Posted: Jun 14, 2013
Knowing the calorie and nutrient content of the foods you eat can help you make healthy choices. There are a number of ways for you to get this information:
Check the ‘Nutrition Facts’ Table on Food Labels
Nutrition labelling is mandatory on most packaged foods in Canada. The Nutrition Facts table tells you how much of the food is a serving, the calories in that serving, and the amount of key nutrients such as fat, sodium, fibre and sugar, as well as vitamins and minerals that are in a serving of that food. The table also gives you the % Daily Value (%DV) for each of the nutrients which tells you if a food has a little or a lot of a nutrient.; 5% DV or less is a little and 15% DV or more is a lot for any nutrient.
Most chain restaurants now have websites where you can find the nutrient and calorie content of their menu items. You can also ask the manager or server in restaurants and coffee shops as they will often have an analysis of the menu items on hand. A few places even post the nutrient content of their menu items for their customers.
EATracker.ca from Dietitians of Canada lets you track your daily food and activity choices and check your progress over time. It provides feedback on your total intake of calories and nutrients and compares this to what is recommended for your age, sex, and activity level. It also calculates your body mass index (BMI) and gives information to help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Eatwise.ca from Dietitians of Canada lets you look up some common foods and view the nutrients they contain in a Nutrition Facts table. Search for food items with and without food labels, such as an apple, pork chops, or a specific brand of cereal. The easy-to-use online tool will help you with your everyday food decisions.
To find out the calorie and nutrient content of your favourite family recipe, visit Recipe Analyzer from Dietitians of Canada at www.eatracker.ca. Simply enter the ingredients of your recipe and the analyzer will provide a nutrient profile for one serving of your recipe, the number of Food Guide servings in one serving, and tips for making healthy ingredient substitutions.
Nutrient Values of Some Common Foods
Nutrient Value of Some Common Foods, published by Health Canada, lists nutrients such as calories, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and more for all major foods. You can order your own copy or it’s also available free online at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/fiche-nutri-data/index-eng.php.
To learn more about reading the Nutrition Facts table, visit Health Canada at http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/label-etiquetage/tips-conseils/nutrition-fact-valeur-nutritive-eng.php.