A conversation with a friend this weekend reminded me of the importance of nutrition education in developing a healthy lifestyle. I realized that I often take nutritional information somewhat for granted because I have spent hours upon hours at my computer, reading about nutrition and health just because I find it interesting. Not to mention that my mom is a doctor and my whole family lives a very active, healthy lifestyle, so I have been surrounded by healthy knowledge my whole life. But not everyone has had the same exposure to nutritional information, especially in other countries where being as health-conscious as we are in America (this is ironic and we all know why) just is not the norm yet. Here in France, my friend tells me that nutrition labels are just recently starting to become a “thing”, but they are often brief, complicated, and no one knows how to read them so people just ignore them all together. I am quite aware of this every time I go into a grocery store – I can’t find the information I want on the nutrition label and I just have to make blind guesses, using whatever knowledge I already have to try to make the best choice. I can understand how frustrating it must be for someone who doesn’t know how to read a nutrition label because I spend my life here constantly trying to make sense of these complicated labels, in French, and I more often than not feel intimidated, scared, and defeated by that dreadful little box on the package of any product. To some, it really is another language and that feeling just flat out sucks.
I want to share a few quick links that might help begin to demystify nutrition basics and nutrition labels.
Nutrition For Everyone – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Beginner’s Guide to Diet, Nutrition & Healthy Eating – A Calorie Counter
How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label – FDA (This link is a little dense for total beginners, but its a really excellent resource to keep on hand)
How to Read a Nutrition Label – WebMD
Good luck! Let me know if these links are useful, and if you’d like to see more like this.