How to Read Food Labels

Reading food labels is a great way to choose healthier products but it can be confusing. Be wary of nutrition claims on the front of the pack (e.g. source of vitamins and minerals) and instead use this guide to help you read the back of the label.

A note on Health Star Ratings

The Health Star Rating found on the front of some packaged products can help you compare similar foods. They range from ½ a star to 5 stars - the more stars, the healthier the choice within the food category. Products lose stars if they are higher in saturated fat, sugar and salt, and gain stars if they are higher in dietary fibre, protein, calcium, or other vitamins and minerals.

Alternate Names for Ingredients

Other names for ingredients high in saturated fat:
• Animal fat/oil
• Beef fat
• Butter
• Chocolate
• Milk solids
• Coconut
• Coconut oil/milk/cream
• Copha

  • Cream
  • Ghee
  • Dripping
  • Lard
  • Suet
  • Palm oil
  • Sour cream
  • Vegetable shortening

Other names for added sugar:
• Dextrose
• Fructose
• Glucose
• Golden syrup
• Honey
• Maple syrup
• Sucrose

  • Malt
  • Maltose
  • Lactose
  • Brown sugar
  • Caster sugar
  • Raw sugar
Other names for high salt ingredients:
• Baking powder
• Celery salt
• Garlic salt
• Meat/yeast extract
• Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
• Onion salt
• Rock salt
• Sea salt
  • Sodium
  • Sodium ascorbate
  • Sodium bicarbonate
  • Sodium nitrate/nitrite
  • Stock cubes
  • Vegetable salt

Whilst brands may be depicted in these images and videos, SWAP IT and Good For Kids has no affiliation and do not endorse any specific food brand. We do not warrant that the information we provide will meet individual health, nutritional or medical requirements, or individual school policy.

Artwork: "The heart of a child" by Lara Went, Worimi Artist.