APRIL NUTRITION CHALLENGE
As part of our #fitnessisalifestyle campaign, I am going to create small nutrition challenges that you can work on each month! The goal isn’t perfection here.. it’s just to become a “little bit better” than you were yesterday. This is how we create new habits and lasting change. Let’s use each other for motivation and new ideas!!
The challenge for APRIL is:
READ NUTRITION LABELS
I’m going to start this post by saying that MOST of the food you buy shouldn’t even have a nutrition label! Think fruits and veggies 😉 But, for the items you do want to purchase with labels, I want to help you navigate them a little bit better.
Let’s start with the “NUTRITION FACTS”. First thing to notice here is the serving size. A lot of manufacturers will manipulate the serving size to make their products appear to have less fat or sugar. I mean, is a pint of ice cream REALLY 4 servings 😉 Think about how many ‘servings’ you would eat of the product and make sure to calculate totals from there.
Next, check out the Protein, Carb and Fat numbers. I can’t give you specific ranges to look for here as it really depends on the food and what else you’re eating, but you will want to pay attention to them. I know when I’m buying something like a breakfast sausage, I try to make sure the fat is not higher than the amount of protein per serving. Also, check out the sugar content of your food and be sure to choose foods with minimal sugars!
The label to the left is from Kodiak Cakes Minute Muffins… notice the 19g of sugar. According to the American Health Association woman should be consuming less than 25g of sugar per day (37.5g for men), this product would just about use that up. Sugar is used in MANY packaged and processed foods to make them taste better… even foods you wouldn’t expect to have added sugar. Check your labels!
The next thing to look at is the “INGREDIENTS LIST”. You’re looking for a minimal list of ingredients that you can pronounce and know what they are… REAL FOOD! I don’t want Cellulose Gum, Caramel Colour and Sodium Hexametaphosphate in my foods! A lot of food sensitivities can come from additives, preservatives and fillers that are in packaged foods. Our bodies don’t recognize many of them and thus we can have problems ranging from digestive distress to brain fog to hives.
Companies will also use phrases like ‘natural and artificial flavors’, ‘gluten free’, ‘all natural’ and ‘antioxidants’ to try and attract people to their products. Don’t be fooled by these buzz words… just because a product is gluten free doesn’t make it healthy. Check out the ingredients list to see what the manufacturer replaced the gluten with.. It may not be a better option. Vani Hari has a great website, https://foodbabe.com/, where she really investigates food labeling and product claims and has influenced many large companies to change what’s in their foods.
Did you know that ingredients are listed in order of weight or quantity in the product? The first 3 will then comprise most of the food. This is where I pay the MOST attention. Back to the sugar discussion, if sugar is in the first 3 ingredients I really second guess if I want the item.. I will usually look a little harder at similar products and see if I find any better ingredients. Things like yogurt, granola, sausages, and tomato sauce are good examples. Also, anything ending in -OSE is actually sugar! That means sucrose, dextrose, glucose, fructose, lactose, and maltose along with ‘cane’, ‘nectar’ and ‘syrup’, and companies will frequently list several of these in the same product.
The goal here is to start being more AWARE of what’s in your food. Don’t buy a product just because it claims to be “all natural”. Make sure you are familiar with exactly what you are putting in your body… it will directly affect how you feel 🙂 And, as always, let’s post some pictures of you crushing this challenge on Facebook and Instagram with #fitnessisalifestyle and #diablocrossfit.
Coach Jennifer Ismar