Smart and mindful shopping

If we are what we eat, we should always try to fill our bellies with goodness. And when we better understand the labels on our foods, we can make better choices for ourselves. We created this handy chart as a guide to nutrition labels so you can kick-start your journey to mindful shopping.


We created this handy chart as a guide to nutrition labels so you can kick-start your journey to mindful shopping.
This label is only a sample. Exact specifications are in the final rules.
Source: Food and Drug Administration 1993


  1. Serving Size – Start here to check the serving size and number of servings per package. Serving size is shown in both household measures (such as cups) and metric amounts (grams). The nutrient information listed at the top of the nutrition label is per serving. Compare it to your actual portion: if your portion is twice the serving size, you’re consuming twice the calories, fat, sodium, etc. listed on the label.
  2. Calories and Calories from Fat – Calories tells us how much energy a food provides, while calories from fat tells us how much of that energy comes from fat. Control calorie intake to manage weight: if you consume more calories than you expend you will gain weight. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that 20-35% of your total calories should come from fat.
  3. List of Nutrients – These are the nutrients that have the greatest impact on health. They can be divided into two groups; those that need to be limited and those that you need to get enough of. Most Americans need to limit their total fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Too much fat and cholesterol, especially saturated fat and trans fat, are linked to an increased risk of heart disease; excess sodium can increase the risk of high blood pressure. In contrast, most people don’t consume enough fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, or iron, putting them at risk for other health conditions such as osteoporosis.
  4. Percent Daily Values (%DV) – This helps you determine if a serving of food is high or low in a nutrient (based on 2,000 calories a day). A DV of 5% is low, while 20% is high. Aim low for nutrients like fat, sodium; and high for vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  5. Footnote for Daily Values – This is a reference chart listing the Daily Values (DV) or recommended daily intakes for healthy people. The DVs in the chart are based on an intake of 2,000 or 2,500 calories a day. Note that some of the Daily Values listed are maximums (such as fat, saturated fat and cholesterol). Some nutrients do not have a DV established (like sugar and trans fat) because health experts have yet to set one. Individuals should adjust the daily values to fit their own calorie intake, as you may need less or more than 2,000 calories per day.
  6. Calories per gram – The three nutrients that provide our bodies with calories (energy) are carbohydrates, fat, and protein. This tells you how many calories per gram the 3 energy nutrients provide. Notice that per gram, fat provides twice the number of calories as protein or carbohydrate.

To make things even easier, we created Better Choice tags. They can help you make small shifts in your food choices within certain categories of products. Using the latest scientific research, Publix registered dietitian nutritionists have compared groups of similar products, like cereal, for example. The tags identify items that have more of the nutrients you need, like fiber, and less of the things you don’t need, like saturated fat, or added sodium, or added sugar. These green tags can be found on shelves throughout the grocery store. So when in doubt, simply search for the Better Choice tags.

Discover other tags on our shelves that will help you find items with organic ingredients, gluten-free options, and more.

Better Choice Tag