Reading Food Labels

Appetite for Life

Reading Food Labels

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A guide to better choices

How to make better choices when buying store bought packaged foods.

Look for the stars

  • The Health Star Rating is a quick and easy way to compare similar packaged foods, for example breakfast cereals.
  • The Health Star Rating system is not intended for fresh unpackaged foods like fruit and vegetables. These foods are recommended to be a main part of family eating.
  • The more stars, the healthier the choice.
  • Health Star Rating icon

The Health Star Rating system is an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory governments in partnership with industry, public health and consumer groups. It is a voluntary program. To find out more about The Health Star Rating

Check the date

  • 'Use-by' – food should not be eaten after this date as it may not be safe.
  • 'Best-before' – food can be eaten after this date but the quality may not be as good.

The Nutrition Information Panel (NIP)

  • Most packaged foods will have a NIP.
  • Use the panel to compare similar packaged foods and drinks.
  • The panel may have more nutrients listed if the packaged food is making a 'nutrition content claim' for example, "a good source of calcium".

The Nutrional Information Panel

The ingredient list

The ingredient list can tell you why a packaged food is high in sugar, salt or fat. Ingredients are listed from most to least in quantity.

If you are watching how much fat, sugar or salt you eat, look for the other names of these ingredients.

FAT

SUGAR

SALT

beef fat

brown sugar

baking powder

coconut

corn syrup

booster

coconut oil

dextrose

celery salt

copha

disaccharides

garlic salt

cream

fructose

meat/yeast extract

dripping

glucose

sodium

lard

golden syrup

monosodium glutamate

mayonnaise

honey

MSG

milk solids

lactose

sodium bicarbonate

nuts

malt

sodium metabisulphate

oil

maltose

rock salt

oven fried/baked

mannitol

sea salt

palm oil

maple syrup

sodium nitrate/nitrite

sour cream

molasses

stock cubes

 

monosaccharides

onion salt

 

raw sugar

 
 

sorbitol

 
 

sucrose

 
 

xylitol

 
 

castor sugar

 
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