4 Things To Look Out For While Buying Packaged Food

It is always advised to read and understand the food labels while buying any type of packaged meal. Here are some points to keep in mind.


  • Packaged food is readily available in the market.
  • It is important to read the labels correctly before buying.
  • Here are four points to keep in mind.

What’s common between a bag of chips and a packaged tea-time cake? They’re both considered junk food. Junk food is a term given to foods that have a low nutritional value and a high calorific value. Junk food has an addictive nature because of its flavor, but it does not have any such healthy impact on the human body. On the other hand, it causes weight gain, increases the risk of hypertension and heart disease, and can cause lifestyle diseases too. This is why it is always advised to read and understand the food labels before buying any type of packaged meal.

Here Are 4 Points To Be Kept In Mind While Buying Packaged Food:

  • Serving Size:

Every food label has a serving size mentioned on it. While some types of packed food have one serving, others may have more than one serving. The rest of the information on the label is listed with respect to this serving size. For example, the nutritional facts listed on a box of juice may be according to a serving size of 100ml. However, there are different kinds of calories in a packed snack: carbs, proteins, fats, sugar, vitamins, and minerals.  The box may contain 200 ml. Thus, if you were to drink the whole box of juice, you would be consuming double the calories listed on the box.

  • Types of Nutrients Contained:

Calories in a packed snack are categorized as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, sugar, vitamins, and minerals. These levels are usually measured in terms of grams. Carbohydrates are made up of starch, sugar, and dietary fiber. This acts as a source of direct energy, but, except for fiber, it can also raise blood sugar levels. Ideally, you should pick packed snacks with 1-2 g of fiber per serving and low sugar levels, i.e., less than 10 g/100 g.

Next, you need to see the fat content. Pay close attention to the amount of saturated fat per serving to tell the difference between unhealthy and healthy packaged snacks for kids. Choose foods that have a low saturated fat content. If the snack has less than 1.5 grams of saturated fat per 100g, it may be listed as containing no saturated fat. However, it’s important to note that if you have more than 1 serving, the saturated fat content can add up.

You should also look at the trans-fat levels. These fats raise bad cholesterol while decreasing good cholesterol. Pick foods that have less than one gram of trans fat per serving.

Another element you should pay attention to is sodium levels. Sodium is the main component of salt. If the label mentions 100 mg of sodium, the snack contains about 250 mg of salt. To stay healthy, you should consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, as per the WHO.

  • RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance):

When shopping, look for RDA values on the nutrition labels of packaged foods. These values tell you how much fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, and energy you need based on your age, gender, and lifestyle or activity level. So, you will be able to gauge if a certain food item, for example, has more fat per serving than what is appropriate for you.

For instance, according to ICMR, men who do sedentary work need 2110 kcal of energy and 54g of protein per day. Women who do heavy work need 2720 kcal of energy and 46g of protein per day. In children, boys between the ages of 10 and 12 need 2220 kcal of energy, while girls of the same age need 2060 kcal.

  • 4. Goodies or Healthy Nutrients?

Your body needs protein to build muscles and a combination of different vitamins and minerals. This includes iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, B, C, D, etc. Picking snacks with high levels of these nutrients is hence a healthy choice.


Always read the food label carefully to make a wise choice about the food you are consuming. If you need a special diet or have health problems like high cholesterol or high blood pressure, knowing how to read food labels can help you compare different snacks and choose the healthier one.

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