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Food labels

Find out what to look out for on food labels and make healthier choices for the whole family

Why food labels matter

You'll find traffic light labels on most food and drink, usually on the front of the pack. These labels use red, amber and green colour coding to help us understand what's inside our food so we can make healthier choices when shopping. 

Food labels, also called nutrition labels, show how much sugar, sat fat and salt are inside what we're buying. When it comes to reading food labels, a good rule of thumb is to go for more greens and ambers, and cut down on reds.

Not all packaged food has traffic light labels, but calorie information must be included on the back of the pack.

An illustration of a front-of-box traffic light label showing example values rated "red" for energy, "amber" for fat and saturated fat, and "green" for sugar and salt

What are calories?

These labels include information on energy in kilojoules (kJ) and kilocalories (kcal), usually referred to as calories. Calories are a measure of the amount of "energy" in food and drinks.

Children should get most of their calories from their breakfast, lunch and evening meal, but if children are snacking regularly or are hungry between meals and are looking for a packaged snack, remember to stick to 100 calorie snacks, two a day max.

Get to grips with food labels

Lots of the food we buy looks healthy at first, but if you take a closer look you can find out what's really inside those family favourites.

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