Becoming a Role Model for Back-to-School Nutrition

August 22nd 2019

Developing healthier habits starts with an important set of data to interpret: the Nutrition Facts label.

Back-to-school season is upon us, which means it is a good time to for parents and health care professionals to counsel children on how to make healthy food choices. Developing healthier habits starts with an important set of data to interpret: the Nutrition Facts label.

There are 3 key components to reading a Nutrition Facts Label that will guide your child to a healthier lifestyle:

  • Pay attention to the serving size and number of servings being consumed.This will help with calculating the number of calories and nutrients they eat and drink.
  • Balance the number of calories they eat or drink with the number of calories their bodies use.These calories provide the energy children need to function and grow. Remember: 100 calories per serving of an individual food is considered moderate, while 400 calories or more per serving of an individual food is considered high.
  • Look at the %Daily Value (%DV) to see if a serving of a food is high or low in an individual nutrient.5% DV or less of a nutrient per serving is considered low, and 20% DV or more of a nutrient per serving is considered high.

about the label and using it to compare and choose foods.

Learning this tactical skill is more fun when it becomes an interactive experience. When at home, kids can log on to the FDA'sWhyville Snack Shackwebsite to play in a virtual world while practicing reading nutrition labels. The game allows children to create an avatar, and play games that teach them

When out at a restaurant, children should be encouraged to swap out 1 of their meal items, becoming more involved in the amount of nutrients, fats, and sugars they are consuming.

The sooner they can establish healthy dietary habits, the better children will be at making beneficial food choices throughout their life.

Reference

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Nutrition facts label: read the label youth outreach materials. FDA website.https://www.fda.gov/food/nutrition-education-resources-materials/nutrition-facts-label-read-label-youth-outreach-materials#educators_and_outreach. Published July 2019. Accessed August 21, 2019.

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