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Using Food Labels

Author(s): Nancy Moreno, PhD, and Barbara Tharp, MS.

What Are Food Labels?

Remind students of the “Healthy Eating” activity they used at the beginning of this unit. They learned that it is important to: balance the foods we eat with physical activity; consume plenty of grain products, vegetables and fruits; choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol; and moderate our intake of sugars and salt.

Distribute copies of the “From the Label to the Table!” student page. Have students read the label on the student page out loud in their groups. 

To focus students’ attention, begin by asking questions like, What are food labels? Have you noticed that packaged foods now have uniform labels that provide information about the nutritional value of foods? How can we be sure that the foods we eat each day contain the nutrients we need? and Why do you think food labels are important? 

Use the “From the Label to the Table!” worksheet to help students understand that the nutritional information provided on food labels helps people make better choices about which foods to buy and eat. Explain that the labels include information related to serving size, calories, fat, carbohydrates, sodium, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Tell students that labels also provide nutrient reference values, expressed as “% Daily Values,” to help consumers understand how a food fits into an overall daily diet. Inform students that they will find out how much sugar is contained in a typical soft drink. 

Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932