New food labels will help families make healthier choices

You felt so proud of yourself. You consumed only half of one of those stubby cartons of premium ice cream—until you noticed with horror that a serving size is only half a cup and NOT the entire carton. Ooops.

Mini Mushroom Burgers

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Marinate time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 8 minutes

Serves: 4


  • 2 portabella mushrooms, stems removed
  • ¼ cup light balsamic vinaigrette
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 small high-fiber whole grain dinner rolls
  • 8 slices red onion
  • 8 slices tomato

1 Place portabellas and vinaigrette in a large zip top bag. Zip and lightly rub the vinaigrette into the mushrooms. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.

2 Remove mushrooms from bag, drain and season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Place the mushrooms on the grill gill side down and cook for 4 minutes. Turn and continue to grill until mushroom is almost cooked through, about 4 more minutes.

3 Remove from pan and drain mushrooms on paper towel, gill side down. Cut each mushroom into quarters and place on buns. Top with onion and tomato and serve.

Nutrition per serving: 144 calories, 29 g carbohydrates, 4 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugars, 5 g protein, 2.5 g fat (0 sat. or trans fat), 0 g cholesterol, 300 mg sodium, 40% DV selenium, 8% DV iron, 8% DV potassium

Recipe courtesy of the Mushroom Council and


Let’s face it, the nutrition facts panel that has been a part of our food packages for two decades is confusing and frustrating. But if the Food and Drug Administration gets its way, labels will soon be revamped.

Americans have mixed feelings when it comes to how helpful food labels are to them, according the results of a Harris Poll of 2,266 adults surveyed in February.

They are divided on whether seeing “healthy” on a food package is a helpful nutrition indicator. Fact: This claim is strictly regulated, with specific limits on its fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium content, plus a requirement for certain good nutrients.

Three out of four (76 percent) feel that the statement “Made with…”—as in “Made with Real Fruit”—is helpful. Fact: These labels can be applied to anything that contains even very small amounts of the boasted content.

New labels

Calorie counts would be in large type and portion sizes will be adjusted to reflect how much Americans really eat. For example, a 20-ounce bottle of pop would be counted as one serving, rather than the 2½ servings currently seen on most bottles. Your ice cream? The more realistic one cup serving would replace the current half-cup serving size.

“Things like the size of a muffin have changed so dramatically. It is important that the information on the nutrition fact labels reflect the realities in the world today,” says FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg.

The Calories from Fat line would be removed.

Percent daily calories would shift to the left of the label. And some package sizes would be required to show both “per serving” and “per package” calorie and nutrient amounts.

Added sugars would be highlighted on a new line. Currently, naturally occurring sugars and added sugars are lumped together. Foods with unexpected added sugars include pasta sauce, ketchup and pizza. One cup of pasta sauce has five teaspoons of sugar, while a frozen pizza may contain as much as six teaspoons. Each tablespoon of ketchup contains one teaspoon of sugar.

A revised nutrition facts label may not stop you from overeating ice cream, but at least the portion size will be easier to read and will be more realistic.

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