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The Super Simple Way To Read Nutrition Labels For Busy Mums

You don't need to be a nutritional practitioner like myself, or a dietitian to make healthy food choices. When I take my clients on a grocery tour, I'll show them exactly how to navigate the local grocer or Coles and see through the product marketing for the truth. In this post, I'm sharing some super simple ways to nutrition labels when you're a busy mum but want to provide the best nutrition for your family and kids.

The Super Simple Way To Read Nutrition Labels For Busy Mums
The Super Simple Way To Read Nutrition Labels For Busy Mums

Nutrition labels are supposed to display vital information about what's inside pre-packaged or processed foods. This includes also vital details on how many calories and nutrients are in a standard amount of the product — often a suggested single serving.

The nutrition label of food items are supposed to tell you what's in the food you're buying, but in all honesty, they can be quite tricky to navigate. When you're trying to be mindful of what you and your family are consuming, the confusion nutrition labels crates can make it that much more difficult. So today, I want to share some super simple tips to help you properly read the nutrition labels and feel confident in knowing you are buying the right products for yourself.

Serving Size

One of the easiest ways to convince consumers into thinking a product is low-calorie, low-sugar, or low-fat is to make the serving size smaller than what anyone would typically consume. When you quickly glance at the nutrition label on your favourite snack, you might see only 5g of sugar, but you don't notice that this is only for a small handful. If you know that you typically finish a whole bag in one sitting, a serving size of one handful isn't realistic.

Always look at the serving size carefully, and then you can accurately calculate how many servings you'll probably consume in one sitting. It can be useful to use you hand to compare portions size, and this is something I teach my clients as follows:

  • Your fist averages out to 1 cup which helps with portioning pasta, rice, potato or fruit

  • Your palm is useful to help portion out fish, meat, chicken and portion for your plate

  • A handful is useful for estimating nuts, seeds, berries and fruits

  • Two handfuls can be used to portion out fresh or cooked vegetables

  • Use you thumb to portion cheese, butter, nut butters and spreads

  • The tip of your thumb is a teaspoon and useful for measuring dressing, oil or mayo

Have you tried this before? I definitely recombined giving it go this week. Its been so helpful to many of my clients.

Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)

Now that you've compared the serving size to how much you'll actually eat, it is equally important to understand how much of each nutrient is in your food. The RDI of a certain macro or food source tells you how much of the recommended daily intake for each nutrient this product contains. Be especially careful of the daily value percentage of saturated fats and sugars. And remember the following:

  • Restrict your total sugar intake to 6 teaspoons or 24 grams per day

  • Look for high-fibre foods that help you reach the RDI of 30g of dietary fibre per day

  • Aim for up to 56g of clean, lean protein from animal or plant-based sources

  • Restrict carbs to under 320g per day unless following a medically prescribed diet

  • Choose carbs that come from high-fibre sources; avoid all processed or packaged foods

How do you measure up? If you haven't been taking notice of the nutrients you have been consuming the above is a super simple way to start.

Read The Ingredients

Ingredient lists can't lie, but they can be very deceiving. If a product is advertised as "no sugar," check the ingredients to see if there are any sugar alternatives. Although these ingredients might not be white table sugar, they can still have a high sugar content— and you'll want to be vigilant when knowing what you're looking for in these ingredient lists. Click here for all the hidden names of sugar, its eye-opening!

Typically, packaged product ingredients are listed in order of those that contain the highest amount to the lowest. If a product advertises that it includes something healthy like vegetables, check the ingredients to see if it's near the top or bottom of the list. If it's near the bottom, it's probably an insignificant amount. This is s sneaky loophole that allows companies to advertise a product as a "healthy" food even if the main ingredients aren't.

Sugar is a top one to look out for with this type of manipulative manufacturer labelling. If it is in the top 1-5 five ingredients, I recommend you avoid it. If sugar is the first or second ingredient, this means there is a large amount of it and many times, more than what is listed on the nutritional label. Look for another option or consider making your own food item from scratch.

Scrutinise Health Claims

How savvy are you at this? The minute I see "high protein source" or "high fibre" plastered on the box of a cereal or other shelf product, I look the other way. And I recommend you do too.

If a food company advertises any health claims on their food packaging, always take a closer look. Many of these marketing words, such as "no sugar added" or "high-fibre" or "all natural" don't mean anything concrete. These words are placed on packaging to dupe you into feeling confident that you're buying something healthy, but knowing how to read your nutrition label is the only accurate way to know for sure. And food companies are literally banking on the fact, many people never read labels. When you scrutinise the label, you'll be surprised to discover how dodgy this marketing can be!

It takes some effort, but you can totally shift your grocery shopping habits very quickly by taking a few extra minutes to study the nutrition labels before you buy. Before long, you'll be a nutrition label reading pro!

Healthy + happiness,

Emma Lisa xx

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Sep 04, 2021

This was very helpful thank you so much. Enjoyed reading it!

Emma Lisa
Emma Lisa
Sep 24, 2021
Replying to

I'm so glad you enjoyed it.


Aug 29, 2021

Is going low carb good or bad? I hear so many arguments for both 🤷‍♀️

Emma Lisa
Emma Lisa
Sep 24, 2021
Replying to

Excellent question. It really depends on your goals and unique health condition. A wholefood-based, low carb diet can have many health benefits. The problems arise when the restriction of carbs causes nutritional deficiencies, imbalances and becomes to strict. Its best to balance healthy wholefoods with regular diet and exercise. Many carbs are necessary for optimum health and are densely nutritious.


Aug 28, 2021

Thank you for this I always find reading food labels so frustrating and confusing. You’ve made it quite simple. Great article!!

Emma Lisa
Emma Lisa
Sep 24, 2021
Replying to

Oh you are most welcome, and makes my happy its a little easy now. Bookmark this post for handy reference.

Health + happiness


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Hello, I'm Emma Lisa

PSSST, my mission? To support as many women and mothers as I can to take back control of their health! I am lit up teaching simple steps to a well-balanced diet and Life that you can absolutely say you love!


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