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Nutrition Facts Label: What You Need to Know

Nutrition LabelDeciphering the Nutrition Facts Label found on foods can be tough. What does it all mean? Understanding what's behind some of the more common label names and numbers can save you time, money and maybe a few calories on your next trip to the grocery store.

Serving Size

All the label information is based on one serving.

Amount Per Serving

If you eat one serving, everything you need is on the label.
If you eat two servings, double the information.
If you eat half of a serving, cut the information in half.

Calories and Calories from Fat

Total calories and total calories from fat are per serving, so make sure you determine the servings per packages before diving in.

Total Fat

Look beyond the Total Fat number and dig into the details. Healthier foods have small amounts of saturated fat and trans fat and higher amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat.

Total Carbohydrate

Read the fine print under the Total Carbohydrate number, which refers to the amount of starch, sugar, sugar alcohols and fiber in one serving. High fiber foods, which are good for you, have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.

Sodium

Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure. The recommended daily allowance for an average adult is 2,300 milligrams. Low sodium foods have 140 milligrams or less. Even foods deemed good-for-you, such as low-fat cottage cheese, can have high sodium levels. (A one-cup serving of cottage cheese can have almost 1,000 mg of sodium!)

Read more about food labels.

Easy Hummus

This easy to make, delicious Mediterranean Hummus is a healthy, inexpensive snack option.

Mediterranean Hummus

30 oz canned, low-sodium garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained, rinsed
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tsp minced garlic, from jar
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried parsley

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Serve with your favorite veggies.