Get to Know Your Food Labels for a Healthier Diet and Food Budget

by Eva Marienchild
Know Your Food Labels for Healthier Food Budget photo

You should get to know your food labels. A little knowledge can mean a healthier diet and a healthier food budget for you and your family.

Today I picked up an egg substitute. I couldn’t find the ingredients listed anywhere, so I asked my friend to see if he could spot them. We finally discovered, in small print, the ingredients. I was then able to decide if it was worth the $4.00 price tag or if I should just buy a carton of eggs.

Savvy shoppers have to peruse the product on the front, back, and sides. You’ll generally be able to spot what you’re looking for, but occasionally, you’ll need to do some searching.

Let’s look at a few things to consider when hoping to find the best possible value for your food dollar.

1. Become familiar with nutritional information lingo.

Nutrition facts should include the serving size, the servings per container, and the amount per serving. Calories, total fat, and other helpful information is also listed.

Compare one brand against another to see that you’re getting a good value. When you see the word “fortified,” know that it means that although that particular vitamin or mineral isn’t naturally occurring in the product, the manufacturer has added it to improve the nutritional value.

Learn to decipher where the vitamins, minerals, and other important information are listed on the items you’re considering purchasing. This link breaks down where the vitamins and minerals are in your foods.

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2. If something tastes sweet, chances are it got that way from added sugar.

Are you trying to avoid sugar? Don’t spend money buying something with “hidden” sugar.

Sugar comes in many forms, including dextrose, sucrose, fructose, cane sugar, table sugar, and granulated sugar. Here’s a very helpful list of sweeteners.

3. The simpler the ingredients on the back panel, the better the value.

When you don’t see a lot of chemicals, colors or preservatives, you’re getting more food for your dollar.

4. Don’t just go by the front packaging when making a decision.

A breakfast cereal with the headline “All Natural” stamped across the front of the box sounds great, but we need to know what that means. Run your finger down the ingredients list to check out how the contents are classified. Read here for more information.

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5. Substitute affordable alternatives.

If you are trying to avoid the high-sugar content in jams, opt for real fruit. It’s more economical and just as delicious!

If your favorite breakfast cereal has way too many carbohydrates on its ingredients list, check out which items on that list you like the most and purchase those items instead. For instance, you might try oat bran, steel cut oats, or whole wheat porridge.

If you love wild-caught salmon but want to steer clear of the high amounts of sodium in the pricey canned fish, purchase a small cut of fresh Alaskan Salmon at the seafood counter.

6. If you buy in bulk and can’t figure out the measurements, ask for assistance.

Sometimes there are several sizes available on the shelf and comparable size information isn’t always clear. With a little help, you’ll be able to figure out which item is the better deal.

7. If the print is too small, bring along a small magnifying glass to whip out when needed.

An informed consumer saves money and time by selecting food choices wisely. Perusing labels is always going to prove enlightening and will help you get your money’s worth. See this link for additional information.

Reviewed April 2021

About the Author

Eva Marienchild is a health, home and life skills wordsmith, artist and voice actor who seeks to segue her skills into forums which are of help to the most people.

Little Luxuries

Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher, our free twice-weekly newsletter aimed at helping you live better for less on the money you already have!

Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!

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