Points Value on Food Labels Improve Eating Habits

Take a trip to the grocery store, and you probably know just about every package, bottle, and container of food has a label on it.

If you're trying to practice portion control, lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight, you're probably familiar with the Nutrition Facts Panel on most products. It contains a long list of details about serving size, calories, and other nutritional information about the food.

But for the average person, it's not always easy to digest all the nutritional details and make sense of what's healthy and what's not. In fact, a recent survey found that 59 percent of shoppers found nutrition labels difficult to understand. So what do most people do? They toss the items they need or want into their shopping cart and don't pay any attention to the nutritional information on the label. Sound familiar?

If you're serious about practicing portion control and improving your diet, it's time to pay a little more attention to what's on the label. Why? A recent study published in the journal Agricultural Economics found that people who read food labels are more likely to avoid gaining and more successful at losing weight.

But if you're not inclined to study nutrition labels, is there a similar strategy that can help? Yes. One is Weight Watchers Points Plus. Millions of people have used the Weight Watchers points system to lose weight, keep it off, and improve their eating habits. MagicKitchen.com partnered with Weight Watchers, so that all of our meals have a Points Plus value.

And it's not the only scoring system that can help improve your eating habits. In the United States, about 37,000 grocery stores use the NuVal (short for Nutritional Value) scoring system. Foods are labeled with a score of 1 to 100, and foods with the highest score are the healthiest. A recent study that tracked 535,000 shoppers, found that the NuVal system increased healthy eating, food choices, and purchases by 20 percent.

When it comes to weight management, there's not magic pill or special diet that will help you tip the scale in the right direction. It boils down to a matter of choice. Using Weight Watchers Points Plus, the NuVal system, or taking the time to get familiar with food labels will help you.

And so will our selection of Portion Control meals made from fresh ingredients with a main course, side dishes, and plenty of vegetables. Stock up on these meals to eliminate the temptation to hit the drive-thru, or eat more than a single serving. You'll be glad you did.