Nutritional Value

On March 10th, we discussed a few simple ways to help children develop healthy eating habits.  The first suggestion was to stock up on healthy and nutritious snacks.  While fruits and vegetables are a natural choice, beyond these selections, it can be difficult to know what is most nutritious for your children.  Consider, for example, yogurt.  With such a wide variety of options available, which one is healthiest for your children?  You can examine the label, but even then it can be confusing…calories, fat, protein, sugar, fiber, minerals, carbohydrates… It is overwhelming!

An independent team of researchers developed a system called Nuval to help customers determine the nutritional value of food.  The system scores food on a scale from 1 to 100.  The higher the number, the higher the nutrition.  This system considers more than 30 nutrients when assigning a Nuval score to food.  In other words, it takes all the information on the food label, and converts it into an easy to understand, overall nutrition score.

Now, when you’re in the dairy section wondering which kind of yogurt to buy, you can be armed with nutritional knowledge, like that below.

  • Stonyfield Fat Free French Vanilla Yogurt, Nuval score = 39
  • Chobani Non-Fat Plan Greek Yogurt, Nuval score = 91

It is also useful when shopping for other foods, including peanut butter.

  • Skippy Reduced-Fat Creamy Peanut Butter, Nuval score = 18
  • Teddie Smooth UnSalted Peanut Butter, Nuval score = 90

Grocery stores can independently adopt this system.  Currently, you can find the Nuval information at participating grocery stores around the country.  Simply look for the Nuval score on the shelf tags, next to the item price.

Have any of you had the opportunity to try out this new system?  Did you find it helpful?  What surprising scores did you come across?

Donna Donald

Donna Donald is a Human Sciences specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach who has spent her career working with families across the lifespan. She believes families are defined by function as well as form. Donna entered parenthood as a stepmother to three daughters and loves being a grandmother of seven young adults.

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