Learn to Understand Food Labels
Because you will buy packaged and pre-made food, learn to know exactly what you are buying by being able to decipher the food label.
Australian and New Zealand Food Labelling
Nutrition Information Panel This provides information on kilojoules, protein, fats, carbohydrates and sodium. By using the “per 100g” column of this panel you can compare and choose the healthier option of two similar foods.
Ingredient list All of the ingredients contained in the food are listed in order of weight. You can use this to see e.g. how much sugar is contained in a product relative to other ingredients by how high it is in the ingredient list.
Percentage labelling This tells you how much of the named or main ingredients are in your product. For example, it will tell you what percentage of strawberry yoghurt is made up of strawberries.
Food Additives Food additives, including colours, flavours and preservatives will be identified by their numbers. If you are sensitive to a particular additive, and know its identifying number, this will help you to avoid foods containing it.
Country of Origin The label of any packaged food must state the country that the food was made or produced in.
Directions for use and storage These include specific instructions such as “refrigerate after use”. When followed, these instructions help to maintain the safety and quality of the food.
Information for allergy sufferers Products containing the major allergens, peanuts, tree nuts (e.g. almonds, cashews, walnuts), shellfish, milk, eggs, sesame, soybeans and gluten, are labelled as “may contain ….”. If you have an allergy to any of these foods or food components, it is strongly recommended that you avoid all foods containing these products.
Date marking Do not buy or consume foods after their “use-by” date. However, food is still safe for consumption after its “best before” date.
Get more info on this from Food Standards Australia New Zealand.