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turn it over: learning the importance of reading food labels by nellie harden

The food we know and love has become WAY more processed in our lifetime. Crops become more complicated, populations continue to rise, and the divide between nutrition and “edible” becomes more vast. But, take heart...there is good news! We, as parents, can take charge and arm ourselves with some knowledge today so we can begin, or continue, on a path of real health with real food, and stay away from those additives and preservatives that harm us and our growing families. When you go to the store, are you armed with label knowledge? The front of the packaging is made to entice. Graphic artists and art directors are made to appeal as much as possible to as many of our senses, so we pick up that 40


product confidently and can’t wait to dive in. The back of the package, in small, off to the corner print is where the truth lies. That is where we are going to focus in this feature. First, let’s start with the “Nutritional Label”. A typical label will have serving size and servings per container. These are important to take a look at because when we have free range eating, especially for our kiddos, I can guarantee they are eating more than 2, 3 or more servings of whatever this is. The only thing to ever really have complete free range eating with is your veggies. Especially those dark greens. Water, of course, is also free range. This is real, 100% water here though, not flavored, colored, or otherwise different

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from just good old plain H2O. Next, you will notice calories. I have gotten away from putting so much emphasis on calories in my years as a nutrition coach, because I have realized time and time again that it isn’t as easy as the picture I remember from my 6th grade biology book with calories in and calories out. The “integrity” of your food matters far more than a calorie count, so don’t get too hung up here. Look further down the label. The fat in our food is a topic that needs to be looked at in conjunction with your ingredients label. Ingredient labels are listed in decreasing abundance meaning that the first ingredients are the largest amounts listed and then at the bottom are the smallest amounts. I will say that even

Multiplicity Spring 2016  

Multiplicity's spring issue is loaded with tips on keeping your family safe! From things to consider for sleepovers and summer camps, tips f...

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