It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Labelman! | The Family Fork

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Labelman!

Are you a label reader? Are your kids? Do you know what you're looking at when you do read the Nutrition Facts food label?

I'm a big Nutrition Facts label reader (kind of obsessed actually) and I assume everyone else is cause I just can't stop myself from reading them. But research shows most people are at least somewhat confused by the Nutrition Facts label (especially that %Daily Value business). The information isn't entirely clear.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seems to have finally gotten that message. They've come up with "Labelman", a cartoon character that guides the confused consumer through their new web-based user friendly program "Make Your Calories Count". Labelman takes on the ABCs of the Nutrition Facts label to help the reader control calories and determine serving size. He also has lessons focusing on key nutrients to either look for (fiber & calcium) or keep to a minimum (saturated fat and sodium). Oh yeah, and he explains what's behind %Daily Values.

"Make Your Calories" count is meant for the general consumer but it is a bit elementary. And exactly why I think it would be a great tool for teens to learn label reading. I can't tell you how many times when I teach label reading and ask students how many calories in a 20 ounce bottle of regular Coke, they say "100 calories". They just haven't been taught that there's more than one serving in that bottle (or that Big Grab Bag of Cheetoes they had for lunch), two and a half to be exact. They are always flabbergasted to know that their 20 ouncer has a whopping 250 calories.

If you've got teens or work with teens introduce them to the site. Tweens can use it too but it's too complex for the younger kids. And if you're a little confused by the Nutrition Facts label Labelman may be just the thing.

Click here to go the online program.

Have a fruit and veggie filled day!
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About the Author

Registered dietitian Andrea N. Giancoli is a nutrition advocate, consultant and educator.