Food Labels: Look at them!
Meera and her mother were shopping. She requested her favourite soft drink and snacks. Her mother, however, suggested that she eat something wholesome. Meera didn’t waver. She said, “Soda and chips are also nutritious. They are really good and amazing.” Her mother decided to adopt a new strategy.
Let’s examine the chips package and your preferred soft drink together, Meera, she said. Whether they are healthy for you or not may be determined. When Meera studied the food label, she was shocked to learn that the chips had almost little nutritional value and the soft drink was heavy in sugar. “I will stick to nutritious eating from now on,” she promised her mum.
This is a case in many households. The things that you find tasty and addictive are not always good for you. You always want to choose the best for your family and yourself. How can you avoid being duped by advertisements and choose healthy options? Simply select the item, turn it over, and read the food label.
During the festival season, people in India often veer from their normal eating patterns and indulge in binge-eating and unhealthy foods that aren’t usually a part of their regular diet. While treating yourself once in a while is acceptable, one must also learn to intentionally avoid items that are bad for their health and can cause long-term problems.
The Need to Read Food Labels
We shall all indulge in sweets and gift-exchanging as the festive season continues and Diwali draws closer. But we also need to be aware of our health. We double-check the packaging and expiration date on every packaged food item we buy. But we also need to look at the expiration dates of sweets. Traditionally produced milk-based sweets like gulab jamun, rasgulla, and rasmalai, among others, are frequently created using khoya, chhena, sugar, as well as extra ingredients including maida, flavours, and colours. Sweets have a shorter shelf life and are more prone to microbial growth, especially those that contain dairy products. So it is crucial to prepare them with cleanliness and hygiene and to consume them before their shelf life expires.
- Select a milk-based dessert like kheer, mishit doi, shrikhand, or sandesh. These treats are simple to make at home with any changes we choose and milk is a superb supply of first-rate protein.
- Fresh fruits, dried fruits like dates and raisins, and natural flavourings like cinnamon and nutmeg can all be used in place of sugar.
- Choose a healthy dessert from the available options.
- Experiment with something novel and outlandish that includes a useful food. A few examples include dates sesame ladoo, oats dates nut ladoo, walnut ladoo, methi kheer, dudhi kheer, apple sheera, fruit kheer, papaya halwa, beetroot halwa, carrot kalakand, oats pancakes with cranberry syrup, blueberry syrup, or chocolate syrup, homemade protein bars, apple pie, pumpkin pie, fruit yoghurt.
Tips to Eat Healthy
- In order to be healthy and have a stronger immune system, you should consume adequate fibre-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats
- Restrict your daily salt intake to less than five grams
- Reduce your intake of free and added sugars
- To assist avoid unhealthful weight gain, lower your total fat intake to less than 30% of your overall energy intake
- Reduce total trans fats (found in processed foods, fast food, snack food, fried food, frozen pizza, pies, cookies, margarines, and spreads) to less than 1% of total energy intake and replace it with unsaturated fat. By doing so, you can lower your risk of developing non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers.
The burden of NCDs: What can you do?
India has been suffering from the catastrophic effects of an unhealthy diet, with 135 million people being obese and the number of fatalities from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) rising. Packaged junk food is responsible for more deaths worldwide, and it is also a major contributor to obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), and cancer.
WHO advised healthy populations to reduce their intake of saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sugar, sodium, and total calories while providing adequate intakes of carbohydrates, protein, and dietary fibre in order to prevent diet-related NCDs.
Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure that you are getting enough potassium, most micronutrients, dietary fibre, and a wide range of important non-nutrient compounds. Fruits and vegetables can take the place of diets that are heavy in saturated fats, sugar, or salt.
In order to encourage healthy lifestyles, front-of-package warning labelling is essential because it enables customers to quickly, clearly, and efficiently identify items that are high in nutrients of concern linked to NCDs.