How to read food labels: watch out for additives
September 19, 2018
Let’s talk about food labels. Do you know what’s in your food? Do you know the difference between natural and artificial flavors?
With modern technology and supply chains, we’re often used to eating highly processed foods. And while the FDA restricts the use of some chemicals, many more are untested and unregulated. It can be difficult to interpret food labels. And no one expects you to know all the science around every ingredient on the list!
So how can you choose the best option for your family’s health? If your goal is to eat a healthy, tasty, organic diet, then you should be avoiding artificial flavors, preservatives, additives, and excessive sugar or salt. In today’s post, we’ll start by taking a look at natural and artificial flavorings.
The difference is simple: artificial flavors SMELL good, but natural flavors TASTE good. Because we use our sense of smell to decide which foods are good or bad, some highly processed foods use smell to trick your taste buds. Some even add artificial colors to make the artificial flavor more convincing. But here’s the tricky part: some brands use “natural” flavorings which aren’t extracted from the actual food they are selling.
If you really want to eat authentic, unprocessed food, then avoid food labels which mention artificial and natural added flavorings. You will be able to recognize genuinely natural food – with no added flavors – by its authentic color and satisfying taste. Watch out for foods which appear out of season, too! Organic, minimally processed food will follow the patterns of nature.
Here are some positive signs to look for on your food labels:
⁃ USDA ORGANIC LABEL. This means the food is certified free of synthetic hormones, genetic engineering, synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Just like First Spoons meals!
⁃ COUNTRY OF ORIGIN. When you shop local, you know that your food is in season. You’re supporting the local economy, too.
⁃ VITAMINS AND FIBRE. Foods with great nutritional value, like fruits and vegetables, are packed with vitamins and fiber for a healthy system. Use the nutrition label to understand how they can benefit baby’s diet.
And here’s what to avoid:
⁃ POTASSIUM BROMATE. This additive is not permitted in food in Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union. However, it’s still used in bread and baked goods from the United States. It’s safer to buy baked goods from organic suppliers, such as First Spoons.
⁃ This meat substitute has been known to cause allergic reactions. If you want to be meat-free, then try real organic meals, such as the First Spoons vegetarian range.
⁃ FAT, SUGARS, CHOLESTEROL, AND SODIUM. Check these quantities on the nutrition label. If they’re very high, chances are, you’re looking at highly-processed food.
At First Spoons, we only use organic ingredients, and we minimize salt and sugar. You’ll never find any artificial additives, preservatives, or flavors in our food. Our meals are made with natural ingredients, and served fresh – we simply don’t need artificial chemicals in our kitchen. We combine organic ingredients with organic cooking. So your baby will experience real, delicious food, and learn to love a healthy diet.