Tracking Your Calories on Campus
DINING OUT and EATING ON CAMPUS
DYK that one third of your calories eaten are from foods prepared away from home? As life gets busier, food becomes more and more convenient for us to grab on the way home. However, these conveniently made to-go foods are generally higher in calories, sodium, and saturated fat, which is easier to control and limit when you’re able to make meals at home. (#Goals, amiright?)
Great News! The new FDA labeling laws are here to help you identify which meals and recipes are higher in calories so that you can make an informed decision when eating out. The FDA even made an easy-to-read infographic that’ll help you make dining out healthy and delicious.
Calorie labeling has been a big thing that the FDA has required. You'll see it at restaurants, hospitals, or generally any place with food, even on UNF’s campus! Here on campus, you can view the caloric information on all our menus online and at each dining location. Here are a few examples:
You can make the conscious decision to choose better right here on campus. Everything is labeled and the caloric information lets you know what you are about to intake. Outtakes, the convenient store on campus has their nutrition labels listed on their wall for their hot items, otherwise everything is prepackaged and labeled from the manufacturers directly. The Cafe will have separate PID's (or product identification) on each dish with the calories listed next to it. For items served in bulk, such as the dessert area, you can find the calorie information on the wall next to it. Chop'd and Wrap'd is listed next to the menu item on the wall. You can see all these examples above!
The NEW Nutrition Label
We are all familiar with the food label on the back of a packaged item; the calories per serving, how many serving sizes the item has, etc. Now, those labels are being updated. DYK? ALL manufacturers have until January 1, 2021 to make changes and comply with the new regulations. The information in the main section contains the serving size, calories and nutrient information. The bottom part contains a footnote with the daily values for 2,000 and 2,500 calorie diets including recommended dietary information such as fats, sodium and fiber.
Here is a great visual on the right to help you focus on the separate areas.
Where do you begin? “The first place to start when you look at the Nutrition Facts label is the serving size and the number of servings in the package.”
Calories provide the body fuel and energy but it’s important that we are overdoing it in one sitting. Many Americans consume too many empty calories, saturated fat and sodium without getting the proper essential nutrients our bodies need. “The calorie section of the label can help you manage your weight (i.e., gain, lose, or maintain.)”
Next, let’s review the nutrients. First, you want to be able to disseminate the difference between the nutrients you should limit versus the nutrients you want more of in your diet.
The nutrients you want to limit overall are the bad fats (saturated fat and trans-fat). These have been proven to increase the risk of certain chronic diseases, some cancers and contribute to hypertension or high blood pressure.
The nutrients you want more of include Dietary Fiber (both soluble and insoluble), Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron. “Eating enough of these nutrients can improve your health and help reduce the risk of some diseases and conditions. For example, getting enough calcium may reduce the risk of brittle bones. Eating a diet high in dietary fiber promotes healthy bowel function. Additionally, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and grain products that contain dietary fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
The daily values are based on a 2,000 and 2,500 calorie diets which is just the average amount a typical American individual may need; however, calorie needs to vary which is why it’s important to see a dietitian about your personal needs.
TAKE AWAY: The importance behind this new regulation is to increase awareness of how much the American consumer is eating and to make the right judgement for themselves about the food product. The new label is supposed to be more useful when looking to limit the amount of sodium or saturated fat (typical western diet) and looking to increase the more important nutrients such as fiber or vitamins/minerals.
“The new label will make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices ... that contribute to a healthy diet.”
No matter where you go on campus, the information will be easily accessible for you to view!