1. Fats - If the label refers to saturated or trans fat put the product back on the shelf. Trans fat is linked to higher cholesterol levels and
2. Sodium - High levels of sodium are usually associated with highly processed foods. Too much can increase blood pressure which leads to heart disease.
3. Fibre - Look for at least 3 g per serving on the label
4. Serving Size - Make sure the figures listed on the packet relate to a reasonable serving size. I.e. what you would eat in one sitting. If you would eat more or less do the math to make sure you have an accurate understanding of its contents.
5. Calorie Count - This is the one most people are concerned with. Remember just because a food is high in calories doesn't mean we shouldn't eat it, if the ingredients are nutritious it is still a good choice.
6. Sugar - Rather than looking at the grams of sugar (as this doesn't distinguish between natural sugars and added sugars), read the ingredients and look for the words sugar, as in palm sugar or invert sugar; sweetener, as in corn sweetener; or syrup, as inbrown rice syrup or malt syrup. Also watch for words ending in ose, like fructose or glucose.
7. Added Sugar - If sugar is listed as one of the first 2 ingredients it is not a great choice.
8. Wholegrains - Look for the word whole before any grain i.e. Whole Wheat. If you see the word enriched it means the grains have been refined and therefore have been stripped of their nutritional value. A good one to watch for this is bread.
Good luck and as always let me know if you have any comments or questions.