National Nutrition Month: Stay Updated On the Nutrition Facts Label

Taste is just as important as nutrition when it comes to encouraging good eating.

March is National Nutrition Month!

The theme for National Nutrition Month 2014 is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” The key message here is to remember taste is just as important as nutrition. When serving healthier options to your customers, remember to incorporate healthy foods in a tasty and appealing way.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Change up your regular pizza by adding extra veggies like green pepper, tomato, or onion
  • Add fruit to your breakfast cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, or pancakes
  • Jazz up your baked potato with broccoli and low-fat cheese sauce, or salsa and black beans
  • Whip up a breakfast smoothie with low fat milk, frozen strawberries, and bananas
  • Try grating vegetables like zucchini or carrots and mixing them into your meatloaf, lasagna, or pasta sauce

For other ideas and recipes for National Nutrition Month, contact the Gordon Food Service Nutrition Resource Center at nrc@gfs.com.

One method you can use to keep track of your healthy choices is by reading the Nutrition Facts label. Most of us are familiar with the current nutrition label, which has been used since it’s debut in 1994. However, since that time the label has been widely underused and misunderstood.

Most consumers are comfortable finding the calories, total fat or carbohydrates, but the Nutrition Facts label will soon get a makeover. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed an update to the label to match the latest scientific information regarding diet and chronic diseases.

The proposed changes include:

Serving Sizes: Just as our diets have changed a lot since 1994, so will the serving sizes on the Nutrition Facts label. This is because serving sizes are required by law to match what people are the actually eating, not the serving size they should be eating.

Calories from Fat: The total, saturated, and trans fat will still be listed, but calories from fat will no longer be required. Since the type of fat is more important than the amount of fat, the calories from fat is no longer relevant.

Added Sugars: This will be added to the Nutrition Facts label underneath the Sugars to help clarify the difference between natural sugar (in fruit/juices) and sugar added to the food.

Potassium & Vitamin D: Since most Americans are not getting enough potassium and vitamin D, these two nutrients will now be added to the Nutrition Facts label. Also, vitamin A and C will no longer be required on the label. The proposed changes are intended to make it easier for consumers to use the Nutrition Facts label to make healthier choices and combat the obesity epidemic in the United States. All packaged foods will be included in the proposed changes, with the exception of certain meat, poultry and processed egg products which are regulated by the USDA. View more information about the proposal.

How are you creating healthier choices on your menu?