Saturated fat. Carbs. Calories. These days, everyone reads nutrition facts on food labels. But what can they do for you and your baby during your pregnancy and beyond?

Food labels can help you keep track of your daily nutrients.

Things your developing baby needs, like iron, zinc and folic acid, along with your daily fiber and fats.

Food labels can help you spot allergens or animal products.

Reading Food Labels

This is important if you're allergic to peanuts, eggs, milk, wheat or sulfites. Or if you're a vegetarian.

Food labels can help you separate the facts from the hype.

Even though “low fat” milk contains 2% fat by weight, 35% of its calories still come from fat. Read carefully.

Food labels define serving sizes.

Compare the label serving size with the portion you eat to determine the actual calories and nutrients.

When looking at infant formula labels the serving size is always 100 Calories worth of formula, or 5 fl oz of most formulas.

The ingredient listing on the label can expose the differences between name brands and private label brands.

Some marketers would like to have you believe that private label products offer the same thing, only cheaper. They even make the packaging look similar. By scrutinizing the ingredient list on the label, you can you pick out important differences in ingredients.

The Nutrition Facts Table

Nutrition Facts

Provides you with information on the Calories and 13 nutrients for the serving size shown. Compare the serving size on the package to the amount that you eat.

Percent Daily Value

% Daily Value puts nutrients on a scale from 0% to 100%. This scale tells you if there is a little or a lot of a nutrient in 1 serving of packaged food.

Choose packaged foods with a low % Daily Value of:

  • Fat, saturated fat, trans fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Sodium

Choose packaged foods with a high % Daily Value of:

  • Fiber
  • Vitamin A and vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron