Are Processed Foods Really That Bad?

Are your meals all from a container or have a paper wrapper around them? Maybe you’re eating too many processed foods if that’s true. Labeling all processed food as bad is a generalization and not exactly correct. If you wash fruits and vegetables, they’re processed. Cooking them also makes them processed. That doesn’t mean they’re unhealthy. In fact, frozen fruits and vegetables, which are processed, may be healthier than fresh ones you buy off the grocery shelf. If they’re allowed to ripen on the vine and then frozen at a nearby processing center, they’re fresher and filled with more nutrients that freezing doesn’t destroy.

It’s about reading the label and knowing what the food contains.

If you read the label of a jar of peanut butter and it says, “peanuts” and nothing else, it’s a healthy option. Most peanut butter doesn’t. It may contain preservatives and ingredients to keep the oil from separating. Many have added sugar and salt. Look for foods with the fewest ingredients and avoid those that contain sugar or one of the many names for sugar such as fructose, high fructose corn syrup and dextrose.

Save money and time by choosing carefully.

Some canned foods are almost as healthy as fresh and far lowering in price during the off-season. If you buy items like green beans and note it has added salt or sugar, rinse the beans before cooking to lower the sodium content. You can use canned beans in salads or choose water packed tuna as a more inexpensive alternative to fresh tuna.

Check for whole grains and foods without added sugar or chemicals.

If you read the labels on the food and find words you can’t pronounce or feel like you’re back in chemistry class, put down the food and walk away. Healthy food has few added ingredients. It can be processed and healthy. Whole grain breads are healthier than bread with white, bleached refined grain flour, even though it is processed and has several ingredients. Use your common sense when choosing food, steering clear of sugary treats and those made with refined grains.

  • Make a sweet treat that’s healthy with frozen cherries chopped up for a parfait. A layer of Greek yogurt, layer of chopped cherries, a half banana chopped, topped with more Greek yogurt and nuts is a great dessert your family will love that can cure your cravings for sweets.
  • Don’t just read the advertisement on the front of the package to determine whether it’s healthy. Some products tout they are gluten-free, which doesn’t automatically mean it’s healthy. Check ingredients before you buy.
  • Good options for canned foods can include tomatoes, spinach, green beans, kidney beans, lentils, pumpkin and artichokes. If you look for canned fruit, make sure it’s packed in its own juice with no sugar added.
  • Processed meats and snack foods are often the biggest offenders, but you have to watch what you drink as well. Skip soft drinks and even fruit drinks and opt for water instead. Avoid fat free products, since sugar is often added to make it palatable.

For more information, contact us today at Revolution Training

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