Obesity has become a serious problem in the United States. You may have heard about First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, which just celebrated its first anniversary. Or you may have read our previous posts about the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (link) and the government’s new healthy eating guidelines (link). Now, food packaging is getting an overhaul – but as consumers, we still need to be careful about selecting food based on packaging claims.
According to the New York Times, food makers and grocers announced new packaging for many popular brands last month. The labels will display the amounts of four nutrients that can be unhealthy – calories, sodium, saturated fat and sugar. When eaten in excess, these are the things that can lead to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. The packaging will also list up to two of eight beneficial nutrients, which include potassium, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, iron and protein. The manufacturers had spent several months last year working the the White House to develop a labeling system like this, but eventually stopped talks to develop their own system of packaging independently. Members of the Obama administration did not want to allow beneficial nutrients to be listed on the packaging next to unhealthy ones. The idea behind labeling foods with unhealthy nutrients was to educate consumers about their food choices in a simple and user-friendly way. The inclusion of healthy nutrients can be misleading, and could even lead to manufacturers unnecessarily fortifying their products. In the next few months, be aware of the new labels on packaging. Don’t disregard high levels of unhealthy nutrients, even if the package says the product contains something good for you.
Fruit is always a healthy option. It never contains fat, sodium or cholesterol. Instead, fruit is packed with nutrients that may include vitamin C, vitamin A, dietary fiber, potassium and iron. Eating fruit also helps keep your body hydrated, since it is a great source of water. Many kinds of fruit packs a huge nutritional punch for relatively few calories. For example, FruitShare™ will begin shipping kumquats next week. These little citrus fruits are only a little bigger than a grape, but eating seven of them will fulfill 100% of your daily recommended vitamin C, as well as 35% of your dietary fiber and about 7% of several other vitamins and minerals – all for about 95 calories. The high water content will help fill you up, making this a great, filling snack that has a lot of nutritional power. Forget pre-packaged snacks with misleading labels; order from FruitShare™ and always have the freshest in-season organic fruit at your fingertips.