How to Read Food Labels


Learn how to read food labels and use it to achieve your fitness goals. Understanding how to read a food label is one of the keys to purchasing and putting together your meals. Knowing the basics of reading your labels will help guide you into the right choices at the grocery store. Whether you are choosing meats, vegetables or ingredients, labels gives you an idea of what’s going into your body. 

Nutrition Food Label that you can download and print. (8.5

Printable poster sized food labels 

Free printable mini posters for your home or gym. Print the small 8 ½ by 11  Each design can be downloaded in jpg or pdf format. 

Free downloads 

A4 paper 8.5 by 11 inch (8.5” by 11”) 

Small 11 by 17 inch (11” by 17”) 

 

 

Paid downloads 

Medium Poster 18 by 24 inch (18” by 24”) with or without frame available 

Large Poster 24 by 36 inch (24” by 36”) with or without frame available 

(36 by 24 inch) posters are available with a frame from the store. 

 

 

Food label Worksheets

Free blank food label lesson sheets you can download and print for you, your client or class. Each sheet contains a blank food label that you can fill in with the correct numbers or information. There are also questions at the bottom that quizzes your knowledge of the food label.

Nutrition food label worksheet you can download and print.

 

For your convenience, each printout is available in word format so you can customize the questions and labels to fit your lesson plan. These worksheets can be downloaded in pdf and jpg format and printed onto an 11 by 8 ½ inch sheet of paper. 

How to download a blank food label

1. Simply double click on the format of your choice (pdf, word, jpg)

2. Find a printer and click print. 

 

How to decod food label terminology

Many manufacturers have come up with fat-free or reduced-fat products to replace their original full-fat items. You must understand, fat free does not mean calorie free. It is important that you know what labels mean when shopping.

Read more: How to decod food label terminology

Food Label

The new food labels mandated by the Food and Drug Administration for processed foods were non most products as of July, 1994. Single ingredient foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish and unprocessed grains are not required to have labels. The new labels must contain the following information.

 

Learn how to read food label with this printable sample 

The first listing on a food label is what is considered a serving size for the product. For example, the label may read “serving size 6 cookies”. This means numbers and percentages listed are for the serving size listed. Next the label will tell you how many servings are in the package. In the cookie example, if the label reads “servings per container 12”, that means there are 6 x 12= 72 cookies in the container. If you eat them all, that’s 12 servings not one that you have eaten.  

Many people get confused by this number because they are not reading these two items carefully. 

The next section gives you a list of amount per serving. First you will see the total calorie count and calorie amount that come from fat. (Remember this is per serving). For example, if it reads “120 calories and calories from fat 36” this means that each serving is 120 calories which 36 of those calories comes from fat. 

The next section gives you a breakdown of how much fat each serving contains. The fat amount is measured in grams. The label also shows you the percent daily value according to a 2000 calorie diet. You will notice that total, saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat. 

You will next see cholesterol and sodium measured in milligrams (mg) and the daily percent value. The top two sections should be avoided or limited as much as possible. 

Total carbohydrate, dietary fiber and sugars are shown in grams (g). Also the daily percent value is also listed. For example, your product may contain 20 grams of carbohydrate which may account for 7 percent of your total carbs your body need for the day. The amount of Protein is also listed in grams but it does not list the percentages. 

The next section list minerals that are important and you should try to get enough of in your diet. These are vitamin A, C, Calcium and Iron which list the percentage each serving give your body. 

The next section below gives you the suggested amount of each of the above sections in grams and milligrams for a 2000 and 2500 calorie diet. For example a label will give you the following readings. 

Total fat   less than 66g for 2000 83 g for 2500 

Sat fat      less than 20 g for 2000 25 g for 2500 

Cholesterol less than 300g for 2000 300 mg for 2500 

Sodium      less than  2,400 mg for 2000 and 2,400 mg for 2500 

Total Carbohydrate  300 g for 2000 375 g and 2500 

Dietary Fiber             25g for 2000 and 30 g for 2500 

The last thing you will see is a calories per gram listing for fat, carbohydrate and protein. For example, it will show fat 9, carbohydrate 4 and protein 4. 


Label Reading

The new food labels mandated by the Food and Drug Administration for processed foods were non most products as of July, 1994. Single ingredient foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish and unprocessed grains are not required to have labels. The new labels must contain the following information.

Total calories

Cholesterol

Sugars

Calcium

Calories from fat

Dietary fiber

Protein

Iron

Total fat

Sodium

Vitamin A

Saturated fat

Total Carbohydrates

Vitamin C

When reading labels:

1. Look carefully at the serving size. If your normal serving size is more or less than the serving listed, you’ll need to adjust when considering the amount of fat(or carbohydrates, or proteins) in the product.

2. Look at the calories from fat. Figure the percent of calories coming from fat by dividing the total calories into the calories from fat . Figure the percent of calores coming from fat by dividing the total calories into the calories from fat (in the example above: 36/120 = 30%

3.Look at the grams of fat in the food and consider how this food fits into your total daily fat gram allotment.

4.The percentage (%) daily value can be confusing for some clients. It measures the amount of the particular nutrient in the food (e.g.,fat) against the amount of that nutrient an average person is supposed to have in one day. So, if you consume a 2,000 calorie per day diet, 30% fat is 600 calories from fat or about 65-66 grams of fat (see bottom of label). A serving of six cookies nets four grams of fat which is 6% of the 66 total grams of fat you are allowed per day.

5.On the bottom of each label is a little nutrition lesson.

Read more: Food Label