This post is part of the YummyMummyClub.ca and the Food & Consumer Products of Canada #FocusOnTheFacts
This past fall, our life became a bit of a whirlwind when we made the decision to pack up our family and move 5-hours away. My husband had been offered a fantastic opportunity through his work, with the condition that we move quite quickly. We were leaving everything and everyone we knew behind and to be honest, it was a bit frightening. However, we knew it could be a wonderful opportunity for our family; a chance for new experiences and positive changes. A fresh start!
In preparation for the transition, my husband and I spent many hours discussing the changes that would come along with the move. How we would adapt to being Anglos living in a primarily French area, ways that two somewhat introverted people could make new local friends, and what we could do with all the extra time we’d get as a family since his daily commute was being cut down by more than half. Having not paid much attention to our own health & wellness since becoming parents, we mutually agreed to use this new fresh start as an opportunity to make healthy changes, including spending more time outside as a family, and paying closer attention to what we are putting into our bodies.
ENDING THE CYCLE AT THE SOURCE
Being the primary shopper and cook in our household, I started with a simple goal: make more informed choices when shopping and meal planning. If I don’t buy food that isn’t good for us, we won’t eat it! This, of course, means choosing more fresh produce, leaner cuts of meat, and healthier packaged products.
FOCUS ON THE FACTS
It turns out that making these choices isn’t as hard as one would think. It all comes down to the facts – and in Canada, these can be found on the Nutrition Facts table (NFt) which appears on most packaged food products. The NFt is designed to allow us to compare and make informed decisions about what we ingest. By using the Serving Size and % DV (Percent Daily Value), we are able to choose foods that have more of what we want to put in our bodies and less of what we don’t.
BECOME A NUTRITION FACT FINDER
It is important to begin with the Serving Size. This varies from product to product and is not necessarily reflective of the actual quantity you will consume, meaning you will need to adjust the numbers on the NFt. When comparing two products, also check to see if the Serving Sizes are similar and adjust accordingly – if not, you could unknowingly choose the wrong product.
Next, take a look at the % DV (Percent Daily Value) which is located on the right hand side of the NFt, and is used to determine if a Serving Size has a little or a lot of a nutrient. This is also a great way to compare two products. A 5% DV or less means the serving contains a little of the nutrient, 15% DV or more means it contains a lot of the nutrient. This allows you to choose foods that have more of the nutrients you want, such as fiber and calcium, and less of those you don’t, like saturated fats and sodium.
SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE
Remember the saying “Knowing is half the battle?” Ensuring my children eat healthy foods is, of course, a big part of my job as their mother, but so is making sure they understand why the foods are good for them. When shopping, we are making sure to involve our kids in the process. My youngest will check the Nutrition Facts table for sodium content, while my son will compare the Serving Sizes on different products (comes in handy for practicing his math as well). By giving them the tools to recognize how to make informed choices, we will be helping them form healthy habits that will last long into their future.
You and your family can learn more about how to use the NFt at Canada.ca/NutritionFacts
Then be sure to test your knowledge at www.FocusOnTheFacts.ca for your chance to win a $300 grocery gift card!