How to Read a Nutrition Facts Label

How to Read a Nutrition Facts Label

The Bennett Foundation

Last week we shared the importance of reading a Nutrition Facts label top to bottom. While grazing the Nutritional Facts label is a good start, truly understanding and comprehending the information is where you will reap the rewards.  

In case you missed last week’s blog it can be read here. 

One mission of The Bennett Foundation is to improve the health and well-being of children and their families. We provide to you, a quick guide to help you digest the often-misleading information, and what to look for but also avoid. Starting from the top.  

Serving size: One example uses is Pop-Tarts, for instance, two come in one package. The label says one serving is 200 calories. The catch is that’s for “one pastry.” Remember this number when reading the rest of the label.  

Calories: The number of calories provided is per serving, not the whole package. See the serving size prior to checking the calories.  


Total fat: Look for foods low in saturated and trans-fat. Good fats that you should eat are avocados, fish, nuts, and dark chocolate. 

Cholesterol: Did you know cholesterol was only found in animal products? Vegetables and other plant-based foods should feature regularly in a diet to lower cholesterol. 

Sodium: The recommended amount of sodium is 2,300 milligrams per day. As stated in last week’s blog, excess sodium can increase blood pressure in addition to the risk of stroke and heart failure. Try to avoid frozen foods as they can contain upwards of 1,000 grams of sodium per serving. 

Total Carbohydrate:  

  • Fiber: Research shows the average person does not consume enough fiber per day. Choose foods with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving as 35 grams of fiber per day should be the goal. Below are some good examples of foods high in fiber:  
  • Sugar: Choose foods that contain less than 10 grams of sugar per serving. It should be noted, if sugar is the first ingredient listed in the ingredient list, the product most likely has too much sugar.  

Protein: Protein is key for building & repairing muscle, hair, nails, and bones. Look for foods like chicken, beef, eggs, and quinoa as a source. Active people may require more of this!  

Vitamins: The more, the merrier. Look for high in vitamins A and C, minerals (calcium and iron) and fiber.  

% Daily Value (DV): This is the recommended levels of nutrients for a person consuming 2,000 calories per day. A general rule of thumb is that 5% or less of a value is considered low, 20% or more is considered high.  

Your dieting goals don’t have to be an overnight transition. Start with baby steps, make it a goal to look for foods high in fiber and low in sodium! 

In our blog next week, we will share how Macklemore and Michael Bennett teamed up to distribute a special book to the Seattle Public Schools.