Often times we read the label and aren’t sure what we are looking at or what numbers are “good.” The best way to read a label is to first look at the serving size, which tells us the amount we would need to eat to equal the rest of the nutrients on the label. It is important to be aware of the serving size listed, because they range from 1.5 ounces for a favorite cookie to one-tenth of a pound for raw kale. Next read the Percent Daily Value on the label’s right side. The percentages in that column tell you what percentage of the recommended daily nutrients you get after eating one serving size. For example, if a serving size of your favorite snack is a whopping one pretzel, and the percent daily value for sodium is 41%, then each pretzel you eat gives you 41% of the recommended daily intake for sodium. Two pretzels gives you 82%. Three pretzels gives you 123% and so on.
A convenient way to look at percent daily values is to follow the 5-20 rule; 5% or less is considered low, while 20% or more is considered high.