MARCH 2013
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida


Crack the code: Nutrition facts label



Let the New Year begin with the mantra health. The foods we eat have a major impact on our health. Here are few pointers to keep you on track of healthy eating. Take time to plan out the menu, prepare the food and savor each bite of your food. Eat with awareness and not out of habit.

The first step that follows menu planning is grocery shopping. It can be daunting and confusing when you have plethora of options available in supermarket or health food stores. But if we can crack the code of nutrition fact labels, we can make wise choices of food.

Serving size
This number is at the top: The nutritional information on the rest of the label applies to one serving. Total calories are calculated per serving, as are total calories from fat, so be sure to look at the servings per container. A bag of banana chips might say it has 170 calories per serving, but the entire bag might be three servings, or 540 calories.

Percent of Daily Value: this is calculated for a moderately active woman or a fairly sedentary man who eats 2,000 calories a day. A serving of paratha with ½ cup of low fat Greek yogurt gives the average adult just 8-10 percent of the daily value of fat intake and 11-12 percent of the daily value of protein intake recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).


Fat is classified as saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fats. You want to see that the food contains relatively little saturated fat and trans fat, and relatively more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Keep in mind that "fat-free" doesn't equal "calorie-free." Many fat-free and low-fat foods have added sugar. Cholesterol: this is a fatlike chemical that's an essential component of cell membranes, a covering for nerve-cell fibers, and a building block of hormones. Only animal products contain cholesterol. Adults should limit their daily intake to 300 milligrams. Too much can increase your heart-disease risk.

The recommended daily limit for an average adult is 2,300 milligrams, about 1 tsp. Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure. Per USDA standards, food is low in sodium if it contains no more than 140 milligrams. A single serving of frozen dal makhani may contain 1,000 milligrams or more of sodium, which is nearly half the daily limit. Frozen pack of dal makhani has two servings per pack.
Let’s pause here and enjoy this recipe. We will continue with nutrition facts in the next article.

Recipe of the month

Sprouted bean burger:
1 cup boiled potatoes mashed
½ cup chickpeas boiled
¼ cup sprouted mung beans half boiled
Salt, to taste
Pinch of sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp garam masala
Green chillies and ginger paste
Pinch of Italian seasoning
Lightly sautéed 1 tbsp chopped onion and 1 tbsp bell pepper in olive oil
¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs.

Mix all the above ingredients and form small patties and brush with olive oil on both sides and bake in oven at 325-degree Fahrenheit for about 30-35 minutes. Flip the patties after 15 minutes so they are evenly baked. Serve with coriander chutney.

Here’s to our health!

Bhavi Nirav is a Registered Dietitian/M.S., R.D., L.D., certified yoga practitioner, and can be reached at

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