content etc! % is for adults, not kids! #foodrevparty

@Ciocia I'm buying less food with labels, more foods close to their roots (pun intended); the farm!

Q3.Many ingredients go by other names. What is another name for High Fructose Corn Syrup?

@muffintinmom Q3: High Fructose Corn Syrup is also called isoglucose, glucose-fructose, sometimes abbreviated as HFCS or called corn

@Ciocia I have VETO list for things like high-fructose corn syrup

Q4. Does "low fat" or "low carb" always mean healthy? Why?

@striiv Absolutely not! Find those 2B more of a warning label

@lanaprekprogram No way. Just like all-natural, gluten-free, etc. doesn't automatically = healthy. Lots of buzz words

@septemberacres Not necessarily - look 4 added salt and sugar

Q5. Healthy ways to eat without a food label?

@lunchalicious Eat REAL food from the garden, lots of fruits/veggies, healthier choices (i.e. brown vs. white etc), and eating in moderation!

@MommaCuisine NO prepackaged foods. They sell convenience - not health, and certainly not taste.

@TheAllergicKid Make my own convenience foods: freeze stock, soup, spaghetti sauce, etc. Just as easy to make double/triple batch

Bonus Topic: Getting Kids Involved

@mommacuisine I bring my 5 yr old to do groceries with me to teach/show her what real food looks like

@grainsnmore growing your own has the added benefit of being fun & can even educate the kids

Thanks to everyone for their great ideas and tips! This week we are saying no to flavored milk and yes to pure milk during the Milk Week of Action, November 7 -11. Our Food Revolution recipe of the week is a great alternative to flavored sugary milks: Frozen Fruit Smoothies. Upload your smoothie photos and favorite recipes on to the Food Revolution Community page.

Join next week’s Twitter party on Tuesday November 15th at 7pm PST 10pm EST with @FoodRevTeam!

About the host: Michelle is a mom or two and author of the blog where she writes about helping parents think outside the box (and inside the muffin tin) for ways to get their kids to eat healthy balanced meals.


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