While there’s a generalization that processed foods are bad for you, it’s just that, a generalization. There are foods that are processed that not only could be in your menu, but should be. The definition of processing is food that is cooked, canned, frozen, milled or dehydrated. Processing does many things. It can lower the nutritional value of food. It can also be loaded with unhealthy additions, which include preservatives, sodium and added sugar. Those are the true culprits of processed food, so reading the label is imperative.
Check your label and see if the food includes the following ingredients.
Is there added sugar to the food? Whether it’s low calorie sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, regular table sugar or other sweetener, it adds calories, affects your health and provides no upside in nutrition. Refined grains are another that should be avoided. It doesn’t have the nutrition of whole grains. There’s a link to bad health and refined grains. Trans fats are removed from may products, but you’re more likely to find them in pastry, donuts and pies. Fried foods are also food you should avoid.
You may have to do a little extra to make some processed food healthier.
If you’re on a budget, it’s good to know that canned vegetables and canned fruit without added sugar can be quite healthy. For food with added sodium, such as beans, you may have to pour off the liquid and rinse them. Canned salmon, tuna or other fish without additives and packed in water are also healthy. If you’re a fan of peanut butter or other nut butters, you’ll be happy to know natural options are good. The same is true of whole-grain cereals without added sugar and plain yogurt,
Eating whole food doesn’t necessarily mean fresh from the garden.
During off-season, eating fresh fruits and vegetables can be a bit pricey. To save money, you can use frozen fruits and vegetables liberally. The same is true for canned ones, except you still have to check the labels on canned food. Studies show that frozen fruit and vegetables may actually have more nutrients since they’re picked at their ripest and immediately frozen.
- Do you want a delicious and healthy dessert? Combine chopped walnuts, chopped whole frozen black cherries or blueberries and plain Greek yogurt. Mix well. It’s a sweet treat that is healthy and low in calories.
- Cheese may be a healthy option, but you want the healthiest options. Cottage cheese, feta, goat cheese, Parmesan and part skim milk mozzarella are healthiest.
- If you want a simple method of finding food to avoid, consider anything with added sugar, processed meat, like hot dogs, diet or regular soda and most snacks, such as chips, cheese puffs or tortilla chips.
- While fruit juice may seem like a healthier alternative to soft drinks, you’re better off eating the whole fruit and drinking water. You’ll feel fuller, add fiber to your diet and often consume fewer calories.
For more information, contact us today at Reggie C Fitness